Bitcoin, the oldest and the most popular cryptocurrency in the world, saw a meteoric rise in its value over the past six months despite experts, critics, and sceptics issuing regular warnings and expressing their doubts about its sustenance. Just last month, around the same time, the virtual currency had touched an all-time high of nearly $65,000 (roughly Rs. 47.3 lakh), a massive spike of over 450 percent in just six months. Since then, Bitcoin prices have taken a tumble, losing more than half of its value since reaching the all-time high. Massive fluctuations have been a hallmark of cryptocurrency trading in 2021. And Bitcoin is no exception.
On Friday, at the time of writing, the price of one Bitcoin (price in India) was $40,846 (roughly Rs. 29.7 lakh), according to Coindesk. However, this was a lot better than Wednesday, when the cryptocurrency was trading at around $30,000 (roughly Rs. 21.8 lakh). The crash to around $30,000 per unit was largely attributed to the Chinese government's crackdown on digital currency trading in the country, which intensified a long-predicted sell-off.
On May 13, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose company had invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin earlier this year, said that the electric carmaker would no longer accept it as a mode of payment. Musk's announcement citing concerns about the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions” had caused a 15 percent fall in Bitcoin value, sliding below $50,000 (roughly Rs. 36.5 lakh) before showing some signs of recovery. But Bitcoin is far from reclaiming its all-time high of around $65,000 (roughly Rs. 47.3 lakh).
Here's a brief look at the highs and lows of Bitcoin in 2021:
On December 31, 2020, the value of Bitcoin was around $29,000 (roughly Rs. 21.1 lakh). In January, it breached the $40,000-mark (roughly Rs. 29.1 lakh).
On February 8, Tesla announced its $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 10,900 crore) investment in Bitcoin, adding that it planned to start accepting the cryptocurrency as a mode of payment. The announcement led to a surge in the price of Bitcoin. During the month, the cryptocurrency touched a high of over $57,000 (roughly Rs 41.5 lakh).
The steady rise in the value of Bitcoin continued in March as well with the digital asset breaching the $60,000-mark (roughly Rs. 43.7 lakh) during the middle of the month.
This rally continued into April as well, which has, by far, been the best month for Bitcoin. Around mid-April, the cryptocurrency touched an all-time high of around $65,000 (roughly Rs. 47.3 lakh).
From there, till about May 10, Bitcoin remained above $58,000 (roughly Rs. 42.2 lakh). Musk's May 13 announcement, decrying “insane” Bitcoin energy use, triggered a massive slump in its prices, taking it down to around $49,000 (roughly Rs. 36.1 lakh) on May 14.
While it was recovering, the latest move by the Chinese government dealt another massive blow to the currency, which came down to around $30,000 (roughly Rs 21.8 lakh) on May 19, which was almost its value on December 31, 2020.
Even though the currency has recovered in these past few days, the fluctuation in its price has once again proved something critics have repeatedly underlined: vulnerability. Will another one of Musk's tweets or a global event trigger another Bitcoin ascension? Only time can tell.