It’s been a breakout year for Bitcoin. In 2020 a wave of interest from mainstream investors and institutions helped push the price of the virtual currency from $7,200 in January to above $29,000 on December 31 (and then on past $32,700 by early January 2021). But the innovative digital asset, maintained by a decentralized swarm of so-called miners, has a long history of volatility. Most observers expect some retrenchment of that rally sooner or later.
For insight into why (or maybe when) a slump is likely, it’s worth looking back at Bitcoin’s many “bubble” periods: stretches when the price increased dramatically in a short amount of time, then fell, in most cases, even more sharply. “Bubble,” of course, has negative connotations, implying popular delusions and the madness of crowds. But there’s a growing understanding that financial bubbles can also be generated by temporary overoptimism about real innovation that can … Read More