Until Bitcoin becomes the dominant currency for payments around the world, it will be more popular among traders and price speculators. As a result, the price is subject to the market forces of supply and demand which, at this point in time, goes hand in hand with the trends and whims of speculators – as a result, the price can move suddenly and sharply up or down in response to news events.
As a rule of thumb: if a piece of news makes Bitcoin more likely to be widely adopted, the price rises. If it places extra hurdles towards mass adoption, the price will fall.
You can track all the latest Bitcoin price movements in real time with Bitcoin.com’s data charts, and convert the price to your local currency with our instant Price Converter.
These events may be based on issues affecting the Bitcoin world only – such as a large scale hack affecting a key Bitcoin exchange, wallet or essential software which causes the price to dip. This happened after the Mt. Gox meltdown in 2014 and thefts at Bitstamp and Bitfinex, plus numerous other smaller companies.
A large market such as the EU, China, Japan or US may announce new regulations either favorable or restrictive to Bitcoin, causing the price to rise or fall respectively (when the Chinese government restricted Bitcoin exchanges’ practices in 2013, the price fell from its record high). It may be an internal issue, such as a miners’ conference or meeting to decide changes to the Bitcoin protocol; the price sometimes dips if a block size or scaling consensus cannot be reached, or seems to be too far off.
News which affects the price may be only vaguely related to Bitcoin, or sometimes not at all. Dramatic economic/financial news like new tax policies, bank runs or bailouts, negative interest rates, stock market crashes, banking instability or government bankruptcies all suggest a new kind of asset class may be preferable, and the Bitcoin price rises.
The price sometimes fluctuates wildly for no apparent reason at all. Sudden crashes, massive increases and up/down volatility can happen and, even after the fact, traders debate over what may have caused it. A large price build-up may suddenly reverse when it hits a certain price level, at which point traders set limit orders and/or take profits. The inverse happens if the price drops too far.
Some have suggested Bitcoin can never be adopted as a regular currency while prices are so volatile. In truth, if there was a sudden rush to Bitcoin among the general public (maybe due to a crisis in a major fiat currency) the price would probably rise dramatically and then stabilize – especially if there was nothing to swap it for or no reason to do so.
In the meantime, if you think you can predict the big movements then good luck on the trading exchanges! But be careful, it can also be inexplicable and unpredictable.