[2018] Bitcoin Crash: Analysis of 8 Historical Crashes and What’s Next

Kyle McComb
Purse Blog
Published in
8 min readMay 4, 2018


There’s been a lot of hub-bub in the news about the latest Bitcoin crash, speculating fears amongst the general population that the cryptocurrency has begun an inevitable collapse, bringing an end to the virtual currency.

Those who are bearish see the crash as proof that investing in the currency is a foolish investment, while those who are bullish see this as a minor setback.

But what you won’t usually hear in this polarizing debate is just how this crash compares in context to bitcoin’s history.

A lot of talking heads are focused on this Bitcoin crash only, and never really examine the entire history of bitcoin, which has had a number of drops.

This is a huge mistake because the context puts this crash in perspective, and gives a better idea of Bitcoin’s future.

Today, I want to break away from the mainstream coverage of the latest Bitcoin crash and focus more on the history, experts, and the debate about Bitcoin’s future.

When Has There Been a Bitcoin Crash?

We here at Purse recently wrote a post on the entire history of bitcoin and pointed out that there were five major Bitcoin crashes, including the current one.

The first Bitcoin crash was on 06/08/2011, after reaching its highest value yet of $30. Within two days, the cryptocurrency lost half of its value because one user alone was literally trying to sell more than the market could handle. While that was bad enough, news only got worse for bitcoin in the coming days.

Mt. Gox, the most popular exchange at that time was hacked, causing the price of bitcoins to go from $17 to $0.01.

Hundreds of thousands of bitcoins were stolen off the exchange and forcing the price of Bitcoin to crash harder.

By August 6th of 2011, Bitcoin was worth just $5, losing 95% of its total value since its record high, and would not recover for years.

The next Bitcoin crash was on April 10th of 2013, after it reached a high of $263 at 12:00 PM UTC.

Within minutes of obtaining such a feat, the price was in a chaotic freefall, and by 6:00 PM UTC, one bitcoin was valued at $126. Within six hours, the one bitcoin’s price dropped 52%!

Most commentators blamed a banking crisis in Cyprus, while others placed the blame on increased mainstream exposure to bitcoin.

The next major bitcoin crash occurred in Q1 of 2014, once again caused by hackers infiltrating Mt. Gox.

Essentially, two bots were carrying out a bunch of false trades in October — November of 2013, which drove the price of Bitcoin up to a record high of $1,200, which came with a gradual decrease in value.

By January 1st, the price of one bitcoin was $770.

By February, the hack was discovered, and the price of Bitcoin once again plummeted from around $700, and by March 31st, the price of Bitcoin was back down to $450.

The volatility and repeated cases of hacking struck fear in a lot of investors, who were afraid of another bitcoin crash.

As a result, the price really wouldn’t recover until 2015, and would gradually increase from there.

Fast forward to January of 2017, where the price of Bitcoin ballooned from a $1000 to $5000 dollars by October 2017.

Bitcoin, which was once a playground only used by tech savants and libertarians, became mainstream.

The old Mt. Gox exchange was dead and was replaced with more secure platforms such as Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken, and investing in bitcoin became a streamlined process.

Rappers were making songs about bitcoin, late-night comedians were joking about it, and news anchors started including it in their morning report.

It seemed like everyone was watching as the price of bitcoin rocketed like it never did before. On December 17th, Bitcoin reached its highest value, just shy of $20,000.

And that’s what brings us to today’s bitcoin crash…

After Bitcoin reached its all-time high, the currency began its worse weekly crash to date, losing approximately 30% of its value by December 22nd, making it valued at just shy of $14,000.

In Q1 of 2018, the price of bitcoin dropped from $13,000 in January, to around $9,110 today.

You might remember that early on in 2018, South Korea announced they had plans to ban all cryptocurrency, and there were fears that China might threaten the same thing.

So What are People Saying About This Bitcoin Crash?

As the effects of this crash felt more amplified thanks to mainstream attention, so too has the debate about Bitcoin’s future.

Those who were always bearish on Bitcoin and blockchain technology have called bitcoin names like “fraudulent”, “ponzi scheme”, “noxious gas” that will “certainly end bad.” Warren Buffet recently even called Bitcoin rat poiso squared.

A lot of voices that we hear against Bitcoin aren’t always taken seriously by the cryptocurrency community, such as when Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, called bitcoin stupid and “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”

He was widely criticized as having a conflict of interest, seeing as his company is one of the largest multinational banks that relies on the dollar.

As a result, people with bearish views on bitcoin tend to be labeled as having a conflict of interest and often ignore any criticism of the technology.

But that isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate reasons to be bearish on Bitcoin, or everyone who is bearish on Bitcoin has an interest in its downfall.

Peter Schiff, an investor noted for predicting the 2008 mortgage crisis, has been bearish about Bitcoin from the start.

Even though he has said the possibility of cryptocurrency technology plausible, he has doubts that Bitcoin will be the leader.

From his perspective, Bitcoin is only popular because it was the first one, and that there is nothing stopping another currency from taking over.

Warren Buffet also had harsh words for Bitcoin in a recent interview with Yahoo news, saying that investing in bitcoins is “not real investing.” He elaborated in detail, saying:

“If you buy something like a farm, an apartment house, or an interest in a business… you can do that on a private basis… And it’s a perfectly satisfactory investment. You look at the investment itself to deliver the return to you. Now, if you buy something like Bitcoin or some cryptocurrency, you don’t really have anything that has produced anything. You’re just hoping the next guy pays more.”

Then there is, of course, the bullish side of the debate.

Those who don’t see a threat to bitcoin, despite the latest bitcoin crash. They point out that their fears of government intervention have largely been unfounded, and the threats made by the South Korean and Chinese government never came to be.

For Thomas Lee, managing partner at Fundstraut, the question isn’t whether Bitcoin will recover or not, but rather how quickly will it recover and how high can it go. Thomas has said that bitcoin and other alt-coins might have already bottomed, which would mean the worst part of the bitcoin crash was over.

A recent report conducted by Fundstraut shows 82% of investors also believe that Bitcoin has bottomed already, and believe a bull market is on the horizon. 53% of those surveyed believe that the price of bitcoin will hover around $10k — $20k this year, while some are more optimistic, with 8% predicting above $30k, and none of them believe that the price of bitcoin will dip below $8k this year.

Other experts such as Jordan Clifford, co-founder of Scalar Capital, have previously pointed out that Bitcoin is designed to be a controlled supply.

“Rare is it that we have a commodity with a truly fixed supply. This means Bitcoin is scarce and will likely be the most scarce currency in existence.”

Others have pointed to the increased predictability in Bitcoin’s price. Analyst such as Datatrek have begun to notice actual correlation between the stock market and bitcoin prices.

In their report, Datatrek said bitcoins acceptance by mainstream investors has caused an uptick in correlation with the stock market and saying “Since investors have only one brain to process risk, they will make similar decisions about cryptocurrencies and stocks when they see price volatility in the latter.”

Increased correlation can be a blessing to investors who are seeking a more predictable asset, and the more we see a correlation between the two, the more investors will be likely to adopt Bitcoin.

Source: Investopedia

But for many, the uncertain future of bitcoin still has them scared. Many believe that a technology as rocky as Bitcoin cannot become a new way of life.

But this sentiment echoes a lot of other concerns investors had about revolutionary technology. For example, Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, predicted in 1995 that the internet would “catastrophically collapse” within one year. Oops.

So, What’s Next?

Needless to say, predictions about technology usually suck.

Maybe Bitcoin isn’t the future, but the latest price crash shouldn’t be an indicator of the future of bitcoin.

When brought in context, and seeing what the experts are saying, it seems like a lot of the fears brought on by the latest Bitcoin crash are unfounded, and that the market is capable of recovering from even worse crashes… as we demonstrated earlier.

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