It's cryptocurrency volatility time again!
The year 2021 was a bumper year for at least five of the most popular cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin having led the upward and downward surges like never before.
There were some milestone events which were so pivotal that they are likely to be remembered as part of the history of the development and rise to popularity of cryptocurrency, including Elon Musk's infamous tweet in May which cleverly elevated his status as a digital currency influencer and allowed him and millions of others to cash in by crashing the value of five popular coins, and then using the same method of influential media to move the price up again.
Analysts within major banks began to look closely at Bitcoin and Ethereum, and instead of shying away from these asset classes and writing them off as unbacked and extremely volatile, the learned mathematicians within the ultra-conservative Tier 1 banks quite simply observed the rises and falls, and predicted that there may well be a six-figure value for Bitcoin in the near future.
This perspective represented a sea change for Bitcoin, as it no longer is seen as an outlier or the preserve of mavericks and anti-bank and anti-establishment rebels, but is viewed as a genuine asset class of the future and a worthy store of value. A digital commodity, so to speak.
As this rollercoaster was in full swing, Ethereum also grabbed the attention of those with the clever money as well as the banks, but for different reasons.
Ethereum's smart contract capable blockchain technology has become viewed as a major instrument in the future of finance, with its ability to distribute across a blockchain network transactions which would ordinarily be carried out by an intermediary. HSBC and Wells Fargo both broke the mold recently by adopting blockchain technology to bypass CLS Bank when settling FX transactions at interbank level. Who'd ever have thought that would happen?
Now, another price-moving factor has come about, this time it is more sinister. The possibility of war.
Throughout history, unrest and war has influenced economic circumstances. Political changes such as the instigation of a totalitarian state, or emergence from a planned economy into a market economy such as the downfall of the Soviet Union thirty years ago in which a huge part of the world suddenly became open to the world market.
This time, it may be taking place on the same territory as the opening up of the free market thirty years ago, but it is not something to celebrate at all.
A possible war between Russia and Ukraine, involving other nations which are beginning to tool up to participate, has made massive waves in the markets, and in particular the cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin dropped by 9% yesterday as a result of the continual news relating to a possible war.
That represents a 6 month low for the major cryptocurrency, which was trading on Monday, January 24 at $33,058, a stark contrast to its all-time high of $69,000 just two months ago in November.
That is almost a cut in half for Bitcoin.
The interesting situation around this week's price crash however is that the exact same view is being taken as that which surrounded the price crash in May following Elon Musk's tweet, that being that people are buying in.
There is a theory that when a war approaches, especially one of sizeable political importance on the world stage, people buy 'at the first bullet' because it is common for popular markets to fall around the beginning of geopolitical unrest or conflict.
This is a view that is being echoed across the notice boards of the internet worldwide.
It will be very interesting to see which way Bitcoin and some of the more popular Altcoins go during this period of instability, especially given that the sovereign fiat currencies of the two nations at the core of this possible conflict are notoriously volatile and do not benefit from much confidence among residents of either nation.
Isn't that what Bitcoin was designed for?