Bitcoin (BTC) looks poised to drop down below $4,000, and doubts over its future are driving people to search engines with the question “Is Bitcoin Dead.” According to data from Google Trends, such queries are surging, especially from US-based users.
Searches for this phrase previously spiked in 2014, when Mt. Gox collapsed. The question is now starting to be asked more often as the 2018 bear market squashed price rallies across the board.
Starting in 2016, Bitcoin’s price began slowly gaining traction, taking altcoins along for the ride. But the high point of interest in Bitcoin was near or at peak prices. The buying, often fueled by credit, led to grave personal finance mistakes, and peak-time acquirers are now understandably having doubts about the future of the asset.
Additionally, BTC mining is showing worrisome signs, with farms taking older machines out of exploitation. Bitcoin’s hashrate crashed within days, plunging from a recent peak above 60 EH/s to 38.5 EH/s. This could be a temporary fluctuation, but until difficulty drops, mining may not be profitable for farms built with rising prices in mind.
In the past, a “capitulation” has been called during sell-offs, which have wiped out as much as 86% of BTC value. The current prices are now more than 75% off peak levels.
At this point in 2018, the loss of retail investor interest in crypto markets is mostly due to the lack of an almost-guaranteed rally. Given that BTC started off at just $0.01, a price in the thousands of dollars is already a rather robust valuation.
Additionally, opinions on a “fair” BTC price differ. Without a boost from bot trading or market manipulation, some see BTC going back to $1,000 or even as low as $100.
As Bitcoin rose above $20,000 last year on some exchanges, there was more evidence that the spike was triggered by increased Tether (USDT) supply. This generated trading activity on Bitfinex, which later spread to other markets. BTC prices have continued to unravel as more than 1.3 billion USDT were removed from the markets, with feeble attempts to re-inject liquidity.
BTC traded at $4,383.51 as of 9:30 UTC, with volumes above $5.7 billion in 24 hours. Once again, more than 53% of the trades were in the USDT pair.