Investors and well... humans are constantly seeking out patterns to make sense of both markets and life. And while patterns are always subject to change, Bitcoin has established a pretty clear one over its first decade.
On Thursday the price of Bitcoin seemed to showing us that the same cycle is underway once again when it crossed the $10,000 threshold across many major exchanges for the second time in the past few months.
This fits in well with Bitcoin's history of exponential run-ups in price followed by major dips (call it a correction, crash or whatever you like) that are then followed by another run-up more mind-blowing than the last.
Cryptocurrency expert Amanda Johnson points out that Bitcoin's dramatic downturn of the past two months - falling from a high of nearly $20,000 down to below $7,000 - is actually in line with its history.
"The first peak happened in 2011 when Bitcoin hit $35 and then fell to $2: that's a 90 percent drop. The second time happened in late 2013, when Bitcoin hit $1,100 and then fell to $200 -- an 80 percent drop. And finally, these past couple months saw Bitcoin soar to $19,000 and then fall to $7,000: a 60 percent drop."
While it's true that crypto has taken a 60% dive in the past month, consider that the last time this happened (late '13), it was an 80% dive. And the time before that (mid '11), it was a 90% dive. We could lose even more (a full 70%) this time & STILL be less volatile than before-- Amanda B. Johnson (@AmandaB_Johnson) February 5, 2018
Johnson points out that each correction has been less severe than the one that preceded it. While it seems crazy, she says the data shows that the cryptocurrency market is actually less volatile now than in the past.
If the pattern holds, Bitcoin could be on its way back up now, perhaps all the way to $100,000 or more.
That's probably wishful thinking for the short term though, as there were doldrums periods of a few years in between each Bitcoin price run-up.
While there's little agreement on what Bitcoin will do over the next few years, with some seeing it collapsing and others predicting another bull run, it seems likely that the roller coaster ride can't go on forever. After all, Bitcoin was meant to be a stable currency for buying everything from coffee to computer chips.
"Bitcoin is not used very much in actual commerce, largely due to its high fees, slow processing times, and difficulty of use," Johnson says. "So the first cryptocurrency that can overcome these drawbacks -- becoming cheap, fast, and easy to use -- will likely get off the rollercoaster and into more stable, real world usage."
But for now Bitcoin remains on the roller coaster, and if this current climb is like the last three, it's still got a long way to go upward.
(Disclosure: I own a small amount of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.)