The price of bitcoin appears to have stabilized somewhat, following a turbulent two weeks in the run up to the festive period.
The wild price swings that have plagued the markets in recent days appeared to have calmed down by Wednesday, with prices posting as much as a 13% gain from lows.
After trading up to near all-time highs of around $20,000 over the last couple of weeks, bitcoin markets tumbled in the run up to Christmas, following growing concerns of a market bubble, and increasingly negative media coverage of the fundamentals of the currency.
Earlier this week, investors were presented with a further hurdle, when the Israeli Securities Agency said it would exclude any companies dealing in bitcoin from the stock exchange in Tel Aviv, as it announced plans to review cryptocurrency legislation in light of recent volatility.
However, prices appear to have found a more stable trading zone over the last 24 hours, following a sharp rise in price recorded on Tuesday. As a result, prices now stand at around $15,138, up from recent lows of around $12,000.
Bitcoin has turned heads at financial regulators across the globe, following its astronomical price performance in 2017. From trading at around $1,000 at the turn of the year, the price is now ranging between 15-20x as much, sparking fears that the market was beginning to overheat.
At the same time, the growing popularity of bitcoin amongst speculators has led to many to fear a market bubble, leading to a raft of warnings from central banks, regulators, and senior investment analysts.
Last week, analysts at Citi Bank became the latest to add their voice to these concerns, suggesting only that the “…timing of [the] bubble peak is unclear — government action could become a trigger.”
Governments and regulators worldwide have been shifting their focus towards regulation, and towards understanding how new laws could be used to control the cryptocurrency markets.
However, given the global, decentralized nature of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, this presents a number of challenging issues.
Nevertheless, governments in China and Russia, amongst others, have intimated a hardline approach, banning and planning to ban transactions in cryptocurrencies respectively.
It remains to be seen how the more stable pricing in recent days will be interpreted by those calling for further regulation internationally.