Even Coinbase, a San Francisco company that has become the primary place where ordinary Americans have purchased Bitcoin — and one of the most highly regulated companies in the industry — has gone down at several points in recent weeks under the stress of all the new users. That happened again on Friday when Bitcoin’s price was plunging, leading to agony for many people who wanted to sell along with the rest of the crowd.
“I’ve been here for most of a year and I’m freaking out,” a user with the screen name PAdogooder posted on Reddit, the online message board, on Friday morning.
Many people on the virtual currency-focused pages of Reddit posted phone numbers for suicide hotlines.
“If someone is depressed by the sudden drop in price, remember that many of us are going through the same thing,” read one post, which got over 400 responses. “Please don’t think nothing crazy. You can use my thread to vent.”
The downturn hit not just Bitcoin, but also almost every other virtual currency that has soared over the last year. Ethereum, and lesser known tokens like EOS and ZCash, fell even more sharply than Bitcoin.
This is, though, not the first time that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been through a boom and bust cycle. In 2013, Bitcoin’s price rose first to a high above $200 before crashing. Later that same year, an investing mania in China drove the price to another high above $1,200, followed by yet another plunge.
Many longtime Bitcoin watchers have been anticipating that the recent gains in Bitcoin would have to be followed by some sort of correction.
“A major sell-off with prolonged consolidation at a lower level would be the healthiest thing for crypto,” Ari Paul, a managing partner with the virtual currency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, wrote to his followers on Twitter.
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