The Bitcoin price declined to an 80-day low on Monday but may be poised for a rebound once stock brokerage app's Robinhood's much-anticipated cryptocurrency trading platform goes live later this month.
Despite the hopes of investors, February has not brought respite to the battered cryptocurrency markets, which continue to emit a crimson hue.
This morning, the Bitcoin price declined to $7,605 on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, reducing the value of the flagship cryptocurrency to an 80-day low. Bitcoin has not traded at this level since Nov. 17, when it was square in the middle of its parabolic fourth quarter-rally -- and exactly one month away from hitting $19,891, its all-time high.
At present, most of Bitcoin's largest trading pairs are against either USD or the dollar-pegged Tether token, with JPY, EUR, and KRW each making one appearance in the list of BTC's highest-volume pairs. Notably, premiums previously found on Japanese and South Korean exchanges have more or less disappeared. BTC/KRW is still trading slightly above the average on South Korea-based Upbit, but its present value is much more in line with other major exchanges.
There's no denying that the cryptocurrency market's mood is sour, particularly among investors whose portfolios are now firmly in the red. Were Bitcoin truly a "tulip bulb" or "Beanie Baby," it would be wise to panic.
However, despite the protestations of its worst critics, Bitcoin is more than just an empty vehicle for speculation, even if that is how some investors treated it during last year's rally.
Bitcoin's protocol development continues to march ahead at a rapid clip, and the Lightning Network -- a scaling solution that proponents believe will relieve many of the network's growing pains -- continues to achieve historic milestones even while it is officially in testing.
As for the speculators, well there's plenty on the horizon to excite them as well. Digital payments app Square Cash rolled out support for Bitcoin to almost all US users last week, which will make it easier to introduce new investors to the market moving forward.
Perhaps even more significantly, though, mobile brokerage app Robinhood plans to add support for Bitcoin and Ethereum trading by the end of the month, allowing users -- most of whom are younger investors -- to trade cryptocurrencies side-by-side with traditional equities. Granted, this new functionality will only support users from a limited geographic area when it launches, but more than one million users have already pre-registered for access.
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