Why is bitcoin's price going up or down? | finder.com

Why is bitcoin’s price going up or down?

Last updated September 2018

Wondering why bitcoin is rising or falling? Here are a few key factors that tend to affect its price.

To say bitcoin is volatile is an understatement. Its price can swing wildly on the turn of a dime, making and breaking fortunes in the process.

That might lead you to ask: What affects the price of bitcoin, anyway?

Truth be told, it’s a complicated question we might not be able to answer for sure. However, you have a few ways that might help you see where bitcoin’s price is headed.

If you keep an eagle eye on cryptocurrency news, you just might be able to buy or sell bitcoin profitably before everyone else catches on. But a big caveat that comes with all cryptocurrencies: There’s no guarantee. To keep up with events that may affect the price of bitcoin, check out our bitcoin newsfeed.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Latest bitcoin (BTC) related news

What affects the price of bitcoin?

There’s always something happening in the cryptocurrency world. As news gets out to the public, investors react and trade bitcoin accordingly.

Countless factors affect bitcoin’s price, and it’s difficult to predict what bitcoin will be worth in the future.

However, specific types of events often lead to big moves in the market. Here are a few.

A quick intro to bitcoin

If you’re just getting started with bitcoin, welcome. You’re in for a thrilling ride.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency — a digital currency. You can’t touch it like you can a dollar bill. Rather, it exists only in the electronic world on something called the blockchain.

Blockchain — what’s that?

The blockchain is a digital ledger that records every bitcoin transaction ever made. No single person controls this ledger. Rather, it’s maintained by everybody who uses the bitcoin network.

For a crash course on bitcoin and the blockchain, check out our Bitcoin for Beginners guide.

Though bitcoin is a currency, many people don’t use it to buy things. Instead, they buy and sell bitcoin as an investment on cryptocurrency marketplaces — or exchanges.

More than 100 exchanges exist around the world, on which investors trade hundreds of millions of bitcoin every day. As they buy and sell bitcoin, these transactions affect its price. The question is: What influences people to trade?


What affects bitcoin’s price?

Countless factors affect bitcoin’s price, and it’s difficult to predict what bitcoin will be worth in the future.

However, here are a few specific types of events that often lead to big moves in the market.

  • Government regulation of cryptocurrency.

    Bitcoin was designed to operate independently from a central institution. But its fate appears tied to one type of central authority in particular: governments.

    When a major government announces cryptocurrency regulations, bitcoin’s price often moves significantly. Just one quote from a government official can send bitcoin into a tailspin.

    For example, in January 2018 the South Korean justice minister said the government might ban cryptocurrency trading on domestic exchanges. Bitcoin’s price fell almost $2,000 in just one day.

    Japan is the largest cryptocurrency market in the world by trading volume, and South Korea is the fourth largest. When their governments announce regulations, you may see big movements in bitcoin’s price. Stay tuned to news from these countries.

    You may also find it valuable to track China-based news, which has heavily affected bitcoin’s price in the past. It’s unclear how much the Chinese market affects bitcoin today, though, as Beijing has significantly limited citizens’ ability to trade cryptocurrency.

  • Political and economic upheaval.

    In uncertain political and economic times, citizens may grow nervous about their savings. They may subsequently buy bitcoin to limit their risk from an unstable currency or move money out of the country.

    The runup to the Brexit referendum, for example, brought tremendous economic uncertainty. Around that time, the British pound dropped in value while bitcoin’s price increased. On May 20, 2016, one bitcoin was worth $443. By the time of the Brexit vote in late June, its price had increased to almost $800.

  • Media hype and trader enthusiasm.

    The bitcoin market is a hotbed of human psychology. Retail traders tend to buy and sell based on emotion and market hype, which can lead to significant swings in bitcoin’s price.

    Retail traders are small investors that buy and sell bitcoin for their personal accounts. They’re the “regular people” in the market, the mom-and-pop traders.

    As you might imagine, retail traders often don’t have access to information known by institutional investors — hedge funds, investment banks and so forth. Many of them don’t use rigorous techniques for evaluating bitcoin’s price. As such, they often trade based on their gut feelings, making them especially responsive to market hype.

    When bitcoin gets a lot of positive press — especially from the mainstream media — retail traders tend to buy more of it. Additionally, new users hear about it and buy it for the first time. Traders grow overly enthusiastic, and bitcoin’s price increases rapidly.

    This may indicate a bubble, or a situation where bitcoin’s price is higher than the coin is really worth. As soon as the media reports negative news about bitcoin, traders may start to sell their holdings in droves. This can lead to widespread panic selling, resulting in a rapid fall in bitcoin’s price.

    This is a common cycle in the bitcoin market. To become adept at spotting it, try following bitcoin news consistently. With time, you may learn to identify when market enthusiasm is growing — and when it’s about to run out.



Bitcoin’s recent price history

Here’s a short history of bitcoin along with movements in its price. Before this timeline’s start date, bitcoin had been on a remarkable run: Worth $1,000 at the beginning of 2017, it had grown to $4,500 by September.

September 4, 2017: China announces it’s cracking down on ICOs.

China bans initial coin offerings in early September, saying they have “seriously disrupted the economic and financial order.”

In an initial coin offering (ICO), a startup sells a new cryptocurrency in exchange for money or other cryptocurrencies. The startup can then use this funding to grow.

Bitcoin had been riding high at around $4,500. After China’s announcement, it steadily loses around 33% of its value, sliding to around $3,000 by the middle of the month.

At this time, the Chinese government also says it’ll ban all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. But bitcoin’s price seems to have fallen far enough. As investors scoop up bitcoin at a discount, its price quickly rebounds to $4,000.

November 28, 2017: Bitcoin breaks through the $10,000 price barrier.

It’s a huge day for cryptocurrency: Bitcoin finally passes the $10,000 mark. After this psychological barrier is broken, bitcoin begins a monumental run to $18,000 by December 7.

December 7, 2017: Negative news crashes the party.

After bitcoin’s prodigious growth, it seems the market is finally exhausted. Furthermore, bitcoin is hit with a flurry of bad news:

  • Cryptocurrency publication CoinDesk reports that South Korean regulators have banned bitcoin derivatives. Furthermore, the chief executive of the Futures Industry Association (FIA) expresses serious concerns about bitcoin futures contracts.
  • Cryptocurrency mining marketplace NiceHash is hacked, losing 4,700 BTC (worth $78 million).
  • Online gaming platform Steam announces it will no longer accept bitcoin for payments. It says bitcoin’s fees are too expensive and the coin’s price too volatile.

By December 9, bitcoin has fallen to $13,000, a loss of 27%.

December 9 to 17, 2017: The market bounces back.

With the launch of bitcoin futures on Wall Street, mainstream investors help propel bitcoin from $13,000 to $16,000. Cryptocurrency sees a steady stream of good news and achieves several important milestones:

  • Swiss bank UBS announces it’ll use an Ethereum-backed blockchain to comply with European data laws.
  • Litecoin shoots up 80% in 24 hours, taking it to an all-time high of around $300. Dash reaches $1,000 — a 233% rise from its November price of $300.

Bitcoin traders are excited by the imminent arrival of the Lightning Network. Built on bitcoin infrastructure, it will allow users to send and receive bitcoin instantly while paying less in transaction fees.

On December 17, bitcoin surpasses $20,000 for the first time.

January 1, 2018: Bitcoin recovers in the new year.

After hitting its $20,000 high on December 17, bitcoin slows considerably. It falls to $13,000 by January 1, 2018.

However, retail traders still seem enthusiastic about other cryptocurrencies. Stellar Lumens reaches an all-time high of $0.91 — a 900% gain from the previous month. And Ripple hits an all-time high that’s near $4 — a 1,300% gain from a month ago.

Check this out: Ripple vs. Stellar

Traders seem to believe bitcoin at $13,000 is a bargain, and it rises to $17,000 by January 5.

January 10, 2018: Is South Korea banning bitcoin?

South Korea’s justice minister says the government is preparing to ban cryptocurrency trading on domestic exchanges. Bitcoin’s price drops almost $2,000 within a day, from $15,000 to $13,000.

Subsequent reports that the South Korean government won’t ban bitcoin lead to the coin rebounding to $14,500.

January 15, 2018: Government regulation in Asia.

China banned cryptocurrency exchanges in September, but many traders have found ways to continue buying and selling bitcoin. The government announces it’ll crack down on “exchange-like services.” South Korea’s government, meanwhile, says it may still ban cryptocurrency trading.

By January 17, bitcoin’s price has plunged from $14,000 to $9,500, a loss of 32%.

Late February 2018: Where will bitcoin go?

After falling as low as $6,200 in early February, bitcoin sits at close to $11,000 at the time of this writing.

What will it be worth in the near future? It’s anybody’s guess. Wall Street chief investment officer Peter Boockvar predicts bitcoin will fall to $1,000 this year. Meanwhile, hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz thinks bitcoin could reach $40,000 by the end of 2018.

It’s difficult to say who’s right. What’s certain is there are many more twists and turns in store — exactly what we’ve come to expect from an ever-unpredictable bitcoin.


Exchanges where you can buy, sell and trade bitcoin (BTC)

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Supported Cryptocurrencies
Bank transfer
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, INR, ARS, BRL, CAD, CNY. NZD, DKK, HKD, ILS, JPY, KES, CHF, MXN, NOK, PHP, PLN, SGD, SEK, AED
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Cryptocurrency
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Cointree Cryptocurrency Exchange - Global
Cryptocurrency
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Credit card
Debit card
AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, ETC
Get US$10 in free bitcoin when you buy US$100 or more of any crypto. T&Cs apply.
Buy and sell 5 major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cash
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Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR
BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM, XRP
Buy coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash with credit card.
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Debit card
OKPAY
PayPal
Skrill
SOFORT
EUR, USD, CHF, GBP
BTC
Buy bitcoin through PayPal on one of the oldest virtual currency exchanges in the business.
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SWIFT
USD, EUR, RUB, GBP
BTC, DASH, ETH, XRP, ZEC, XLM
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Cashlib
Credit card
Debit card
Neosurf
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CNY, KRW, AUD, CAD, DKK, NOK, SEK, TRY, HKD, SGD
BTC, ETH, XRP, DASH, LTC, BCH, ETC, OMG, ZRX, CVC, BNT
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xCoins P2P Bitcoin Lending
Bank transfer
Credit card
Debit card
eCheck
PayPal
USD
BTC
Buy bitcoin instantly with credit card, PayPal or bank account on this peer-to-peer lending platform.
Bank transfer
Cryptocurrency
USD, CAD
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, LTC
Trade on Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange, with same-day funding and withdrawals available.
Bank transfer
Cash
POLi
AUD, GBP, USD
BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP, NEO, VEO & 400+ more
HiveEx.com is a global over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency brokerage specialising in high-volume trades of $50,000+.
HiveEx.com and finder.com.au are members of the Hive Empire group of companies.
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USD
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CoinSwitch allows you to compare and convert over 250 cryptocurrencies across all exchanges.
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MoneyGram
OKPAY
PayPal
Perfect Money
Western Union
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BTC, ETH, LTC
Buy and sell crypto and other digital currencies on this global fixed-rate exchange.
Blueshyft
BPAY
POLi
USD, EUR, GBP, AUD
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC
An all-in-one platform for buying, selling and managing bitcoin, this Australia-based platform supports users and currencies from various countries.
BPAY
Cryptocurrency
POLi
AUD
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC
Owned by the founders of the CoinJar platform, CoinJar Exchange is an advanced digital currency exchange suited for experienced traders.
Huobi.pro Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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BTC, ETH, HT, LTC, PAI, BCH, XRP, DASH, IOST, EOS, TRX, ETC, OCN, ONT, ELF, ABT, CMT, ELA, ZEC, XZC, OMG & 75+ more
Huobi.pro is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Coinbase Pro
Bank transfer (ACH)
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
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Formerly known as GDAX, Coinbase Pro is a US-based exchange which offers fiat currency payment options, including wire transfer, ACH bank transfer and SEPA.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
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USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD
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Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
KRW
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Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Debit card
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
AstroPay
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BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, XRP
A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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USD
BTC, ETH, XVG, SC, XRP, DOGE, STRAT, XMR, ADA, OMG, ETC, BCC, XLM, DGB, UKG, QTUM, ZCL, RDD, LTC, NEO, XRP, TRX, ZEC & 120+ more
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Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
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USD
BTC, ETH
Trade bitcoin and Ethereum at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
Exmo Cryptocurrency Exchange
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Payeer
Perfect Money
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
USD, EUR, RUB, PLN, UAH
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A UK-based cryptocurrency platform that provides buyers with a wide variety of payment options.
YoBit Cryptocurrency Exchange
AdvCash
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HADAX (Huobi Autonomous Digital Asset eXchange)
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BTC, ETH, 18T, BUT, LXT, CDC, UUU, AAC, CNN, UIP, UC, GSC, IIC, MEX, EGCC, SHE
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Cryptocurrency
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OMG, TRX, ZRX, SAN, ATMI, AID, BAT, SNT, QSH, REP, DAT, TNB, RLC, EDO, AVT, ELF, FUN, GNT, RCN, YYW, SPK, MNA, SNG, IOST, DTA, HOT, NIO, DGX, BBN
With a focus on tokens linked to the Ethereum network, Ethfinex is an exchange listing several ERC-20 compatible tokens and is owned by the team behind Bitfinex.
Mercatox Cryptocurrency Exchange
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Yandex Money
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CryptoBridge Cryptocurrency Exchange
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Bleutrade Cryptocurrency Exchange
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NZD
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A New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to buy and trade between NZD and major cryptos on a full-featured trading platform.
Cancoin P2P Crypto Exchange
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Flexepin
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BitQuick P2P Bitcoin Marketplace
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BTC
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Cryptonit Cryptocurrency Exchange
Wire transfer
OKPAY Bank transfer (SEPA)
Advance Cash
EUR, USD
BTC, ETH, ETC, ZEC
Cryptonit is a secure platform for trading fiat currency for bitcoin, Litecoin, Peercoin and other cryptocurrencies which can be delivered to your digital wallet of choice.
Paxful Cryptocurrency Marketplace
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Neosurf
Neteller
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iDEAL
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BTC
Connect with bitcoin buyers and sellers through this peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts cash, credit and more than 300 other payment methods.
Livecoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Payeer
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Qiwi
USD, EUR, RUB
BTC, BCH, ETH, LSK, LTC, XMR, XEM, DASH, BCC, DBIX, CLOAK, EMC, NEO, TIME, SHIFT, STRAT, DOGE, DTR, DGB, VOX, ESC, MONA & 140+ more
Trade at an exchange that has an extensive offering over 160 coins and numerous fiat and altcoin currency pairs.
Cryptopia Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, DOGE, NEO, XMR, POWR, DASH, PIVX, XEM, OMG, GNT, ZEN, NRG & 500+ more
Buy and sell hundreds of cryptocurrencies with minimal verification on this all-in-one, New Zealand-based exchange.
Altcoin.io Decentralised Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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*Note that while the platform is under development, it is expected to support BTC, ETH, REP, ANT, BAT, EOS, SALT, CVC, DNT, SNT & 20+ more
Launching in 2018, Altcoin.io is a decentralised peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange powered by atomic swaps. Sign up now for early access.
ShapeShift Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, ETC, FUN, 1ST, ANT, BAT, BNT, BLK, CVC, CLAM, DASH, DCR, DGB, DNT, DOGE, EDG, EOS, FCT, GAME & 25+ more
A global exchange where no account is needed to begin trading cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency.
BigONE Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
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BTC, ETH, EOS, OMG, USDT, ADX, AE, AIT, ATN, ATT, BAT, BCDN, BIG, BTM, BTO, CANDY, CDT, CHAT, AT, CPS & over 60+ more
A crypto-to-crypto exchange listing over 100 pairings and low trading fees.
PayPal
Credit card
Debit card
TBA
AUD, USD
BTC, BCH, ETH & more TBA
To be launched in August 2018, Nauticus is an Australia-based exchange registered with AUSTRAC which aims to cater to a global market.
Poloniex Digital Asset Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, XRP, DOGE, XLM, ETC, STRAT, LTC, SC, DGB, BCH, LSK, XMR, LOOM, BAT & 50 more
Trade various coins through a global crypto to crypto exchange based in the US.
Bank transfer
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
USD, EUR, JPY
BTC
With options to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins through credit card, wire transfer and more, BitfFyer offers users the choice of paying with cryptocurrency or USD, EUR and JPY.
Stellarport Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-
XLM, BTC, BCH, USDT, OMG, ZRX, KIN, MOBI & more
Stellarport taps into the Stellar Decentralised Exchange to provide buyers and sellers with access to XLM and various other cryptocurrencies.

Compare up to 4 providers


Bottom line

Every day, countless people try to predict where bitcoin’s price will move next. Many of them will be wrong. The price of bitcoin fluctuates heavily daily, often rising or falling without any significant news.

That doesn’t mean news doesn’t matter. On the contrary: Properly analyzing news can mean the difference between profit from your bitcoin holdings or taking a loss. How you choose to act on the news is up to you.

Want to gain an edge? Keep up with our bitcoin newsfeed and subscribe to our cryptocurrency newsletter. Also, check out our latest cryptocurrency guides below.

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