The stats are in: Bitcoin was officially the worst investment of 2014, with a year-to-date loss of 52 percent (though the panicky 1 AM actions of the Russian central bank may yet lead the ruble to “victory”). Suffice to say, bitcoin has had a bad year.
After last year’s hype, one of the largest, and oldest bitcoin exchanges, MtGox, imploded in February. It’s still unknown how many hundreds of thousands of bitcoins (worth tens of millions of dollars) were ultimately lost in MtGox. The entire history of bitcoin has been hacks, scams, and implosions. The FTC has gone after various bitcoin companies for being scams.
The most popular place to spend your bitcoin was actually the underground, darknet, deep-web marketplaces like Silk Road, busted in 2013; Silk Road 2, busted in 2014; and others, which sold everything from drugs, to untraceable guns, to child pornography.
Bitcoin’s gradual decline was made slightly exciting in October by “The Bearwhale”, someone who placed a sell order for an astonishing 30,000 bitcoins at just $300, crashing the market. These brave bitcoin Ahabs “slayed” the Bearwhale, by buying up the bitcoins. That’s right, their major victory was throwing $9 million at someone. Go Team!
Ultimately, the real key to bitcoin going mainstream is seeing it actually used for transactions, which is a problem. Even after over $100 million by venture capitalists pumped into bitcoin, the price continues to fall and the number of transactions remains pitifully stagnant.