In a matter of hours, the price of bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.72% dropped from $18,125 to as low as $15,578. Bitcoin later rallied somewhat and was trading within a $1,000-range; it was last at $16,875 Tuesday night. Bitcoin futures BTCF8, -4.34% on the CME Group’s Chicago Mercantile Exchange were last trading at $17,425, off more than $700 from the afternoon. Bitcoin cash, meanwhile, rallied more than 50% to all-time highs above $3,300. It was last trading at $3,303, according to CoinMarketCap.
“Sends and receives are available immediately,” Coinbase said in a blog post Tuesday announcing bitcoin-cash trading. “Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will take a few hours.”
However, Coinbase and its GDAX exchange late Tuesday suspended bitcoin-cash trading after just four minutes until 9 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday, apparently until traffic settles down and liquidity is established.
The price of bitcoin has shot up nearly 1,800% in 2017, leading many to worry it’s in a bubble that’s bound to pop.
“I am certain that bitcoin is a bubble that will end badly,” investment strategist Ivan Martchev wrote earlier Tuesday in a MarketWatch column. And he predicted “bitcoin won’t come back because there is nothing behind it other than rising numbers of investors bidding rising amounts of money for a line of code.”
But experts say that even if bitcoin pops, its underlying technology is likely to transform the future of finance.
By MIKE MURPHY