Bitcoin continues to kick off the new year on an appalling note. Just two weeks after being named the worst-performing currency of 2014 -- and only a day after opening statements took place in the trial of the Silk Road’s alleged creator -- the virtual currency has plummeted below the $200 mark. It fell with a consumer confidence-shaking thud to a low of $170.08 early this morning, down from around $244 one day earlier, nosediving by 30 percent.
The price of the rapidly declining cryptochash is now inching back toward $200, hovering around $194 at press time, per the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index. Bitcoin’s value hasn’t dipped below $200 since October 2013. It peaked at $1,130 in December 2013, a record high for the 4-year-old digital currency.
Meanwhile, global Bitcoin exchange trading volumes -- mainly sell orders -- spiked amid the price crash, tripling in the number of trades per minute, according to Bitcoinity.
The Bitcoin price freefall, along with increased mining difficulty, this week spurred Bitcoin cloud mining company CEX.IO to temporarily halt its services. “Suspension of CEX.IO cloud mining service is only a forced temporary measure, the result of cloud mining costs exceeding mining profit,” the startup stated in a Jan. 12 announcement. A CEX.IO representative told CoinDesk that the firm would only resume mining operations if the price of the virtual currency rises above $320. In the meantime, CEX.IO says it will continue operating its exchange platform.