Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Hits $300 Mark

Bitcoin Hits $300 Mark
Image credit: Shutterstock
3 min read
This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

The price of the digital currency bitcoin hit the $300 mark on Tuesday night for the first time since July.

The last time this happened, Greece was undergoing an economic collapse and citizens were shut out of accessing their bank accounts, leading many bitcoin companies toattempt to harness the opportunity to drive Greeks to digital currency. There was some debate over whether the price bump was actually a direct result of the Greece situation or simply coincided with it. Regardless, when the price is up, the bitcoin industry -- from entrepreneurs to price indices to exchanges to chat forums -- gets very excited.

To be sure, the price of bitcoin has never again flirted with the $1,000 mark it surpassed in January 2014. But many in the industry believe that spike hurt the currency, in the long run, since it is constantly compared unfavorably to that high number, an anomaly. Some bitcoin experts and authors have told Fortune they believe the price could stay in the low hundreds and that would be okay for the industry as long as it stays stable—the coin doesn’t need to shoot up in value. (Indeed, the popular sound bite outside of bitcoin lately is that the currency is less important than the underlying blockchain technology behind it.) In the past year or so, $300 has become the new benchmark for excitement.

For bitcoin believers, good things happen when the price of bitcoin is up. Prior to July, the last time the currency hit $300 was on March 10, the same day on which bitcoin companies 21 Inc, ShapeShift, and Digital Asset Holdings all announced either fundraising rounds or big executive appointments.

For those who follow this business from the outside, it is interesting to observe some of the chatter on bitcoin blogs and forums when the price rises. Those who are betting big on bitcoin’s future get very optimistic, very quickly. “Always exciting to feel that charge in the bitcoin air,” wrote a user on Reddit’s bitcoin section on Tuesday night. “We did it,” wrote another user, and someone responded, “Yaaayy!!”

But one commenter was a bit more tempered: “We all know the price does not matter until it does.” In a time when some big banks and payment processors like MasterCard are getting involved with bitcoin—but cautiously, and typically citing the uses of the blockchain as the appeal—that’s a smart, measured reminder.

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