Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency in the world, jumped to a four-month high overnight, briefly breaching $5,000 on the Bitstamp exchange. Bitcoin is up roughly 15% on the day and traders are excited because it really seems like nobody learned their lesson during the last cryptocurrency bubble.
As CNBC notes, “The reason for the sudden price jump wasn’t immediately clear.” And it would all be pretty funny if it wasn’t so sad.
Bitcoin hit a record high of $19,783.06 in December of 2017 after months of hype in the popular press. Plenty of people got in when the cryptocurrency was expensive, and smart people cashed out, leaving average folks with huge losses. By December of 2018, Bitcoin had bottomed out at about $3,400. But it looks like speculators might ride the rollercoaster again.
To be clear, Bitcoin is absolutely worthless by any real measure. It’s fake money that’s about as practical to use in the real world as Monopoly bills. Bitcoin is backed by nothing and requires tremendous amounts of energy to mine using computers. As it becomes more difficult to mine, it saps more and more energy, causing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to be pumped into the atmosphere and accelerating climate change. Bitcoin is little more than a speculator’s death cult at this point.
Bitcoin is so rife with scam artists that Google and Facebook banned cryptocurrency advertisements on their platforms last year. Facebook said it had taken the action because cryptocurrencies were, “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
There’s also the problem of protecting the money of people who buy into an exchange where the founder dies and $180 million just disappears into thin air. Or the problem of $224 million getting swiped because someone hacked your phone.
But that hasn’t stopped people from buying heavily into the cryptocurrency scam, even as smaller cryptocurrencies have shriveled to nothing.
“Bitcoin has been trading range bound for a while now and shaking off some of the negative sentiment that it accrued in 2018,” Charles Hayter of the digital currency comparison firm CryptoCompare, told CNBC today. And you can say that again. But perhaps some of that “negative sentiment” was well earned.
Humans never learn, but I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. Do whatever makes you happy. I’m sure this time will be different, right?