The Bitcoin Fad Is Fading—for Now

Suddenly, Bitcoin seems a bit boring.

It might be hard to believe. But after the 1,400 percent rally of 2017, with wild swings along the way, the great crypto craze has cooled, at least for now. For the past month, Bitcoin’s price has stalled between $8,000 and $11,300 — a minuscule range by its standards. And internet searches for “Bitcoin” have plunged, suggesting public interest has, too.

“The general public is now realizing that this is not a risk-free, get-rich-quick, investment opportunity and general interest has since diminished,” said Lucas Nuzzi, a senior analyst at Digital Asset Research.

The 2018 lull shows just how quickly investment fads can come and go. Gone for now are the days when Bitcoin dominated talk at holiday tables. Stories lately look a lot like the ones in the back sections of financial papers — dry accounts of regulatory scrutiny, market structure and legal wrangling.

Online searches for “bitcoin” fell 82 percent from December highs, according to Google Trends. Tweets that mention the coin peaked Dec. 7, at 155,600, and are now down to about 63,000, BitInfoCharts says. And the number of bitcoin transactions is off 60 percentfrom its record on Dec. 13, according to Blockchain.info.

December brought “Bitcoin Craze Propels Coinbase App to No. 1 in Apple’s Store.” Now there’s “Bitcoin’s Wildest Days Are Over as Regulators Circle.” Indeed, Bitcoin’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.

Its price slumped Wednesday after Google said it would prohibit cryptocurrency ads, following Facebook’s move from January. Major banks including JPMorgan and Bank of America banned crypto purchases on their credit cards, the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up cryptocurrency oversight and Congress is holding hearings on how to treat the digital coins. Earlier this month, Allianz Global Investors argued the the coin’s “intrinsic value must be zero.” […]

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