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Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris July 11, 2014. French police dismantled an illegal Bitcoin exchange and seized 388 virtual currency units worth some 200,000 euros ($272,800) in the first such operation in Europe a public prosecutor said on Monday. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE - Tags: BUSINESS)
Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Precarious.
A BIT LESS NOW

Bitcoin is plunging again

By Matt Phillips

We’re in the midst of another sharp sell-off for everyone’s favorite crypto-currency, with the price of bitcoin falling by more than 9%—to less than $400 at moments—this morning, according to the bitcoin data site BlockChain.

Why? Who knows. Technical analysts have tried to paste some sort of paper-thin rationale on it. (Personally I can’t help but wonder if some of the people willing to make highly speculative gambles are looking to move their money into Alibaba today, in the hope that it may be the next big momentum-driven money-maker.)

Unless it’s the Argentinian peso, this is no way for a respectable currency to behave. And that’s exactly the point: Bitcoin is not a respectable currency. At the moment, it’s merely a plaything for tech-savvy gamblers with far too much money on their hands.

Still, over the long-term, the technological underpinnings of bitcoin as a payment system seem to have promise.