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Bitcoin themed balloons float in the air during the "Inside Bitcoins: The Future of Virtual Currency Conference" in New York
Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Losing altitude.
ITTY BITY

The bitcoin crash is worse than both crude oil and the ruble

By Matt Phillips

The seemingly endless collapse of the world’s pre-eminent cryptocurrency continues, as bitcoin punched through $200 today.

The continued drop in value made the currency one of the absolute worst things to own in 2014. It remains so. Over the last 12 months bitcoin’s dollar value has fallen roughly 76%, outpacing the decline in both the beleaguered ruble (down a bit more than 70%) and Brent crude oil, which has fallen roughly 58% over the same period.

Of course, both the ruble and crude have far more impact on people’s lives. But for those ill-advised gamblers who put some of their cash into bitcoin over the last year, they’re getting a little taste of how Russia’s currency collapse must feel, without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.

Couldn’t bitcoin rally? Not today. The sharp drop in prices is being accompanied by a surge in volume, which is usually seen as a key confirmation of a market’s direction. (Though selling binges also sometimes mark market bottoms.) But for now bitcoin diehards are abandoning hope. Let’s hope they haven’t been hurt too badly.