If anyone needs reminding at just how volatile the cryptocurrency market is, and Bitcoin in particular, just look at the wild swings that have been happening lately. Or even just today—Bitcoin continued its recent downward trend and fell below $8,000 for the first time in 11 weeks earlier today, before recovering to above $9,000.
At its low today, Bitcoin was trading for $7,695.10. Prior to today, the last time Bitcoin went for less than $8,000 was on November 24. And more recently, Bitcoin briefly traded for as much as $19,340 on December 6.
Digital coins are up, down, and all over the place recently as regulators in various countries have been publicly addressing the cryptocurrency scene. For example, India's finance minister Arun Jaitley said earlier this week that India would "eliminate" the use of cryptocurrencies in "illegitimate activities." Some reports misconstrued that to mean an outright ban, but regardless, it had an effect on Bitcoin's value.
So did recent comments in other countries, where regulators have voiced concerns about cryptocurrency.
"With South Korea, Japan and China all making noises about a regulatory swoop, and officials in France and the United States vowing to investigate cryptocurrencies, there are concerns that global coordination on how to regulate them will accelerate. Officials are expected to debate the rise of bitcoin at the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina in March," Reuters noted a couple of weeks ago.
There is sort of a tug-of-rope situation playing out at the moment. On one side, cryptocurrencies are bringing to light the potential benefits of blockchain technology, and if looked at over time, Bitcoin's rise in value is nothing short of impressive. But on the other side, government regulators have concerns over the volatility and security of online exchanges, among other things. The result is that Bitcoin can be trading at more than $19,000 one day and less than $8,000 several weeks later.
The indirect relevance to gamers is what effect this has on the GPU market. Bitcoin is no longer mined with graphics cards, with specialized ASIC hardware taking their place. However, there are over 1,000 altcoins, some of which are best mined with a GPU, like Ethereum. It's not uncommon for a miner to trade one of those currencies for Bitcoin, so the value of Bitcoin still influences the GPU market.