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Author Topic: What makes the bitcoin price go up and down?  (Read 17821 times)
paysafecardbitcoin
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February 24, 2013, 10:15:27 PM
 #1

Hello, i started on this forum not long ago while trying to make some money. I didnt made any yet, but i didnt gave up, as i used to make lots of money with internet marketing.
My question might sound stupid for Senior guys over here...but what makes the price for the bitcoin? what can make the bitcoin go up and down?
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dstriker
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February 24, 2013, 10:40:50 PM
 #2

Buying and selling.

supply and demand.

free markets.

confidence.
luke.watson
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February 24, 2013, 10:53:12 PM
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Supply and demand is the most likely culprit, as bitcoins become more popular their price will rise and as more bitcoins come into the market their price will drop in theory bitcoins will come to a point where they have a set price though as people will always be buying and selling and trading with them their price can never be exact its the same reason any currency fluxuates
DeathAndTaxes
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February 24, 2013, 10:55:53 PM
 #4

Nothing has a "set price" everything is priced against something else.  Even USD and EUR with trading volume in trillions of dollars a day (yup I said trillions a DAY, quadrillions a year) still have 1%+ daily swings in price.
DannyHamilton
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February 24, 2013, 10:59:56 PM
Last edit: January 07, 2015, 11:59:49 PM by DannyHamilton
 #5

The "price" of a bitcoin is exactly what someone somewhere is willing to pay for it, and someone else is willing to sell it for.

Exchanges provide a place for people who want to buy bitcoins and people who want to sell bitcoins to find each other.

Example:

Albert has 100 BTC.  He needs to pay his electric bill and the electric company doesn't accept bitcoin as payment.  He decides to convert some of his bitcoin to USD.  Albert logs on to an exchange and creates a limit order offering to sell 10 of his bitcoin for $33.45 each.  He is not willing to sell the bitcoin for less than $33.45 because at any price less than that he'd rather just hold on to the bitcoin and pay his electric bill with other funds.

Bobby only has a two bitcoin that he purchased at $32.50 each.  He decides that he doesn't really want bitcoin anymore, but he doesn't want to take loss.  He logs on to the exchange and creates a limit order offering to sell his two bitcoin for $32.55 each.

Carl has just received his paycheck.  After paying his expenses he has $200 left over.  He decides to purchase bitcoin with this money.  He feels like the exchange rate might drop a bit and so to get them as cheap as possible, he transfers his money to the exchange and creates a limit order to purchase 6.25 BTC at $32 each.

David just received an inheritance of $10,000. He decides he'd like to hold the entire balance as bitcoin.  He has seen the exchange rate varying between $31.50 and $33.50 lately, and hopes he can get the entire balance at $31.50.  He creates a limit order at the exchange for 317.460317 BTC at $31.50 each.

Earl is in a hurry.  He just wants to buy something from Overstock.com right now, and he'll take whatever the current exchange rate is.  He needs $60 worth of bitcoin.  He transfers his $60 to the exchange and places a market order for $60 worth of bitcoin.  The exchange sees that the cheapest offer to sell bitcoin at their site at the moment is Bobby's offer of 2 bitcoin at $32.55 each.  The exchange transfers the $60 from Earl to Bobby and at the same time transfers 1.84331797 bitcoin from Bobby to Earl.

At this hypothetical moment the current bitcoin price is therefore $32.55, since that is the most recent exchange that has occurred.
Earl now has 1.84331797 BTC
Bobby now has $60 and 0.15668203 BTC still available to purchase at an exchange rate of $32.55 per bitcoin.

Now Albert suddenly realizes that he doesn't have enough other funds for his bill.  He needs $334.50 right away to pay the bill, and needs to sell the bitcoin quickly to get the necessary money.  Albert cancels his limit order and places a market order to sell $334.50 worth of bitcoin.  The exchange sees that the most expensive offer to buy bitcoin at their site at the moment is Carl's offer of 6.25 bitcoin at $32 each.  The exchange transfers $200 from Carl to Albert, and 6.25 bitcoin from Albert to Carl.  Since Albert still needs another $134.50 worth of bitcoin to fulfill his order, the exchange sees that the next highest offer is David's offer of 317.460317 BTC at $31.50 each.  MtGox transfers 4.26984127 BTC from Albert to David, and $134.50 from David to Albert.

At this hypothetical moment the current bitcoin price is therefore $31.50, since that is the most recent exchange that has occurred.
Albert now has the $334.50 that he needs, and still has 89.4801587 BTC remaining.
Carl has picked up the 6.25 bitcoin that he wanted, spending the $200 that he wanted to spend.
David has purchased 4.26984127 for $134.50, and still has a limit order out there waiting to be filled for another 313.190467 bitcoin at $31.50 each.


You'll notice that there are actually many "prices" for bitcoin.  There is the price that each individual is willing to buy or sell their bitcoin for.  Some of the more often quoted prices are the "current Ask", "current Bid" and "most recent exchange".

Prior to Earl coming along, the "Current Ask" was Bobby's $32.55 that he is asking to sell his bitcoin (the lowest price anyone is willing to sell for at that time).
The "Current Bid" was Carl's $32 bid to purchase bitcoin from anyone willing to sell that cheap (the highest anyone is willing to pay to buy at that time).
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February 25, 2013, 01:27:56 AM
 #6

Machine elves.

Civil Liberty Through Complex Mathematics
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February 25, 2013, 02:04:23 AM
 #7

Bulls and Bears........................and the occasional unicorn.

In Cryptography we trust.
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February 25, 2013, 02:41:24 AM
 #8

The same thing which makes price up and down for say oil or precious metals.
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February 25, 2013, 03:20:22 AM
 #9

I just want to say that DannyHamilton's very detailed hypothetical scenario is a great explanation of not just bitcoin prices, but of price fluctuation in just about any free market. I feel like bookmarking it.
silvergoldandbitcoin
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February 25, 2013, 04:30:32 AM
 #10

I just want to say that DannyHamilton's very detailed hypothetical scenario is a great explanation of not just bitcoin prices, but of price fluctuation in just about any free market. I feel like bookmarking it.

Agreed! +1 DannyHamilton

I think I understand price fluctuation a bit better, but this scenario (it's only a scenario I understand) doesn't take into account people who invest in bitcoin. Investors are constantly speculating, which contributes to some of the fluctuation. People who buy them just to buy, and sell when the price raises (and vise versa) cause rising and falling prices as well.

DannyHamilton
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February 25, 2013, 05:06:23 AM
 #11

. . . but this scenario (it's only a scenario I understand) doesn't take into account people who invest in bitcoin. Investors are constantly speculating, which contributes to some of the fluctuation. People who buy them just to buy, and sell when the price raises (and vise versa) cause rising and falling prices as well.

Certainly it does.

You could probably consider both Carl and David to be speculators in the scenario.

The price is set by a seller and a buyer both being willing to exchange at the same price.  It doesn't matter if the reason they are buying or selling is to speculate on future prices, to buy something from SilkRoad, or to pay an electric bill. If they have a specific price they want, then they place a limit order.  If they just want it now at the best price anyone is offering, then they place a market order.  If there is a bunch of selling wanting an immediate sale, then they take up many of the pending "bid" offers driving the exchange rate down.  If there is a bunch of buying wanting an immediate purchase, then they take up many of the pending "ask" offers driving the exchange rate up.
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February 25, 2013, 08:41:11 AM
 #12

Bulls and Bears........................and the occasional unicorn.

Gotta love those unicorns!
paysafecardbitcoin
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February 25, 2013, 01:34:15 PM
 #13

thank you everyone.
BitcoinAshley
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February 25, 2013, 04:07:11 PM
 #14

Quote from: DannyHamilton
Earl is in a hurry.  He just wants to buy something from SilkRoad right now, and he'll take whatever the current exchange rate is.  He needs $60 worth of bitcoin.


Sounds like Earl is jonesin' Grin
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February 25, 2013, 04:10:32 PM
 #15

The manipulator ?  Grin

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February 25, 2013, 04:31:56 PM
 #16

Part of it is also the strength of your currency. If Bitcoin goes up, it could actually just be your currency going down instead of Bitcoin actually going up. It's hard to know which is moving. It's like when you sitting on a train and you start to move. It's sometimes hard to tell if it's you moving on the train next to you moving.
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February 25, 2013, 04:38:22 PM
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This raises a good point. I keep hearing in the Wall Street Journal and other news sources about how the strength of the dollar is increasing. What they don't say is that it's increasing *relative* to other currencies. Overall though, the world currencies are weakening compared to the bitcoin, gold, etc. The dollar is actually weakening, it's just weakening slower than the other currencies.
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February 25, 2013, 04:41:30 PM
 #18

supply and demand, or hack/news story cycles.
twolifeinexile
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February 25, 2013, 04:43:09 PM
 #19

The manipulator ?  Grin

Manipualter is hidden Grin
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February 25, 2013, 05:09:47 PM
 #20

manipulator's will
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