Or, you know, could just be a market correction due a rapid and unsustainable growth, exacerbated by those who wish to exploit it for personal gain?
So what you're saying is that it was, infact, a bubble?
The word bubble is politically incorrect on the Bitcoin.org forums. So yes, it was a bubble.
It's only politically incorrect here because there are a lot of room-temperature-IQ speculators who don't seem to comprehend that "a bubble" is not the same as "THE bubble" - bubbles happen in other markets all the time, but because those of us who aren't day traders don't hear about bubbles unless they destroy
a market we assume the worst when we hear the term. It seems that what occurred recently was, in fact, a bubble but that doesn't necessarily mean it's THE bubble that everyone fears will kill the market.
People need to understand that bitcoin isn't really any different than any other commodity. Commodities have only the value we ascribe to them. We are trading so many post-scarcity products (music, movies, pornography) at such ludicrous markups daily that it occurs to me that it should be OBVIOUS that so much in this world has only the value we ascribe to things with no inherent value.
Bitcoin bubble theorists need to both learn some basic economics and perhaps the actual definition of the economic phrase "bubble": "trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values"
In other words, a bubble occurs any time people are regularly paying considerably more for something than it is worth intrinsically, such as gold which has some industrial value but not so much as to merit its current lofty prices. Trade of gold as a "store of value" has increased its value purely via speculation and so it too is a "bubble" at present. Realistically it's just another rock we pull out of the ground that has some special properties (chemically inert, electrically conductive, etc.) which make it better for some tasks than other rocks.
You seem to miss out important points such as jewelry and collectors demand, apart from industrial demand.
Not to mention gold has served as a mean of value for humans for centuries, as it is shiny and beautiful and does not oxidate.
Lord Banking Families such as the Rothschilds keep only gold in their vaults for a reason you know:http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/media/blogs/blog/25/Evelyn_de_Rothschild_gold.jpg
Wouldn't you want to give that a big hug?