If you're big into Bitcoin, then we certainly hope that you had a good exit strategy in place when the value of the cryptocurrency took a nose dive this year. If not, there go one's dreams of taking an investment into digital currency and converting it into a brand-new house, or a hot tub, or a boat, or what-have-you.
In fact, Bitcoin did so poorly this year, Bloomberg notes that it was the world's worst currency for 2014. Just let that sink in a bit: Even with all the political issues plaguing the European and Asian landscape this year, mostly centered on Russia and Ukraine, their currencies' fluctuations were overshadowed by Bitcoin's poor performance.
As Bloomberg's Mark Gilbert calls out, Bitcoin peaked at just around $1,130 or so a year ago. Since then, the currency's value has plummeted to just around $320 or so. That's quite a bit of a loss, though it's not yet fatal for the currency that sprung into existence out of nothing in 2009.
In fact, those early adopters of Bitcoin who haven't yet traded in their digital currency for a physical one—or perhaps even realized that they were big into Bitcoins around the time of the currency's slow debut—would still be enjoying quite a return if they cashed in their early bitcoins right now.
"So what are the lessons from this year's currency losers? Being at war is worse for a currency than not being at war, whether you're fighting the world's financial authorities for legal validity, or engaged in a guerrilla skirmish as either aggressor or victim. Having friends with deep pockets helps when you get into trouble; Russia does, while Ukraine's international agency pals are hamstrung by their lending rules," Gilbert writes.
"Most of Bitcoin's supporters, meanwhile, seem to be hackers whose resources depend upon the Ponzi-scheme nature of the enterprise itself."
Even more depressing: The overview from Recode's James Temple of all the other investments that would have made more financial sense than Bitcoin this year. That includes investing in newspapers (yikes!), camera film (what?), and the U.S. automotive industry (ouch).
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Livio S. Nespoli has been a broker, registered investment advisor, and financial publisher since 1985.