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As Bitcoin nears $700, Coinbase out of coins to sell
52 points by johnyzee on Nov 18, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments
From coinbase.com:

"Due to higher than normal buy volumes, we are unable to provide exact price quotes right now.

Instead of pausing buys entirely, we decided to give people the option to purchase bitcoin at the market price in a few days. Once your USD funds arrive, we will exchange them to bitcoin at the market price at approximately Friday Nov 22, 2013 at 07:56AM PST.

Note that you can cancel your order at any time up until your bitcoin arrive from the transfer history page.

The market price of bitcoin changes frequently. Below are some recent prices to give you an idea. These do not guarantee what the price will be in a few days."

I'm pretty sure I have a wallet that I dumped a couple of bucks into when bitcoin was first starting out. Problem is, I have no clue where it might be, or even what computer it might be on. Laaaame.

Yeah I have 3 bitcoins that were given to me at the very start by a friend who was into it. I shrugged it off as something that'd never take off. Now I've been digging around through my box of old HDDs and USB sticks!

It will be interesting to see how these "lost" bitcoins are handled long-term when quoting things like market capitalization.

Perhaps we can start flagging wallets with no activity since [date when BTC value exploded] as "probably lost". A crude heuristic, to be sure, but perhaps useful.

Same here. The result of early mining, but now effectively lost as they're on none of the USB sticks I have and I suspect one of these Linux installers was the culprit.

I did the same at the time. I know in which computer mine is. But I know I trashed that computer not long after...

There should be a bitcoin recovery service, those coins could be worth serious amounts of money, now.

It's not that they've run out of coins to sell, it's that by the time the transaction completes they'll potentially be selling the Bitcoins for far less than they're worth - it's an artifact of Coinbase's business model. (Part of the problem IIRC is that people can back out of transactions after Coinbase have quoted them a price, meaning they can make a profit from a rising market at Coinbase's expense.) Same happened last time a bubble blew up in the Bitcoin price.

The 30 day delay in effect at the time I bought at $125 to test my first use of the system is the only reason I have three Bitcoin instead of 20. By the time I was approved for quicker purchase the booster rocket had kicked in and I simply couldn't believe the price increase to $200 could last. Ah, well. Story of my life.

Based on the huge discrepancy between the supply of bitcoin (which is algorithmically regulated) and the demand (China, institutional investors, etc), some have predicted that the price of Bitcoin will increase to between $500,000 and $5,000,000 per unit within a three-year time frame. Whether this will happen or not, only time will tell. But what its telling us now is that Bitcoin has already increased 50x over the last 12 month.

I've splurged on tiny things and donations over the years with my old CPU-mined bitcoins. I'd completely forgotten about my wallet until things started getting crazy at $300 a week or so ago (was it that short?).

I was lucky enough to find 1.02BTC still sitting there, and now I can only hope that I can get Coinbase to verify my bank account before anything pops.

I too have the feeling that this is the peak but when I think about why, I don't have any reason other than this is the highest price to date. With a relatively small total valuation you're susceptible high volatility. Bitcoin has had lots of peaks and valleys but over its brief history. But, the peaks have always been higher than the valleys. Is there any reason to suspect this trend to stop? I think the underlying driving force for the overall increae in valuation is the adoption of bitcoin as currency. As far as I can tell, this is increasing pretty rapidly and will most likely continue increaseing.

Where has it been nearing $700? https://btc-e.com/ reports a high of $595

btcchina.com - high of $801 (¥4879)! See http://bitcoincharts.com/markets/

Also coinbase.com - high of $660 a few hours ago

This kinda suggests there is a huge arbitrage potential, no?

Yes. And there are people who make a living off arbitraging Bitcoin exchanges.

The usual arbitrage risks apply here: the Bitcoin exchange rate might vary during the time it takes to wire money in and out of various exchanges.

I just sold my pet Bitcoin that I bought for $80 a while back. This is getting crazy, I wonder who the buyers are?

I bought 35 at about $100 each and sold 9 a few days ago when it was $450 so I got my initial investment back out plus a few bucks. From this point on, I'm just going to hold it to see what happens or use it for the occasional online service that accepts BTC and provides a discount for it.

Everyone keeps on talking about how it's impossible for a currency to keep rising like this and have it be useful for commerce, and to some extent I agree. I, however, have started to see the Bitcoin price as the cost of a share into a new world-wide equivalent of the Federal Reserve.

There will only ever be 21 million shares of ownership issued, and I purchased some just to see what happens. It's kind of exciting to me

I'm kind of in the same place. Bought 1 bitcoin for the novelty a while back, sold a chunk of it yesterday to get my money back, and now I'm waiting to see how high it'll go. If it breaks $1k I'll probably sell a bit more to get a profit and then hold on to a tiny fraction to wait and see if the bubble bursts.

That's kind of how BTC has been since I've been sort of paying attention to it -- it acts a lot like a stock.

> I wonder who the buyers are?

Cryptolocker victims?

As far as I'm aware, CryptoLocker demands $300 or 2 bitcoins in the first 3 days. The average person isn't going to try to get bitcoins to pay, and right now no one would even want to, 2 bitcoins are far more expensive than the $300 option. Supposedly after the first three days your only option are bitcoins, but the price jumps to 10.

Symantec estimates that 3% of people that are infected choose to pay [0]. So what fraction of that pay in bitcoins?

[0] http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/19/cryptolocker-at...

I've been wondering if a recent surge in cryptolocker efficacy has powered this storm of interest. But that would imply over a billion dollars has been sent to a single person or group. That just cannot last for very long. And surely people would have been making news reports about being forced to buy bitcoins to pay off cryptolocker.

Maybe people aren't falling over themselves to report to the media that they did something foolish?

Saw it at $600 today and sold mine too. Made enough to pay rent, not to mention the other odd things I've gotten with my BTC over the past 2 years... it was fun, but I think I'm done with it.

I'd also like to know who is buying IN at this point. Anyone on HN have some insight?

    I'd also like to know who is buying IN at this point. 
People who think bitcoin has >2% chance of becoming a major world currency? http://www.jefftk.com/p/bitcoin-exchange-rate-as-a-predictio...

I bought about a week ago. Of course, it was at $315 then, not ~$600. I'd like to buy more, but I'm not made of money.

If I were you I would be very carefully looking at who is buying those things. If there is no large institutional holder or significant amount of new users - current bubble is another speculative bubble (who could have guessed?).

TL:DR bitcoin always went through successively larger bubbles. Without very hard evidence I would believe that current price is result of bubble as well. Also, is there a reliable way to short bitcoins?

I realize that it's all speculative and likely bubbling and all of that. The difference is, not only do I treat this as an investment/speculation (and it's not like I'm betting my life savings on BTC), but I also understand (to a certain extent) and believe in the technical merits of it. I'm not just in it for the rising value (although I'd be lying if I said that wasn't enticing), but I actually want to see this succeed.

What does "result of a bubble" mean?

Means people are buying bitcoins not for their inherent value, but rather in order to sell them later at a higher price. When this happens everyone is waiting until value top's off. Sooner or later moment comes when some portion of holders decides to sell. Other people see price dropping and try to sell their bitcoins as well causing bubble to burst and price to drop significantly.

yeah it's looking a lot like it did in April.....

How about buying Litecoins? Less than 24h ago it was 1 LTC/$4, right now 1 LTC/$7. You could have almost doubled your money in less than 24h.

People say the Chinese market is driving the LTC prices up. And LTC is not even on MtGox. Imagine how much the prices might go up when it will. :)

Really? Damn! I was thinking about buying a couple of days ago. I think I actually will do that.

Assuming you've bought some yourself, where would you recommend buying?

Deposit btc to btc-e.com. Buy litecoins using bitcoins. Then store them offline in a wallet. :)

Any advantages that Litecoins offer over Bitcoins? As long as I pride myself on being somebody who bought into Bitcoin for more than its fiat value potential, I may as well be consistent and understand Litecoin as well.

Thanks for the link! Coin mining is really the only application that has ever made me regret not owning an AMD GPU.

I bought 0.1BTC last Wednesday for £25.85. I thought I might have overpaid for it but, at the time of writing, it's now worth around £40.

I read that as "sold my pet for bitcoin". that would have been funnier.

The buyers are mostly China. 1 bitcoin is currently trading at $770 (¥4700) on https://btcchina.com

PS: you already made your investment back. Keep 0.5 BTC for the long term. Those who sold at the first bubble at $30 regret it. Those who sold at the second bubble at $270 regret it too. Those who sell during this third bubble at ~$700 will regret it too.

>Those who sold at the first bubble at $30 regret it. Those who sold at the second bubble at $270 regret it too. Those who sell during this third bubble at ~$700 will regret it too.

Is that to say that its price is infinite? I mean, at some point, someone will not regret it right?

BTW, I am one who regrets selling at $297 just last week (even though I saw a 3x return), so I don't quibble with that. And, had I held on to it, I likely wouldn't sell now, given its trajectory. My idea was to take profits, let it plummet (as it has before), then get back in. Problem was, it just kept running after I sold it!

So, the challenge is we just don't know where it's going. To say someone who sells now will regret it is dicey at best. As much as I think I agree with you, it's anybody's guess.

Of course everybody has a different opinion. Bitcoin might be displaced by another cryptocurrency. There are many risks threatening Bitcoin. Etc.

But with all these disclaimers in mind, I would say I estimate the worth of Bitcoin to be roughly the size of the remittance market, or the gold market, and possibly bigger. So I would say at the very least $100 to $1,000 billion. Divide by the maximum theoretical limit of 21 million bitcoins. That gives a worth of at the very least $5,000 to $50,000 to each bitcoin.

Interesting approach, and not unreasonable, I'd guess.

Current demand (presumably resulting from its recent traction in China) is insane. Price is marching straight up and to the right even as I type this.

So, looks like the demand from new entrants is establishing at least a new range. Barring some horrible news, it's becoming difficult to see the sharp drop we've seen before. But, I guess that depends on how you look at it: The new entrants are either feeding the bubble or they're actually transferring wealth into BTC for the longer term. This article suggests the latter:


EDIT: In addition, there seems to be a momentum building around BTC with Senate hearings today, more recent VC activity, and more media coverage, etc. I'm wondering if we're seeing a threshold-crossing here, and we'll look back to see this as the moment when BTC's future as a real alternative currency was sealed.

>bitcoin discplaced by another cryptocurrency

Like what? Will the other currencies ever catch up with BTC? What's the probability of this happening? Wouldn't BTC just become the standard, given it's acceptance?

So my view may not be the consensus, but it is based on one of the major criticisms of BTC. It's a deflationary currency, and it (presently) has a strict upperbound on the number of available coins. As evidenced in this thread, there are also many "missing" bitcoins (lost wallets), which further increase the scarcity of whole bitcoins. Assuming BTC gains traction. As it does, the limited resource will be spread over a larger and larger group of people. Each person will have a smaller amount than what would have been possible were it still limited to just thousands of people in the economy. If only 21 million people participate in the economy, 1 BTC would be the average per participant, 10x increase and 0.1 BTC would be the average. The median will be much lower as bitcoin itself does nothing to address wealth distribution issues, so if you retained 1 BTC from the early days, only considering the number of participants, its value is directly proportional to the number of participants (individuals, businesses and states).

TL;DR - 1BTC is not quite infinite, but assuming the bitcoin economy becomes established and grows to a reasonable size, 1BTC today will be a small fortune in just a few more years (possibly sooner, but that'd be due to hype, IMO, rather than real value as a currency).

Bitcoin will rise in value forever: proof by induction

People who see the price rise and don't want to miss out I think. Most of that is just speculation, I speculate.

Now will it be sustainable and the price will keep increasing at a slower pace and make bitcoin a "solid" currency that people will want to use for other purposes than speculation or will it crash and burn like it already did in the past...

Investing in bitcoin right now is nothing more than gambling. You may win big but you may also lose everything. I don't like to play with money so I chose to remain a curious bystander.

The Chinese

Perhaps it is time to roll out alternative crypto-currency. Bitcoin has way too much attention and speculation.

so.. you think much less liquidity and turnover in a currency will help solidify its value (and keep the bid/ask spread tight)?

You can cancel on Coinbase? Why was I never able to find this option?

Is anyone operating a reliable bitcoin options market?


Anyone want to sell me 1 BTC over PayPal? Its really hard for us Canadians to purchase bitcoin here :( The hoops are ridiculous.

The answer will always be "No!" because you can easily reverse a paypal transaction

I can prove my reputation no problem.

That's not the point. Even if you have good rep, there's nothing stopping you from doing a reversal and then whoever sold you it out the money and the BTC. Unless you personally know the person, never sell BTC by paypal (Or really anything you wouldn't want to lose money on)

Check localbitcoins.com. And avoid mentioning Paypal.

This is not the place for this.

You can buy via paypal from virwox.com to buy litecoins and immediately exchange them to bitcoins on the virwox. Then you can send them to a bitcoin address.

Just takes 3 mins :)

Thanks! Looking now

It isn't a straightforward process, and is a little pricey for small transactions. I think 1 BTC is okay though.

You first have to deposit US dollars or euros into it from Paypal. Then you convert them to Linden dollars, SSL (the site is actually for MMO virtual currencies), and then you convert the linden dollars into BTC. All these are instant transactions. To withdraw the BTC to your own wallet, they manually verify every withdraw request, which they claim can take up to 48 hours.

I think we have the easiest time possible with Cavirtex...

Also, there's a bitcoin ATM in Downtown Vancouver, if you are in the area.

Where exactly in Canada are you? Also, have you tried cavirtex.com?

So, I called Cavirtex, and they put you on hold saying there are 6 people in line then you just get a fixed voice mail anyway. Apparently there aren't any real phone reps at cavirtex. Disappointing.

Ontario. I am currently trying to sign up with cavirtex, but its a slow process and they need a photo ID with an address, which I don't seem to have?? I've contacted them, but no reply so far.

+1 for cavirtex, I've only been cashing out, but trading is easy, and cash withdrawals via direct deposit to my bank account have Just Worked. I assume about the same going the other way.

send your email address to mneyer@gmail.com and i can hook you up

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