This week in bitcoin: A price bump for bitcoin, but a slide for some altcoins

In this week’s bitcoin review, we take a look at the rise in bitcoin price and some trouble in the world of altcoins.

Over the $500 mark

Maybe a little bit of rest is just what market needed. With no major scandals or threats of regulation from China, the price of bitcoin has crossed the $500 mark this week — hitting numbers we haven’t really seen since late March, with the exception of a small blip in April. Perhaps there’s some renewed optimism at play after the major Bitcoin 2014 conference in Amsterdam last week and also BitPay’s large funding round.

Here’s what the price has looked like for the past month:
btc price month may 22

Meanwhile, the altcoin world has seen a bit of shuffling of its leaderboard: We’re now seeing the rise of Darkcoin. Bitcoin’s “shadowy” cousin is gaining traction in a big way, with its value shooting from $0.75 to more than $7 in only a month, according to Wired’s Andy Greenberg. It’s now moved into the third place position behind LiteCoin and Bitcoin on in terms of volume in the last 24 hours.
Take a look at its market cap and price graph in the past week:

Chart courtesy of

Chart courtesy of

Everyone’s favorite meme-inspired currency Dogecoin didn’t have a great week. The community does rally behind its market message of “One doge equals one doge” so it shouldn’t be too much of a worry, though.

Chart courtesy of

Chart courtesy of

The real surprise this week came from the Ripple network. Its co-founder Jed McCaleb (who originally also owned the MtGox exchange) supposedly announced on a forum that he was selling 9 million Ripple Coins (XRP): “I plan to start selling all of my remaining XRP beginning in two weeks. Because I have immense respect for the community members and want to be transparent, I’m publicly announcing this before I start. So just fyi…. xrp sales incoming.”

The price of Ripple then plunged as the co-founder donated some of his XRP holdings and liquidated the rest. The WSJ reported that McCaleb owned 9 billion out of the 100 billion Ripple coins initially created.

Chart courtesy of

Chart courtesy of

The market this week

It was obviously a good week for the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin climbed 7.54 percent between Wednesday and Thursday, to close at $526.06. Since then, it’s been holding steady in the $500 range, with the price around $530 as of 8 a.m. PST.
btc price may 22
For background on why we’re using Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, see the note at the bottom of the post. 

Here are some of the best reads from around the web this week:

Bitcoin in 2014

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The history of bitcoin’s price

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A note on our data: We use CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index to obtain both a historical and current reflection of the Bitcoin market. The BPI is an average of the three Bitcoin exchanges which meet their criteria: Bitstamp, BTC-e and Bitfinex. To see the criteria for inclusion or for price updates by the minute, visit CoinDesk. Since the market never closes, the “closing price” as noted in the graphics is based on end of day Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST). 

Photo from Arina Habich/Pond5