Credit: Wit Olszewski / ShutterstockThe value of a single Bitcoin ranged between $7,000 and $8,250 over the last week. That's a sharp increase from the cryptocurrency's previous valuations, with its trade value being less than $5,500 just a month ago. It's not clear why, but the good news is that for most people, this surge in value doesn't mean that much.
Part of the appeal of most cryptocurrencies is that anyone can "mine" them if their hardware can handle it. Most people's hardware can't handle Bitcoin. It could a few years ago, sure, but now mining Bitcoin requires dedicated rigs that most non-industrial cryptocurrency miners can't afford. (Or even afford to power and cool.)
Bitcoin is the most stable cryptocurrency around, and people have an emotional investment in its value even if they don't have a financial one. But unless someone has Bitcoin they mined a few years ago lying around--our condolences for not selling when it peaked at $19,000 in 2017--its rising value is mostly a matter of curiosity.
That's probably welcome news for many enthusiasts. Cryptocurrency miners drove up the prices of many graphics cards in 2017 as Ethereum became popular, and many products were sold out in that period. Companies also shifted their attention to miners with products made specifically for cryptocurrency-related activity.
None of that worked out well for enthusiasts or the companies that serve them. Gamers couldn't find reasonably priced GPUs pretty much anywhere, and even though that was good news for companies like AMD and Nvidia while it lasted, the cryptocurrency bust left them with a bunch of GPUs nobody wanted to buy.
The good thing about Bitcoin leaving the average computer user behind is that its price fluctuations shouldn't have nearly as dramatic an effect. For those with a few bitcoins under their couch cushions: first, you should stop sitting on hard drives; and second, your investment is improving nicely. For everyone else? Eh.