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The Editors

Whatever Bitcoin Is, It Isn’t Acting Like Money

Its price is completely disconnected from any practical use.

Used to be a Bitcoin.

Used to be a Bitcoin.

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

Anyone who still thinks Bitcoin is a viable form of money should have learned otherwise this week. The cryptocurrency’s wild fluctuations say it isn’t. For those just looking to get rich quick, the message is even simpler: Buyer beware.

At one point on Wednesday, the price of a Bitcoin had dropped more than 40% over the course of a week — disconcerting for the throngs of retail investors who, egged on by Elon Musk and other celebrities, had helped drive it up more than 230% over the previous six months. In a matter of days, hundreds of billions in virtual wealth disappeared.