Much of the news surrounding bitcoin in 2017 had to do with the potential for the cryptocurrency to hard fork. There has been an ongoing and tumultuous debate among developers, miners, and digital currency enthusiasts about how to scale bitcoin to properly accommodate the rapidly growing interest and the increasing number of transactions.

In October 2017, the blockchain was officially forked, with developers for the new project terming the offshoot cryptocurrency "bitcoin gold." This followed from the larger bitcoin cash hard fork, which took place earlier in the summer. Bitcoin gold represents, according to Coin Desk, an "airdropped" digital currency, meaning one which is distributed to anyone who owned bitcoin at the time of the split.

October 23: High of $549.72

The first day on record according to coinmarketcap.com saw bitcoin gold's price reach a high of $539.72 per coin. Trading volume at that time was a meager 7.65 million. Just two days later, the currency plunged to in the mid-$140s. It would not break the $200 price point again until November 10.

In mid-November, bitcoin gold briefly spiked, topping out at more than $500 per coin surrounding the public launch. This day was notable as well for the massive spike in trading volume, with total volumes exceeding 187 million. Just days later, though, the currency was back down below $200 per coin, proving that early fervor over the coin was short-lived.

Late November: Climbing Toward $400

In the last few days of November, bitcoin gold appeared to be aiming upward, with prices pointing toward $400 per coin. Although it only broke $400 per coin on one day (November 24), it was consistently topping out above $350 per coin for the last few days of the month.

In the first half of December, by contrast, bitcoin gold seemed to stagnate somewhat. Up through December 14, the coin spent more days below $300 than above. Then, on December 20, prices reached a high point of nearly $489 per coin, showing that there may be renewed interest in this digital currency toward the end of the year. Whether this is a brief price spike or signs of a trend to come remains to be seen.

Coinmarketcap.com shows that, as of this writing, bitcoin gold's total market cap is just over $6.6 billion, keeping it far below its bigger brothers bitcoin and bitcoin cash. It's difficult to say whether or not this digital currency will achieve the heights that its developers hoped, but it's nonetheless one to watch going into the new year.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.

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