What happened

Shares of China-based cloud computing expert Xunlei (XNET 0.68%) gained 289.7% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The soaring gains started when the company announced a new business plan built around blockchain technologies.

A man studies a wall-size graphic of basic blockchain concepts.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Xunlei's shares traded roughly in line with the broader market until the middle of August. That's where Xunlei launched a new file sharing platform dubbed OneCloud, where data is transferred and managed using blockchain technologies, and users are paid for their participation in a form of cryptocurrency.

Since then, Xunlei's shares have gone absolutely bananas. Blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies have been red-hot lately, with leading crypto-coin bitcoin's prices rising 15-fold in 2017. Xunlei's OneCoin is a different animal, but the company is using all of the right keywords to tap into the cryptocurrency craze in a big way.

XNET Chart

XNET data by YCharts.

Now what

More recently, the Chinese government has announced several rounds of crackdowns on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These moves also brought Xunlei's share prices down several notches, despite management's protestations that OneCoin isn't a fraud-like cryptocurrency but a totally legit blockchain tool.

You win some, you lose some. As long as blockchain and cryptocurrencies remain controversial (which may or may not be forever), you should expect this stock to continue posting wild swings both up and down.