As 2017 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on everything we’ve observed from the crypto world this year. If you haven’t been following the news about bitcoin or cryptocurrency, this article can serve as a recent history of the crypto world.
Bitcoin Is Becoming Mainstream
The growing popularity of bitcoin is twofold: the number of investments flowing into the cryptocurrency and a growing acceptance of the currency as payment for goods and services.
There is no question that people are beginning to invest more heavily in bitcoin. The value of bitcoin has gone from $967.67 (in USD) at the beginning of the year to $18,000 (this price is probably inaccurate by the time you read it). That’s an astronomical 1,760% growth in one year! With Bitcoin over $300 Billion, it has now become the 15th most valuable global liquid currency.
If you’ve been following bitcoin, the price influx will probably not come as shock to you. However, it may surprise you to know that bitcoin is an accepted currency by Expedia.com, Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, Overstock.com, and many other retailers. The number of retailers that will accept bitcoin in the coming year is expected to dramatically grow. John Donahoe, CEO of eBay is quoted for saying, “Not only is bitcoin exciting, it’s also going to play an “important role” in the future of PayPal.”
Cryptocurrencies Are Still Unstable
If you were hoping that the stability of cryptocurrencies would be directly proportional to its popularity then you are probably disappointed with the neck-breaking ups and downs of the cryptocurrency market.
If you don’t get a minute by minute update you may miss out on huge price jumps or drops. In late 2017, we saw huge swings in price within just hours. The high volatility in bitcoin price partly was the deciding factor that led Steam to no longer accept bitcoin as an accepted currency.
ICOs Are the New Investing Platform
Startup businesses have flocked to the cryptocurrency landscape in order to gain investments through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Companies have been able to raise several million dollars during their ICO by utilizing digital currency as equity in the said company. It’s clear that ICOs are attracting major investors and casual investors alike. To further understand ICOs, read What Is an ICO?
Bitcoin and Ethereum Are the Big Players
With many hard forks taking place and threatening (most notably the SegWit2X) bitcoin this year, many wondered if bitcoin would still retain its dominance in the cryptocurrency world. Through it all, bitcoin has managed to remain the highest valued cryptocurrency. With so many other cult bitcoin currencies (bitcoin cash, super bitcoin, bitcoin gold, and bitcoin diamond) we will see if bitcoin can sustain its prowess in the coming year.
Ethereum has made tremendous headway in catching bitcoin and has secured its place as a strong second cryptocurrency. Ethereum has gained a lot of attention from crypto-miners. It is currently hovering at about $300 per Ethereum.
Explosion of Alternative Coins
If you didn’t know about bitcoin a few months ago you were behind the eight ball. Now if you don’t know about the major alternative coins (altcoins) you are again behind the eight ball. Altcoins have grown exponentially this past year. Just a little while ago, bitcoin was over 80% of the digital cryptocurrency market, now it’s under half of all transactions.
With the number of businesses funding their launch through ICOs, the number of altcoins will continue to rise. With GBTC being traded on the NASDAQ we may see bitcoin and altcoins being traded on large trading platforms in the near future.
Regulations Will Be the Story of 2018
Cryptocurrency legality was a hot topic in 2017 and is shaping up to get even hotter in 2018. In many countries (like Bolivia and Saudi Arabia) using or mining cryptocurrencies have been banned outright. Other countries (like Israel) have imposed a tax on bitcoin transactions. And still, there are many countries that have not yet decided if or how to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies.
With cryptocurrencies becoming more popular expect to see major alterations and shifts take place in the prices. You should also brace yourself for regulations to be passed in the country you reside this coming year. Needless to say, this is an exciting time to be invested in cryptocurrency.