Bitcoin, which was first launched in January 2009 has surpassed all expectations in 2017. Its value started the year on shaky ground, going up and down on a daily basis. But for a few months, the price has been making headline news as it rose well above what anyone predicted. No one could have foreseen the price of Bitcoin would reach $20,000 in less than 12 months, and all estimates made earlier in the year were for half this amount.
In 2009, one could buy 5,000 Bitcoin for $27 and will have made a very nice profit if they had kept them.
Bitcoin is becoming more and more accepted as a currency by governments and organisations, with nearly 6 million users worldwide. Along with its huge growth in users and value, there have been several landmarks for this digital money in 2017, including:
- Japan making Bitcoin a legal currency for savings and transactions. This has increased the country’s use of it a great deal, and now some Japanese employers partly pay their staff in Bitcoin.
- Russia announced it would legitimize the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Initially, they were concerned that Bitcoin was a danger to its economy and were considering laws that would have made it illegal to use. Now they are embracing it.
- Norway’s largest online bank, Skandiabanken, integrated Bitcoin accounts.
- It began publicly trading on the CBOE Futures Exchange. Bitcoin futures rose by 26 percent very quickly and the market had to be halted twice to give it chance to calm.
- The Bitcoin symbol was encoded in Unicode version 10.
There have been other exciting ventures associated with Bitcoin, including the launch of the first Bitcoin Lotto. It allows prizes to be paid out in Bitcoin, which depending on the exchange rate can increase the winning’s value tremendously. Those with Bitcoin wallet will have a much better time as deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrency is instant on the platform. The Lottoland jackpot stands at 1055 BTC at the moment, which is a small fortune.
The Future of Bitcoin
What does the future hold for Bitcoin? That is difficult to predict. Certainly, it looks as though some of the countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia where Bitcoin trading is not allowed will remove those barriers over the next few years, and that can only help its growth. There are other cryptocurrencies that would love to take the top slot (such as Litecoin and Ethereum) and are working hard towards it. Could it be that it is the maximum limit to Bitcoin supply that is driving people to hold on to the digital currency and explore other cryptocurrencies, jumping into the altcoin bandwagon and getting more retailers to accept cryptocurrency payments.
It is all an unknown that only time will tell, but just like with currencies of all countries, dealings will happen in whichever is the most profitable, and for the time being at least, that is Bitcoin.
Image: 'Bitcoin' - Zach Copley via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)