Like most human inventions, finance is constantly evolving. Today, we have a brand new form of currency, which is developed by an unknown person and maintained by some of the brightest minds in technology. This new form of money is held digitally and the government neither owns it or has the right to decide its value. The value of this currency is decided by the peer-to-peer network community.
We call this new form of money, ‘Bitcoin’ (BTC).
Even though Bitcoin is often referred to as new, it has actually been in existence since 2009 and the technology that it has been built on has roots that go back even further. If you have heard about Bitcoin and curious to know more, keep reading to know the history and future of this brand new currency that is taking the banking industry by storm.
The idea behind the technology is decentralization – no single institution has any control over the Bitcoin network and it is completely independent. This open-source software can be accessed by anyone.
The Beginning of Bitcoin
Bitcoin was a mystery from the very start. In 2008, a paper known as, Bitcoin – A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System was published to a mailing list discussion on the subject cryptography. Someone called, Satoshi Nakamoto had posted the paper. Satoshi’s real identity remains a mystery till date.
However, when the paper was posted, nobody thought that at its height, it would establish a market, which would be valued at $800 billion. Now that its potential is realized, a lot of people are of the opinion that Bitcoin has the potential to turn the entire global banking sector upside down.
In 2009, the Bitcoin software was officially made available to the public and mining – the process, via which Bitcoins are created, and transactions are verified and recorded on the blockchain – began.
Even though they were made public, a monetary value was not assigned to the units of the cryptocurrency because nobody had traded with them, it had only been mined. Bitcoins were sold for the first time in 2010 and that is when the units were valued.
Owing to the rising popularity of Bitcoins, alternative cryptocurrencies began emerging in 2011, which are known as altcoin. Altcoins improved on the original design of Bitcoin by providing greater anonymity, speed and some other benefits. Litecoin and Namecoin were amongst the first to emerge. Today, there are more than thousand cryptocurrencies in circulation.
In 2013, the prices of Bitcoin began to plummet after one of them hit $1,000 for the very first time. A lot of people were believed to have suffered significant losses. However, the market remained relatively stable.
In the year 2016, there was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the Ethereum platform, which uses cryptocurrency called, Ether. The arrival of Ethereum was marked by the emergence of ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings, which offered investors a fundraising platform to trade in shares and stocks in startup businesses in the same manner as they would trade and invest cryptocurrencies. However, in a lot of countries, such as the USA and China, ICOs are seen as scams.
Bitcoin reached $10,000 in 2017 and that is when it really started to grow.
Bitcoin in 2018 – the Future
Over the past decade, Bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention. Even though there are consistent declarations of its death, their future remains bright. We expect to see market maturity in the coming years as more and more people are adopting Bitcoins. Even brands are increasingly accepting the currency.
Bitcoin had a volatile start to the year 2018 with the value going below $7,000 for the very first time since 2017, November. But, crypto experts are hopeful and predicted that the market cap of all cryptocurrencies might reach $1 trillion. They also said that Bitcoin itself might hit $50,000 by 2018 end.
At present, there are close to one thousand four hundred cryptocurrencies whose combined value is around $300 billion. According to some estimates, the industry is expected to be worth $5 trillion
by the year 2022. But, since the market is volatile, the number is constantly changing and you would be required to keep a close watch on the updates released by the crypto experts from time to time.
However, it is important to remember that Bitcoin is a new technology and still in its embryonic stage. It can take decades for new technologies to reach critical mass. But, updates and technological development have been consistently taking place, ensuring that digital currencies will continue to grow.
The long history and the current state of Bitcoin gives an optimistic signal to interested individuals. The moment they hit the headline, they have never left and are continuing to soar in popularity thanks to media attention and retail investors. If you are interested in taking the plunge, the Cryptocurrency Network is the best place to find all the information that you need.