As technology progresses and more things are done in an online setting, the move towards cryptocurrency is becoming stronger. A greater number of people are starting to believe that a decentralized form of payments is essential in the borderless world of the internet, and for a while, bitcoin was the number one contender to be that payment system. After all, Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention was the first of its kind, and inspired everything that followed. It rose to great heights as well at the end of 2017, hitting an all-time high of $19,700 in mid-December. But after the recent drop in its value – one BTC is worth just under $7000 at the time of writing – people are beginning to have doubts about the original digital currency. Is bitcoin’s reign coming to an end?
Bitcoin Already Prominent in Various Industries
While the value of bitcoin has dropped massively in recent months, it still leads the way in the cryptomarket which has registered major dips across the board. In fact, the rise and fall of alternative currencies is usually dictated by the current state of the forefather to them all. In January of 2017, the overall cryptocurrency market was worth around $800 billion, but that figure has dropped to around $275 billion. This has led some to believe that bitcoin-mania may be over. The e-currency which began in 2009 has a tendency to bounce back, though, and the fact that it is already prevalent across major industries helps its cause.
Of all the cryptocurrencies in existence, bitcoin has been adopted and used as an actual form of payment the most frequently. Online retailers such as Overstock.com, which started accepting bitcoin in 2014, and holiday booking sites including Expedia allow bitcoin payments. In the case of PizzaForCoins, hungry diners can pay in bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies). This service is an intermediary, allowing you to order from places that don’t regularly accept cryptos, like Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. Intermediaries are used for bitcoin payments in other industries too, including iGaming, which was one of the first to accept bitcoin payments. At the moment, some operators only use the e-currency, while others, like online casino and sports betting company Betway, support it through a middleman, as above, by accepting bitcoin through e-wallet Neteller along with fiat currency payments. Bitcoin can also be used in an everyday, offline setting, with major fast food companies including Subway and Starbucks allowing customers to pay with the cryptocurrency. With bitcoin payments already tried and tested, the e-currency is in a strong position to bounce back from this recent slump.
Newer Cryptocurrencies May Bring Improvements
One reason that has caused some to believe that bitcoin can’t become a global currency are its high mining costs. Shobbit Seth’s analysis on Investopedia from March 28th, 2018 argues that when all 21 million bitcoins have been released, 60 percent of mining revenue could be eaten up by operational costs. Because mining requires a high amount of electricity, each transaction could potentially cost around $10,000. This is why some people are now looking to altcoins and speculating as to whether they could supersede bitcoin and become a global cryptocurrency.
One of the main contenders in recent months has been Litecoin, which was created by Charlie Lee in 2011. With a much larger supply limit of 84 million LTC, the e-currency was designed to be the “silver to bitcoin’s gold”. In this sense, bitcoin would be used for transferring large sums of money while Litecoin could become the preferred option for day-to-day payments. It seemed as though this would come to fruition in February of 2018 when it was announced that a new payment system for Litecoin called Litepay would be rolled out. However, it was recently revealed that there were too many problems with the payment process and it was pulled a month later, causing the value of Lee’s currency to plummet. Other coins such as Bitcoin Cash, which forked from Bitcoin in late 2017, and Omisego, which recently agreed a deal with the government of Thailand could be others to watch moving forward.
Should People Still Invest in Bitcoin?
Bitcoin has a history of fluctuating in value, and it is still worth over double its price of this time last year. Now could be the perfect time to invest, as it may spike again as the year progresses and the dust has settled from recent news of regulations. Whether bitcoin will be a global currency is another question. For those who believe that there will be a singular cryptocurrency used all over the world for everyday transactions, another contender like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Omisego, or even Ripple could emerge as the strongest option. Of course, this is a purely speculative market and investors should know that there is a risk that they could lose everything.
There was a lot of excitement around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies around the turn of 2018, but now people are questioning whether it was merely a bubble. Bitcoin may not be the global currency of the future, but could still be a viable investment prospect because it could be used to move large sums of money. In terms of futuristic payments, one of the alt-coins could rise to the top and usurp the original e-currency.