Bitcoin first appeared as a fad. Nobody thought it would stick around for long enough to merit any further investigation. Then, Bitcoin doggedly persevered and inspired other cryptocurrencies on the way.
Nobody knew what had happened, but people were gradually coming to realize that this new and strange little device, called a cryptocurrency, might indeed have a staying power that goes well beyond the initial bout of criticism.
Newspapers began teeming with information about it. Companies dedicated to mining, selling and trading the little shiny bits and bytes of digitalised immaterial coins were set up. Regulators pricked their ears in an expectation to come down hard on the new trespassers.
Bitcoin – First Among Equals
Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency to be so frivolous, independent and generate a ridiculous amount of interest around it. Its value shot up several times to the general bafflement of the casual onlooker.
Value rose once to $5,000 then $10,000 and finally $15,000, leaving those who have invested at the dawn of the cryptocurrency craze smugly rubbing hands. Others rued their shortsightedness and were desperate at not having had a shot at it.
Whatever your bent on the cryptocurrencies might have been, we now know that Bitcoin will stick with us for a long, long time.
The Fight Begins – Seedy Characters Enter the Fray
The problem with Bitcoin, it seems, is that unlawful organizations have been quick to embrace it. The additional layer of anonymity Bitcoin offered has been tempting enough for those individuals to start buying up by the bulk and use the coins to launder their ill-gotten gains. Strangely enough, rogue regimes have used it to circumnavigate international financial sanctions.
Hackers followed suite and Bitcoin, and any cryptocurrency for that matter, has quickly transitioned into the means of exchange for those of disreputable background.
What about the Future?
There are other concerns on top of those. What does Bitcoin’s future hold? How are things going to pen out? Are we going to enjoy an unprecedented soar of the cryptocurrency? Perhaps, we will see the same roller coaster of ups-and-downs, of new summits conquered and new depths probed.
The recent slump of under $10,000 in just a few days is indicative enough. Do we have a financial bubble that is well set to explode and leave many people, who have millions of dollars of investment, desperate?
A Future without Bitcoin, But Not without Cryptocurrencies
In the great scheme of things, we believe that Bitcoin will one day disappear. It has been the first such currency to arrive, and its demise seems inevitable. However, the trend that it has incentivized seems to have branched out to so many similar other.
Do you remember when the Internet bubble, or the dot com as some people refer to it, burst in the 2000s? We believe a similar future awaits the Bitcoin.
All the indicators are there. The volatility of the Bitcoin and the fact that some of the world’s largest economies are now dictating the public discourse about it are proof enough.
Take, for example China. China has done an outstanding job of breeding the cryptocurrency. In a word, the country has allowed a slew of companies and exchanges to take off. Initial Coin Offering (ICOs) followed shortly after.
Then China waited. It waited and studied the Bitcoin at its own leisure, right in its very own backyard. News came that the country was banning all transactions carried out in Bitcoins or any cryptocurrency for that matter.
There we had the irrefutable proof that the end had been drawing all through those months before. Some were quite defiant and Hong Kong took a stand. The Chinese central bank was inexorable.
Elsewhere around the World
Elsewhere people were also slowly warming up to the fact that it may not be the best thing to flirt with cryptocurrencies for too long.
Other central banks have decided to follow suite and move in quickly on the cryptocurrency. The European Central Bank, one of the world’s finest institutions, has slowly broached the debate about the future of cryptocurrencies.
For a while there, the ECB offered to monitor the cryptocurrencies. Now a shift in policies may have come. Instead, the ECB may want to issue its very own electronic currency, a sort of an E-Euro as it is. Baltic countries are all for it.
Even the outright detractors of the cryptocurrency, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Damon, who has begrudgingly rumbled against the Bitcoin, at one point acquiesced to a special unit within JPMorgan that would deal just with digitalised money.
The fact is cryptocurrencies will stay with us, perhaps a tad longer than expected. The realities are that we cannot tell with any reasonable degree of certainty, which the cryptocurrencies of the future will be. Hence our confusion. However, one thing we know – cash as we know it is bound to disappear.