For a few years, bitcoin was easy to ignore. Ardent supporters still argued that it was the future of currency, and some advised that it would be wise to buy some bitcoin before it truly took off. But the investment was considered risky, and for the most part, bitcoin didn’t pervade our daily lives. Even now, you can use bitcoin for a financial transaction in some cases, if you go out of your way to do so – but the cryptocurrency is far from becoming any sort of sweeping replacement for regular money.
As a financial asset, however, or a commodity, bitcoin has become something entirely different than what it was a few years ago. Only a little over a year ago headlines were made when bitcoin topped $1,000 to break its personal record. Now Bitcoin is trading around the $9,000 range (and last winter it briefly bounced up to over $19,000). It has become a serious investment asset, and one well worth taking a new look at.
Here is a little bit of information about where things stand.
More Merchants Are Using Bitcoin
Bitcoin adoption among mainstream merchants has been slow. As stated above, bitcoin is not on its way to becoming a replacement for mainstream currency. However, to dismiss the idea of more everyday use entirely would be to ignore the facts. Just earlier this year news broke that 80,000 new merchants in Europe would be gaining the option to access crypto. That’s certainly not insignificant, and the more news we get like this the more potential there is for bitcoin’s value to spike due to increasing utility (though it should be noted that this particular news back in March doesn’t seem to have had a major effect).
There Are More Viable Alternatives
Gone are the days when bitcoin was alone at the top of the heap of cryptocurrencies. Granted it’s still the most valuable of the bunch by a fairly significant margin – but a number of its competitors have gained meaningful shares of the market. Litecoin has always been a sort of lesser version of bitcoin and remains so, but is a more appealing alternative to many; bitcoin cash has become one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies; and other alternatives like ethereum (or, technically, ether) and dash have also become more legitimate over the past year or so. These currencies thrive not because people are simply interested in diversifying but because most of them are designed to satisfy consumers in a way bitcoin doesn’t. That gives each one its own unique growth potential within the crypto market.
Regulation Is A Growing Concern
Some time ago a thorough look at bitcoin regulation (which is worth a full read if you’re interested) stated that regulation of bitcoin was a murky grey area. That’s proven to be a very prescient common because it remains so today. As a fully decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin simply isn’t subject to universal restriction or regulation. That’s generally a good thing. However, as a result, it is subject to the whims of different governments and financial institutions around the world – some of which have started to take a closer look at controlling cryptocurrency trade. It’s the main story that’s constantly worth keeping an eye on for those intrigued by crypto investment.
Bitcoin Still Leads Cryptocurrencies
Just in case it hasn’t become clear by this point, it’s important to know that bitcoin is still the leader among cryptocurrencies. As of the time of this writing, bitcoin cash is the second most valuable, at roughly 16 percent of bitcoin’s total value. Many still believe other cryptocurrencies will catch up eventually, but bitcoin is king for now.