2018 has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for bitcoin. The prices have been going up and down like crazy and many investors and traders in the market are glad that the first quarter of the year has ended. From hitting 20k last year to dropping to around 7k at the beginning of 2018, bitcoin has sure managed to keep traders on the edge of their seats.
With that, it becomes only inevitable to sit and reflect on what the future of BTC looks like. It has been 10 years since the coin was introduced in the market and it sure has brought some changes, as it aimed to do.
When the coin was defined as a virtual currency by the U.S Treasury, it was predicted that the coin will take the world by storm.
But have we witnessed that storm? Or that change?
To some extent we have. Majority of big-shot companies such as Amazon, Subway, Dell, Tesla, Victoria Secret, GAP, Apple Expedia allow their customers to shop in BTC. The number of merchants accepting BTC as a mode of payment grew 4 times between 2014 and ’15 which means that some progress has been made.
There have been studies conducted on the usage of crypto wallets by the common public and the numbers look good primarily because of the curtailed transaction fees.
Where was/is the problem?
The initial problem for the users of BTC was that even though they got reduced transaction fees, they were not protected against refund rights and chargebacks. However, that is changing. The bitcoin has witnessed multiple hard forks primarily for reasons revolving around security. Also, in the last few months, BTC has developed a lot to offer a lightning network and microtransactions.
Another probable reason why BTC bulls had it tough over the past couple of months was the decrease in the demand owing to the jumping in of regulators all over the globe to gain a control of the market. The factor that some investors were looking for alternative cryptocurrencies—with each new launch claiming to offer something new—also contributed to this.
A third reason was the coming of BTC under the tax ambit in a number of countries which made the investors and traders highly reluctant to buy bitcoin.
Is bitcoin entering its dark days?
That, perhaps, is a very subjective question. Bitcoin still has a long way to travel before it is absolutely accepted as a global currency form especially with some countries having directly banned the currency.
However, that number is decreasing and there are currencies that have a peculiar liking for the bitcoin.
The United States, for example, has the highest number of cryptocurrency users along with having the highest bitcoin trading volume and the highest number of bitcoin ATMs.
Denmark and Sweden are working towards making the country 100% digital in currency.
Canada is following in the footsteps of US and has regulated the use of bitcoin under anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
In Australia, the previously imposed double taxation on BTC has been removed.
South Korea currently has zero laws governing bitcoin usage and people are buying BTC in 7-11 outlets!
The government of Japan legalized BTC as a currency at the beginning of April leading to many of the largest retailers in Japan accepting payments in BTC.
The latest news is the legalization of BTC in Russia and the country appears to follow the footsteps of Japan. We expect to see Russia join the team of countries advocating for the cryptocurrency.
What are the experts saying?
Many of the crypto experts from across the globe have made their individual predictions about the future of BTC.
John McAfee, the creator of the world’ first commercial antivirus software and a prominent cryptocurrency follower, predicted:
“For you who are long-term investors like myself: (those who always make the most returns), bitcoin is still the crypto giant. It is at a low price, and will never be cheaper. It will be ten times this price in 2018. Remember – it has the lowest circulating supply of any coin.”
As opposed to the utopian vision that McAfee is holding on to, Julian Hosp, the co-founder of crypto TenX says,
“I think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $60,000 mark, but I also think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $5,000 mark. The question is though, ‘Which one is it going to hit first?”
Given the fact that more people are interested in buying BTC especially now that the tax month has passed in many countries, there is still hope for the bitcoin prices to go back up.
The intention of Satoshi Nakamoto was to knock down the central banks, and though, the use of bitcoin will achieve that to some extent, it is highly unlikely that the coin will be able to hold a position capable of influencing monetary policies.
That is to say, the ultimate fate of bitcoin rests in the hands of central banks with the regulation and acceptance of the government a crucial factor for its success. But then again, many Central Banks are beginning to embrace the decentralized technology may just pan out in a different way.
Bitcoin is up for a long journey necessitating the removal of limitations and technological advancements but with the government taking a more rational view of the situation with respect to anti-money-laundering and other similar policies, bitcoin appears to have a utopic future.
Bitcoin expert Spencer Bogart said that it is possible the world might witness the currency hitting over $50,000 in its tenth year but whether these predictions prove accurate, even remotely, remains to be seen.
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