Bitcoin has taken over the world. Not just Bitcoin, but most crypto assets, have had crazy runs this year. Would 2018 be any different for ballistic Bitcoin?
As 2017 draws to a close in just a few weeks, it is the time we map out the projections ahead for 2018, although predicting the price swings of the crypto currency will continue to remain a subject matter in 2018. Let’s start with what we know already.
Bitcoin registered an all-time high of $18,353 on December 8, 2017. Nobody would have expected an audacious 18-fold gain in its value at the start of the year when it was trading at $1,000.
What propelled Bitcoin in 2017?
1. Product value: Bitcoin allows the instant transfer of value from one individual in the world to any other individual in the world. It excludes the need for a central bank by providing a way to transfer funds directly from one person to another safely. The process is transparent and bypasses the unnecessary hassles, fees and systematic failures of traditional setups. That's where it weighs more than others investment assets.
2. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): ICOs have garnered a lot of hype throughout the year. The only way to buy into these tokens was first to acquire Bitcoin or other major crypto currencies. The demand for the ICOs, in turn, fueled the demand for Bitcoin, Ether and other crypto currencies. It is still going on, although not on as big a scale.
3. Future possibilities: The crypto currency has taken the first step towards legitimacy. The commencemnet of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on Chicago exchange has given the digital currency the legitimacy for investors to look at it as an attractive investment option.
How would Bitcoin fare in 2018: an investment option or a risky affair?
There is a shift in trading activity, from exchanges with questionable reputations to credible investment exchanges. With U.S. based exchanges starting Bitcoin futures contract, the traders and investors have received some confidence in the crypto currency. It should not come as a surprise if reputable financial institutions soon join in and invest billions in the space.
On the other hand, mainstream finance is still hesitant and does turn down the idea of crypto currencies. Some authorities also see the crypto market as a huge disruptor to finance.
The speculation about Bitcoin continues to increase with its price. A lot of industry experts have been calling it "a bubble about to burst".
What can be expected from Bitcoin in 2018?
1. Regulations and security: Crypto currencies are decentralized. Currently, no one is in charge and no redressal option for disagreements. In August 2017, a group of dissatisfied Bitcoin users cloned the Bitcoin blockchain to create a new alternative currency called Bitcoin Cash, also referred to as Bcash. Only a few months later, there was another clone called Bitcoin Gold. This is expected to change for good. We can soon expect digital currencies that protect user privacy. The increase in oversight and regulation is anticipated. Bitcoin becoming a safe medium of exchange for most legitimate uses can be expected.
2. The second currency or the next retail currency?: Bitcoin is, slowly, being adopted. The crypto currency has performed better compared to every central bank-issued currency in every year since 2011, barring 2014. With significant gains this year, more merchants have started to accept the currency.
In April 2017, the crypto currency officially became a method of payment in Japan. With time, over 260,000 food establishments and retail locations stores in Japan have started accepting crypto currency. It has set a precedent for other countries.
Also, there have been reports that Amazon will soon begin accepting Bitcoin. If that happens, the movement of crypto currency will be difficult to track.
3. Bitcoin ETF: Now that we have Bitcoin futures, exchange-traded fund (ETF) is expected to follow soon. The Securities and Exchange Commission had turned down a rule change that was required for a Bitcoin ETF this year. However, fund managers are expected to try again soon.
4. More entrants: The blockchain technology, upon which Bitcoin is created, took the world by storm. As of now, there are more than 1,200 new crypto currency variations available in the market. The network is expected to grow in the near future. There is a whole new kind of crypto assets that have come, with many covering for the shortcomings of Bitcoin. It remains to be seen if any of the new entrees can eclipse Bitcoin in the future.
5. Increase in supply: The supply of Bitcoin is limited to 21 million. However, seeing the demand the number of is expected to increase in the forthcoming years. As of now, there are around 16.7 million Bitcoins that have been released into the system, with 12.5 new ones being released every 10 minutes through the process of "mining".
Where does the rally stop: $100,000 over the next 10 years?
David Mondrus, the CEO of Trive, believes that the price of the Bitcoin could soar to $100,000 over the next 10 years. He believes this would happen as fewer coins will be electronically created, or "mined." As soon as the mining slows or stops, there will be no more supply and as a result, the value would plummet.
Another noted expert on crypto market and a hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz estimated that Bitcoin could "easily" hit $40,000 by the end of 2018. Novogratz had also estimated that the market cap of crypto currencies could increase by about six times to reach $2 trillion at the end of next year. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of $290.6 billion at present.
The CEO of the BitMex cryptocurrency exchanges Arthur Hayes sees the virtual currency’s value soar to $50,000 by the end of 2018. He described the meteoric rise of the crypto currency as a "transformational" experience happening once every hundred years.