A crazy week for Bitcoin

What is a bitcoin? 

Ten years ago, the idea of a futuristic, invisible currency – one that’s not linked to any government and that lives on the internet – might have been dismissed as a possible line from The Matrix or Blade Runner.

But that’s what it is: a digital alternative to notes or coins. It’s still not an official currency as it’s not issued by any government. It can be used as payment online and can be transferred digitally, avoiding the bureaucratic quicksand of banking hours, transaction fees, and waiting periods. The total nominal value of every bitcoin in existence – the first type of digital currency of its kind –is now over $167 Billion.

What happened this week?

The eight-year-old cryptocurrency has pulled in droves of investors in recent months. But this week it hit record-breaking highs, soaring over $10,000 (£7,493) in value. At the start of 2017 a Bitcoin was worth just $1,000.

And yet within 24 hours of hitting the benchmark it had climbed past $11,000 before losing nearly 20% of its value, to just barely $9,000.

What comes next?

Some say breaching the $10,000 mark signals a new chapter for Bitcoin.

“We’re in the second inning of a nine-inning baseball game,” says Ronnie Moas, founder and director of research at Standpoint Research, who specialises in investment, stock, and cryptocurrency recommendations. “What do you think is going to happen when this goes mainstream?” He thinks it could end up being as lucrative as Amazon or Google stock, and for him it is worth risking a decent sum in Bitcoin, rather getting caught on the sidelines. “In the direction we are headed, there are going to be 200 million people trying to get their hands on a few million Bitcoin.”

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