If you’ve not yet heard of cryptocurrency then we’re assuming that you may have been locked away for the last decade with no access to the internet, TV, or newspapers. On the off chance that this may be the case, in simple terms, crypto is a digital currency that uses digital files as money. It is decentralised, meaning that no single person or government controls it.
The best known of these cryptocurrencies has to be Bitcoin. Since its launch, it has had some staggering ups and downs. In 2010, a single Bitcoin was worth around $0.08, but by 2013 things were starting to get a little exciting, with the value increasing to $13.50. A metamorphic rise in 2017 saw Bitcoin ending the year at $19,000 before crashing the following November to around the $3,500 mark.
So given its volatile nature, have cryptocurrencies, and in particular, Bitcoin, changed the world of investing?
Investing in cryptocurrencies
To be a worthwhile investment, something needs to be tangible. Having a wallet overflowing with various cryptocurrencies becomes pointless unless there are tangible benefits and that the currency can actually be used. The attraction with Bitcoin is that now, more than ever, it can be used as a means of payment, and through the likes of Coinbase, it can readily be exchanged for traditional cash.
When considering investing in cryptocurrencies, it is worth considering this: the first transaction involving Bitcoin saw 2 pizzas being purchased for the price of 10,000 Bitcoin. 10 years later, that 10,000 Bitcoin that bought 2 pizzas would be worth a staggering $750,000! It is that sort of growth that is appealing to investors, coupled with the fact that Bitcoin can now be used at over 100,000 merchants and used just like traditional currency at the likes of online shops and online casinos.
The appeal of cryptocurrency is that it brings a new audience and participants to trading: those who would never have had the means, and perhaps the understanding, to trade traditional stocks and shares. Stories such as that of Erik Finman, who became a millionaire while still a teenager, do much to increase the appeal of Bitcoin to the younger generation.
Bitcoin in 2020
After the ups and downs over recent years, it is fair to say that in 2020 Bitcoin is back and back in a big way. In December, one Bitcoin is now worth $19,183.10: an increase in value of over 150% over the course of the year and increasingly closer to the record high of $20,000.
So what has happened in 2020 to see this dramatic increase in value? Experts claim that the market has matured over the last 3 years, and with maturity comes confidence. This has seen big names enter the crypto market with billionaire hedge-fund managers such as Paul Tudor Jones now investing. Add to this that the giant that is PayPal has also entered the arena (PayPal are now allowing US users to buy, hold, and sell digital currencies), and suddenly cryptocurrency is no longer something for the the tech geeks: it is now becoming very much mainstream.
What does the future hold for Bitcoin?
It is easy to say that we have been here before: we’ve seen the dramatic rise in the value of Bitcoin, only to see it come crashing down within weeks or months. So, with Bitcoin on the verge of exceeding its record high, are we just going to see a repeat?
The fact that the market has matured, and that Bitcoin is now being recognised by big-name players, are signals that Bitcoin is here to stay. The insane growth and increased usability of the currency mean that there is likely to be a new wave of investors seeking returns that just can not be achieved anywhere else. In terms of timing, with predictions that Bitcoin could be worth between $55,000 – $60,000 by the end of 2021, now is as good as time as any.