Future of Bitcoin
The year 2017 was a monumental year for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. In January 2017, Bitcoin prices rose almost 2000% from $1,000 to more than $19,000 in December. The same year saw Ripple, Litecoin, Ether and other leading cryptocurrencies experience similar spikes as well as the emergence of new cryptocurrencies.
The year 2018 could be another breakthrough year for cryptos. Here are some of the top predictions:
1. Bitcoin’s value will continue to rise
The increase in the value of Bitcoin last year makes its growth and dominance unstoppable. Despite being volatile – which increases the chances of melt-downs – the belief is that Bitcoin will still be a market leader through 2018.
2. Financial institutions will get involved
In December 2017, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced that they would start trading in Bitcoin futures. This move will not only bring cryptocurrencies closer to traditional financial markets in 2018 but will also add legitimacy to the crypto.
Goldman Sachs was one of the first companies to consider clearing futures for its clients. The company is also set to establish a cryptocurrencies trading desk by mid-2018. Other institutions are expected to follow suit since most clients are demanding access to cryptocurrencies.
3. The rise of new platforms
Today’s leading platforms, Bitcoin and Ethereum, face numerous challenges which make us question their long-term capabilities. Bitcoin transaction times range from 10 minutes to several days and transaction fees have risen to more than $4.75 per transaction. The worst part is that the fees are expected to increase as more people join the network. Mining Bitcoins on a world-wide scale consumes a lot of power – about the same as Denmark. Some even claim that in two years time mining Bitcoins will consume more electricity than the whole world uses today.
As people become increasingly aware of the downsides to Bitcoin and Ethereum, they will search for alternatives leading to the rise of other platforms. 2018 will see the launch of new platforms such as Cosmos, ICON, Polkadot, Aion, and Chia. These platforms could help address critical issues of interoperability, scalability, and governance.
4. ICOs will professionalise and attract professional investors into the market
Last year, large amounts of capital were raised via ICOs with projects such as Tezos and Filecoin raising more than $200 million in just one round of funding. This year, investors are expected to get involved with this new type of funding. This will call for further transparency and business validation, bringing the ICO process closer to conventional venture fundraising. Platforms such as Balanc3 – provides crypto firms with accounting and reporting software – and CoinList – screens and selects blockchain companies – will emerge to support this trend.
5. Increased regulations globally
Professionalising ICOs will go hand in hand with increased regulation across the world. In 2017, the United States ruled that ICOs should be regulated accordingly and certain cryptos classified as securities. The same year also saw South Korea and China ban ICOs.
Over the course of 2018, other countries are likely to follow suit. The UK, for instance, is currently planning to regulate cryptocurrency together with counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering rules forcing customers to reveal their identities when performing certain transactions.
With Bitcoin and other cryptos increasing in value and showing a lot of resilience in the market, it is evident that they’re here to stay. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will, therefore, have a lot to expect this year.
Written by Bob Pattni