Bitcoin has seen its market acceptance go through peaks and valleys in its short eight-year history since 2009. From being touted as the world’s strongest currency from 2010 to 2013, to a sudden dip in 2014, to a resurgence in market values within 2015 and 2016, Bitcoin has its share of supporters and cynics that could influence how the future of the cryptocurrency could turn out.
Considered still at its infancy and going through growing up challenges, supporters of Bitcoin are positive that it is here to stay. What does the future have in store for Bitcoin? Here are a couple of forecasts.
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, goes mainstream as a widely accepted cashless currency.
Bitcoin is now used by about 4 million users making transactions with about 100 merchants globally. Vendors accepting bitcoin for payments have crossed over from online shops to brick-and-mortar establishments. Numerous user stories are endorsing the reality of being able to live off using bitcoin cryptocurrency for a week or so in the big cities. A growing number of start-up companies are offering a myriad of products to facilitate using the bitcoin cryptocurrency like pre-paid debit cards topped up with bitcoins, or a facility for shopkeepers to convert real-world currencies into bitcoin as a hedge against spikes in currency inflation rates.
Bitcoin evolves as a protocol to become the standard infrastructure model for digital value exchange.
The core of the Bitcoin protocol is using cryptography to secure each peer-to-peer transaction that is traceable through a publicly viewed ledger called the blockchain without passing through a third party. The design of the Bitcoin protocol ensures that P2P transactions using bitcoins are secure, not cloned, nor double-spent on the same bitcoin. There are already a number of startup companies offering blockchain applications to industries like the precious stones industry to block out thieves and fencers. Different altcoins (alternative cryptocurrencies to bitcoin) are quickly mushrooming amending the Bitcoin protocol to service needs of niche markets.
Right now, Bitcoin appears to be very volatile to market forces. It is still not easy to explain Bitcoin to the common consumer. Supporters say that this situation is very similar to the Internet in its infancy. They are confident that Bitcoin is a breakthrough concept that will be able to provide a working model for the new requirements of the digital world, and that the cryptocurrency is here to stay.