A hidden currency, a currency outside the touch and reach of governments or the major banks of the world. A currency in the hands of the people and not institutions with agendas. This has been the trademark catchphrase of the Bitcoin for most of its existence since 2009 when it made its debut. However, the Bitcoin and its offshoots have emerged as the major threat as of late to traditional money and investment.
You may have heard that investing in Bitcoins is the new trend or fad these days. After years of being translucent and ignored by lenders, investors and the market in general – outside those wanting to make anonymous purchases on places such as the Dark Web, hackers and a niche community of users who believed in the concept of such currency – the Bitcoin has emerged as the hottest investment of recent times.
Those who invested in the Bitcoin during the last few years and did not sell their assets won big, really big. Some have become rich men literally over night. When the market opened up to the blockchain and the value soared, Bitcoin was finally talked about and got the recognition it has deserved.
“Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.”
This has really caused the Bitcoin to transfer itself from the wild west of online hacking, gambling and shady investment into a legitimate, reliable and held in a public database currency. It has transformed it into something worth tsking note by the major players in the world of investment and caused prices to spike until revcently.
However, what many didn’t know until recently and until they started investing themselves, Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency on the market. There are also Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum as options for purchase. The cost of the Bitcoin right now rises high above the rest, but this raises an aspect of speculation whether some of these up-and-coming cryptocurrencies may be a better investment for the future.
Will it bottom out, will there be a booble? This question is often raised by the media and analysts. Some predict due to the recent volatility and even prices lowering at the end of December by quite a bit when compared to all of last year, that the Bitcoin will just continue to stumble. However, the last week or so proved otherwise as it is rising at a slow albeit steady pace. The same for most of the competing options, especially Ethereum, which has been picking up pace this past week with price spikes.
The amazing thing about cryptocurrency and the thing that makes such currency stand out from other liquid assets is that it is not government regulated nor is it backed by a standard such as gold. It is mined through complicated algorithms where there is a finite supply of digital coins possible. This has caused controversy and speculation on how real or liquid such currency is and what are its long-term prospects. This is especially true as government or other regulations come into play.
Right now, Bitcoins are priced astronomically high at $14,970.36 for a single coin as of this writing. So if investors or dibbling hobbyists want to make a purchase they would really have to commit an investment for a coin. However, with options such as the Coinbase app available on mobile devices as well as desktop browsers to purchase, transfer and sell cryptocurrencies, investors can purchase a small fraction of a coin and see that number grow in real time.
The great thing about it is that anyone can make a purchase with a valid form of ID and payment method, such as a credit card. Anyone can also sell these coins at a whim as they fluctuate in prices. Coinbase offers purchasing options across various cryptocurrancy wallets — Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum. So investors and prospective buyers can choose to spread their investments out as they see fit.
However, there are other cryptocurrencies out there and digital currencies that aren’t part of the app and will require separate purchases, such as Ripple (XRP). A cryptocurrency that also saw huge strides for some months, even bigger since Bitcoin started delving downwards in price, but very recently has as some investors call it, “crashed.” Of course, as investment rises and foreign markets are stabilized, it may start to go back up.
Right now it is still too early to tell if Bitcoin is just a fad that got some rich within a year and will not continue to fluctuate upward at such or even close to what happened during 2017 where Bitcoin prices spiked by as much as 900%.The same can be said for any cryptocurrency. However, interest and public knowledge now is higher than ever, which should mean more investment, thus higher yields and growth in the future. Only time will tell for sure.
We can analyze and look at market trends for the Bitcoin when it comes to cryptocurrency by looking at charts shown over an annual, or longer, basis from, for instance, Coindesk’s charts:
However, each cryptocurrency is unique and offers different value for the dollar so to speak. Coindesk focuses on Bitcoin, but those who want to go full into cryptocurrency investment need to see the whole picture before making an investment and see how they want to divide their money, or go all in on one of the currencies. By some analysists, and looking at the data from a sound perspective, Ethereum may be the big ticket for 2018, and not without reason. It has continued to climb in price despite competitors slipping or being much more volatile since the beginning of the year and really end of last year.
What makes this so hard to follow and predict is that these cyrptocurrencies fluctuate literally on a hourly, or even minute basis. You can look at your Coinbase app prices chart and see a decline in some of the currencies and 15 minutes later you will see a positive outlook again. The only sure bet as of late is really Ethereum. Although, as previously mentioned, Bitcoins were the ticket last year and years previously as the currency just toppled investment charts with unprecedented hikes.
Will all currencies start going up once again, or will some stay volatile and others take their place this year (such as Ethereum)? We will never know and can only go by market trends, our gut instinct, and what analysists predict. As foreign markets, such as China’s exchanges, can determine things totally out of our control at any given time.
Here are some of my own small investments into a few cryptocurrencies available:
New art postscript added related to the Bitcoin. This was all done in Illustrator and part of my learning process of Vector art: