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Bitcoin (BTC) has become notorious as the first decentralised cryptocurrency. This digital platform requires neither a central authority or administrator, instead relying on the peer-to-peer network for its operation.

The ethos of the coin has been to liberalise and democratise the creation of money, and remove this process from being solely in the hands of central banks. At first, Bitcoin was very much a niche technology, but its soar in popularity has led to it becoming part of the world financial system.

Millions of people worldwide now use Bitcoin, and it has massively increased in value as a result.

Where to Buy Bitcoin?

There are numerous places where you can buy Bitcoin, but the obvious place to start is via brokerages and digital exchanges. With a huge amount of competition around, it is important to select a reputable broker or bitcoin exchange, as this will ensure that you receive the highest standard of customer service and that your purchase and investment is kept secure.

A Brief History on the Price of Bitcoin

Many investors have been drawn to BTC, and this has resulted in a rich and dramatic history of the cryptocurrency.

Key News for Bitcoin

While many factors can impact on the value of Bitcoin, there is no doubt that the global Covid-19 pandemic has had a greater impact than any other variable. The unprecedented nature of this issue has led to a huge amount of market uncertainty, and Bitcoin has been one of the beneficiaries of this climate.

BTC has increased significantly in value, as investors look for alternative locations to the traditional stocks and shares that are often the focus of market participants. Indeed, it has been an extremely bad time for purchasing the vast majority of equities, with the stock market heading into a bearish pattern rapidly.

This has led to significant currency flows into Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, which resulted in a massive price inflation of Bitcoin as the crisis began. With no end on the horizon to the coronavirus situation, it seems likely that BTC will remain a popular investment mechanism for the foreseeable future.

There are many other factors that can also impact on the price of Bitcoin. The number of coins in circulation, governance issues, and public perception have all impacted on the price previously. But it is difficult to assert that any factor other than Covid-19 will have a bigger influence over the price direction of Bitcoin at the present time.

Bitcoin Timeline

  • 18th August 2008The domain name bitcoin.org is registered for the first time.

  • 31st October 2008A link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System is widely distributed. This will provide the foundation for the BTC currency.

  • 9th January 2009The first open-source bitcoin client was released. Bitcoin price - effectively zero.

  • 6th August 2010A problem arose with the Bitcoin blockchain, whereby transactions weren't properly verified. This was spotted within hours and eliminated, and remains the only major security flaw the history of the digital currency. BTC price - $0.10.

  • June 2011WikiLeaks became a pioneering organisation and began to accept bitcoins for donations. Bitcoin price - $31.

  • September 2012The Bitcoin Foundation was launched, in order to “accelerate the global growth of bitcoin through standardization, protection, and promotion of the open-source protocol”. The founders were Gavin Andresen, Jon Matonis, Patrick Murck, Charlie Shrem, and Peter Vessenes. Bitcoin price - $7.

  • November 2013The University of Nicosia announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin as payment for tuition fees. Bitcoin price - $1,240 at the end of November.

  • December 2014Microsoft began to accept bitcoin to buy Xbox games and Windows software. BTC price - $315.80 at the end of December.

  • February 2015The number of merchants accepting bitcoin exceeded 100,000. Bitcoin price - $253.74 at the end of February.

  • September 2016The number of bitcoin ATMs had doubled over the last 18 months, reaching 771 ATMs worldwide. Bitcoin price - $606.81 at the end of September.

  • 1st August 2017Bitcoin splits into two digital currencies, in what is often described as the Bitcoin Cash hard fork. As the name suggests, Bitcoin Cash was created as a result of this hard fork. Bitcoin price - $2,770.20.

  • 17th December 2017Bitcoin reaches what remains to this day its peak value. BTC price - $19,783.06.

  • September 2019By now there are 5,457 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide, with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Spain housing the most units. Bitcoin price - $8,073.95 at the end of September.

  • April 2020The Covid-19 pandemic sees many investors seek out cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, as safe havens in an unpredictable marketplace. Bitcoin price - $9,900

Compare Bitcoin With Fiat Currencies, Commodities and Crypto

Bitcoin is intended to be a digital payment system, but has also attracted a huge amount of investment from people seeking price discovery. And this has particularly occurred since the value of BTC increased exponentially in a short period of time. This means that Bitcoin today is often compared to the trading potential of fiat currencies, along with a raft of commodities, while the token will always be compared to other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin very much belongs in this company, but how does it compare to other investments of a similar nature?

Compare Bitcoin With US Dollar

The first thing to note is that many fiat currencies have taken a major hit in the prevailing climate. While the world's global reserve currency, the US dollar, continues to trade relatively favourably, many other currencies have significantly declined in value. 

Nonetheless, the US dollar is controlled by the Federal Reserve, and one of the great advantages of Bitcoin is its decentralised and finite nature, meaning that it cannot be manipulated by excessive money printing, as is the case with fiat currencies. So even though the dollar has traded well compared to other fiats, by comparison, Bitcoin has elevated in value during the pandemic, as investors seek alternative locations for their money.

Compare Bitcoin With Oil and Gold

Two commodities have headed in opposite directions during the coronavirus situation. Gold, so often seen as a safe-haven investment, has been an attractive proposition for investors, and has increased in value, even measured against the dollar. However, the oil market has receded rapidly due to hostile trading conditions, and the absurd scenario of oil having a negative value even occurred briefly.

But BTC has performed favourably even measured against gold, reaching a price point of nearly $10,000, which meant that Bitcoin has virtually doubled in value over the period from March to May. Gold has certainly done well in the same two-month period, but only increased in value by approximately 15%.

Compare Bitcoin With Ethereum

Another cryptocurrency, Ethereum, also performed favourably in the pandemic conditions. Ethereum increased at a very similar rate to Bitcoin, but was still outdone by the market-leading token, with Bitcoin experiencing an increase in value of approximately 70% during the early months of the Covid-19 crisis.

Bitcoin Future Price Predictions

The increasing popularity and public profile of Bitcoin mean that there has been a huge amount of both verbal and financial speculation surrounding it. The future price direction of Bitcoin has certainly been a major focus of this discussion and investment, and thus it is both interesting and valuable to seek predictions on the future performance of the original cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2020

There is no doubt that 2020 will go down as one of the most tumultuous years in human history, and one of the most financially destructive. This was guaranteed by the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, the subsequent pandemic associated with it, and the stringent lockdown measures taken by most countries in response. Unquestionably, this has had a bigger impact on the price of Bitcoin than any other factor, not to mention the entire global financial system.

Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2021 

It would be reasonable to state that the immediate future of the financial system is extremely uncertain. A recession is absolutely inevitable; all that remains to be seen is the extent of it. In this context, it is highly possible that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will continue to perform well, as many equities will almost certainly decrease in value, while the bond market will also be unstable.

Nonetheless, what we can say with some certainty is that the immediate future of trading, whether Bitcoin or otherwise, will continue to be dominated by the economic recovery from the coronavirus scenario.

Beyond 2021 for Bitcoin

Even beyond 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have some impact on trading conditions. Many experts believe that we will be living with this virus for several years, and we can certainly expect it to continue to impact our daily lives for some time to come. It seems reasonable to assume that the impact of this will have significantly receded beyond 2021, but we shouldn't rule it out as a factor completely. This would seem to be favourable for Bitcoin, but on the other hand, more traditional locations for investment may have made something of a comeback by 2022.

Aside from the ensuing crisis, the price discovery of Bitcoin going forward will be dependent on several factors. Firstly, the ability of cryptocurrencies to participate in the retail market and system on a wider basis will be increasingly important. This was originally one of the intentions of the founders of Bitcoin, and although it has been achieved to a certain extent, there is still massive room for expansion.

Cryptocurrencies such as BTC can also offer cheaper and faster payment options, particularly for money transfer and overseas transactions. This will only increase as the price of Bitcoin begins to stabilise, as it reaches its status of maturation in the world financial system. With other cryptocurrencies such as Ripple expected to play a major role in this process as well, it all points to cryptos increasingly being accepted as a payment method; surely bullish for the niche as a whole.

Technology developers will also play a major role in the ongoing success of Bitcoin. While the cryptocurrency is fully developed from a functionality perspective, it still continues to evolve, and this requires a talented community that is fully committed to the concept. 

Yet despite the massive success of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, many believe that the market is only beginning to attract the top talent in technology terms. In order for it to achieve mainstream market acceptance, the token will need to attract both consumers and corporations, which will require the next generation of technological expertise, protocols, encryption, and marketing. If Bitcoin can bring this to the table, its future looks bright.

Other actors and stakeholders in the financial system will also be extremely important in the future of Bitcoin. The digital currency will obviously need to attract investors in order to retain its market value, while the increasing support of financial institutions would lend credibility to the cryptocurrency niche. And although regulators have become more favourable towards Bitcoin in the last couple of years, there is more to be done in this area, if Bitcoin is to become truly accepted.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin play a central role in the new phase of technology-driven markets, and this will continue to disrupt the conventional paradigm in the years to come. This will be particularly true as more individuals in the developing world gain access to the token.

Bitcoin Price Conclusion

In conclusion, the long-term potential of BTC as an investment medium would seem to be promising. The current market conditions have resulted in a massive increase in the price of Bitcoin, and these prevailing conditions are unlikely to change radically in the foreseeable future. And in the longer term, the fundamentals that underpin Bitcoin appear to be quite solid, meaning that it will remain a central part of the mainstream financial architecture for decades to come. The question is no longer whether Bitcoin will survive, but simply how successful and accepted it will become.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The blockchain is important to all cryptocurrencies, and not merely Bitcoin. The Bitcoin system requires a public ledger in order to operate fairly, and this aspect of the cryptocurrency is delivered by the blockchain. For Bitcoin, the blockchain keeps a record of every single transaction ever made in the network. It is essential in order to ensure that Bitcoin is a stable system. It also enables transparency, ensuring that anyone can see the public keys of any transaction on the Bitcoin network.

  2. There is some debate over the definition of money, but advocates of Bitcoin would certainly state that Bitcoin meets these requirements. Bitcoin can be used as a unit of exchange already, both in the real world and online, and its founders certainly intended for Bitcoin to become a widely adopted digital payment system.

  3. There are many answers to this question, but the appropriate answer would really depend on your personal circumstances. Firstly, accepting Bitcoin is faster and cheaper than many other common methods of payment, meaning that the cryptocurrency appeals to merchants. Bitcoin is also a valid tool of investment, and many people have made a lot of money from investing in Bitcoin. And Bitcoin can also enable transactions to be carried out with people who cannot easily gain access to the conventional banking system. These are just some of the advantages and uses of Bitcoin.

  4. Mining is central to the operation of the Bitcoin currency system and requires specialised computers solving algorithmic equations in order to create blocks on the blockchain. When this is done successfully, Bitcoin provides a reward for miners by paying out Bitcoin tokens. This process is described as mining in order to create an allegorical parallel with other commodities such as gold.

  5. There are two central reasons for this. Firstly, the whole concept of Bitcoin is a disruptive one, and disruptive concepts tend to generate controversy and contention. That does not mean that Bitcoin is inherently contentious or controversial, it just means that it tends to provoke this reaction due to the nature of mass media. And this reaction went hand-in-hand with the second reason for the prominence of Bitcoin, which is that the public profile of the cryptocurrency increased massively due to its rapid escalation in value. This was really a game-changer for cryptocurrency in general and has helped the need to become a valid and valued part of the mainstream financial architecture. It has also led to a lot of squawking from the mainstream media, but this should generally be ignored, as it usually fails to convey any meaningful context about Bitcoin, or cryptos in general.

  6. There are a range of different ways to purchase Bitcoin, but by far the most common is to use an online exchange or brokerage service. However, there is no reason that you cannot enter into private transactions as well.

  7. There are elements of anonymity built into the Bitcoin system, as the public addresses associated with the blockchain are basically incomprehensible. However, the continual publication of one's Bitcoin address can be linked to a person's real-life identity. Therefore, it is generally recommended that those Bitcoin users who care about privacy use a different address for every single transaction.

  8. The finite number of Bitcoin tokens that can be mined has been set at 21 million. There are currently over 18 million tokens in circulation.

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