Why are cryptocurrencies making so many waves? First of all, it’s anonymous and decentralized, neither controlled nor regulated by a single authority in the way that conventional currency is. To create counterfeit currency is virtually impossible, unlike conventional currency.
Although the concept of cryptocurrency was first widely released in 2008 and Bitcoin was introduced to the public in 2009, followed by countless startups, it would take nearly a decade for cryptocurrencies to be the most-talked about subject in the financial world.
While so many cryptocurrencies have gone on to fail with many of us never even learning their names, Bitcoin and Litecoin’s recent rise has gotten people talking. And because of it, other cryptocurrencies such as Ripple and Litecoin are suddenly soaring.
At its record high, Bitcoin price reached above $19,700. However, when this was reported on December 17, 2017, 96% of economists that were surveyed by the Wall Street Journal the week before believed that Bitcoin’s price surge was driven because of the speculation that there would be an advancement in the blockchain’s technology which allowed secure value transfer over the internet.
Still, people like Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at Ayondo, tells Express.co.uk, “We are in an age where technology is changing the dynamic of the business world. Older, traditional organisations are seeing their long-held dominance challenged by ‘disrupter’ companies. For me, it’s no surprise that another disrupter, this time in the form of an asset or currency, is picking up speed.”
However, just 5 days on the 22nd of December, Fortune would report that digital markets were in turmoil with the price of bitcoin dropping dramatically to below $12,000. But by mid-morning bitcoin prices began to tick upwards again. And as of writing, bitcoin price is at $13,602.73.
What is the future of cryptocurrencies? Between its meteoric rise and extreme plunges, it’s hard to tell where it’s all headed. Because market demand determines their flow, how can it be a reliable form of currency when you take into consideration just how fickle the market is?
By January 2018, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, Ripple, has picked up speed and quickly gaining on Bitcoin thanks to their promise to proactively work with financial institutions, banks, and payment providers.
Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Fox News: “We are going to keep working with the system because I think the early days of bitcoin are all about down with government and down with banks.
Government isn’t going away. Banks aren’t going away. Let’s work with the system to dramatically improve the way and reduce the friction for how money moves globally.”
And perhaps this is where we will see the most apparent divide amongst those who invest in cryptocurrency. Will the cryptocurrency that refuses to be controlled continue to rise because it promises freedom the big banks and government? Or will cryptocurrencies that bow down and integrate themselves into conventional systems be the cryptocurrency of choice for the masses who seek safety and security in innovative yet decidedly traditional practices?