If you would have invested in cryptocurrency Bitcoin worth 100 $ in 2010, you would be sitting at a total of Bitcoin price of 80000000 $ right now
- Bitcoin market cap today is $172,565,842,974 USD, more than IBM and Walt Disney
- The cryptocurrency market cap has breached $300 billion
Bitcoin: What is it, where can you use it?
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009 by a mysterious figure using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It can be used to buy or sell items from people and companies that accept bitcoin as payment, but it is not the traditional form of currency, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency, as the name suggests, are currencies generated by computer codes, thus it has no issuing agency (like Reserve Bank of India). Any cryptocurrency is generated by ‘miners’ on a cryptocurrency network like bitcoin that solves complex mathematical problems. The network is peer to peer and transactions take place between users directly through the use of cryptography, without an intermediary.
“The system can act as a payment network that has no down time, it’s operating 24/7, it doesn’t care where and to whom you send money,” says Michael Rauchs, a cryptocurrency and blockchain expert at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
Why is bitcoin’s price surging insanely?
Like any other assets or currencies, bitcoin price is determined by the amount that people are willing to pay for it. The bitcoin price, surged above $10,000 on Wednesday for the first time, breaking a symbolic threshold in what has been a vertiginous ascent this year. The increasing demand pressure from investors and speculators makes the case for an even further increase in bitcoin prices in the near future. Bitcoin is decentralized and limited which makes it rare. This is a major factor for many Bitcoin users. Bitcoin is hard for government to trace and tax. The Bitcoin price surged insanely after demonetisation in India. Also, unlike fiat money produced by central banks, there is a cap set on total Bitcoin, limiting how much the currency can devalue through inflation.
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On 22nd May 2010, Laszlo Hanyec bought a pizza for 10,000 bitcoins. The Bitcoin pizza is worth $105,830,950 today.
Will Bitcoin ever be a safe investment or always a gamble?
Despite RBI warning, 2,500 Indians investing in cryptocurrency Bitcoin daily. The lack of clarity about its origin is another big issue related to bitcoin. Investment in cryptocurrency is always a subject to risk, you should invest only what you are comfortable to lose. While some investors may be attracted by the massive rises this year, others will be wary of the volatility. In mid-January one bitcoin price was valued at $800. By June Bitcoin price had gone to $3,000. At the end of November it touched $10,000. If you are an experienced investor with a balanced portfolio and relatively small exposure, then BTC is an exciting and potentially lucrative investment. But there is potential for significant losses and investors need to carefully consider the method of investing.
“The general sensible view is that the more volatile the investment, the smaller proportion of your wealth you should consider storing in it,” says Marc Warne, founder of bitcoin exchange Bittylicious. I have heard of people moving their life investments into bitcoin and this is a bad idea.
Bitcoin’s current value and price is based on the belief that it will continue to grow as the main cryptocurrency in the world, but it only accounts for just over half of the crypto market capitalization, new currencies are being developed, launched and spent everyday. The competitor coin Ethereum, for example, launched in September 2015 and is now worth $440 per coin.
If you can stomach volatile kind of risk, you can handle trading in this market. After all Bitcoin Pizza is worth $105,830,950 today.
– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik