Cryptocurrency has finally barreled its way onto the global stage. It’s taken nearly 10 long years of doubt, criticism and blissful ignorance but it’s beginning to gather the unstoppable momentum of a runaway freight train.
With BitCoin’s explosion in the last two weeks, headlines are hitting mainstream media outlets with more force than a monsoon-season downpour. Human interest pieces such as “Bitcoin: I’m part of a crazy wave” and “I bought $250 in Bitcoin. Here’s what I learned” featured on the homepages of the BBC and CNN are wetting the lips of the masses with a small taste of cryptocurrency.
It’s the talk of the town, but how long will it stay in the spotlight? Many question whether cryptocurrencies are a new global commodity or a brief technological boom. Let’s break it down and see if cryptocurrency is here to stay (or nay).
With punters lining up round the block to cash in on Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are flying off the shelves faster than Black Friday discounts. Investment is pouring in from every direction imaginable, and it appears that investing into crypto is no longer for the likes of dark-web crypto-geeks.
If you can’t get your head around blockchain technology, the concept of doubling your money in a month would be ringing some bells. With plenty of ROIs for coins far above 1000%, the masses are starting to notice the lucrative opportunities that only cryptocurrencies can offer.
With up to 125,000 new users registering on Coinbase every day, we’re talking about a growing adoption of cryptocurrency; even old John from next door could be cultivating a healthy crypto-stash.
And there are no signs of slowing, either. With Coinbase announcing plans to increase their number of customer service staff by 16-fold, it seems the world has an increasingly insatiable appetite for crypto.
Now even momma and poppa have every reason under the sun to pour their assets into an ICO. The potential for return is both unbeatable and undeniable, with a 2017 report detailing a mind-bending return of 1,320% on average.
2017 has seen unimaginable success for a number of ICOs, with several raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in just days or weeks:
- Filecoin: $257 million
- Tezos: $232 million
- EOS: $180 million
But will the ICO boom continue?
These are no “get rich quick” fads. ICOs are a faster, easier fundraising method that startups can no longer ignore. With lower marketing costs, the benefits of online networking and the ability to raise funds anywhere, the ICO is a winning formula and is likely here to stay.
As ICOs rapidly become the choice for any new company looking to raise funds, the growth of cryptocurrencies is inevitable as they become cemented into the fabric of the global economy.
Yet Doubts Remain
While cryptocurrency adoption is taking the world by storm, not everyone sees the boom as all beer and skittles. From politicians to heavy-hitting authority figures to stand-up comedians, everyone seems to have something to say about the new crypto-craze.
Plenty have cashed in on the ICO boom yet there are still fierce opponents; some even compare them to the pyramid schemes of the 1990s that saw hundreds of millions of dollars go up in smoke.
Many governments are approaching ICOs with caution, with China’s ban on token sales one of the more drastic measures taken to date. While the intention is to protect investors and consumers, the barriers to innovation will likely start to rise and change the nature of the game.
Common crypto-critiques include JP Morgan’s CEO’s statement that “you can’t have a business invent a currency out of thin air” to the recently popularised (and furiously Googled) “tulip-mania” Bitcoin bubble theory.
Like any new technology, cryptocurrency has an established (and growing) body of critics. Wind the clock back twenty years, and you’d be reading articles like “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana“. This may seem laughable now but, at that time, every criticism was an attack on the existence of the internet and its potential to thrive. When a technology is in its infancy, arguments can snowball into a destructive force that may be its downfall.
Yet, most of these dogs are all bark and no bite. Some of these criticisms are the empty opinions of impartial players that have their finger in the pie; many finance firms and investors feel under the pump as billions of dollars shift out of their hands into cryptocurrency.
While governments and regulatory bodies are a more pressing threat to the adoption of cryptocurrency, it seems the tides are shifting as governments recognize their vast potential.
Cryptocurrency still remains a legal gray area in many countries, yet several governments are taking new initiatives to join the party. The central banks of China, Sweden and Japan are amongst the first to begin experimenting with government-backed coins, and they are not the only nations to express interest.
Despite voicing plans to regulate cryptocurrencies, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has just acknowledged the value of ICOs and their potential to grow.
With the launch of Bitcoin Futures and the sanctioned expansion of several crypto exchanges, the United States is giving cryptocurrency a green light. If Uncle Sam wants to cash in on crypto, this is a giant step forward for government-led initiatives worldwide.
Not every new coin on the block is legitimate, and there is no denying that cryptocurrency is in its early days. Large-scale hacks pop up on newsfeeds as often as controversial tweets by Trump, and critics seem to explain every price movement as the end of cryptocurrency.
But what new technology happily saunters its way into acceptance? It took decades for the internet to be adopted, and we are still on a continuous journey of realizing its seemingly limitless potential.
Cryptocurrency is no different. The take-off may be a little bumpy, but belt up because the value of this technology is only beginning to soar.