According to CoinMarketCap price index, On December 17, 2017, the BTC price hit an all-time high of 20,089 USD.
The Bitcoin enthusiasts are excited that the Cryptocurrency will become much high in value. Every day more people are trying to understand how the BTC ecosystem works. And not to mention that the name Satoshi Nakamoto has been all over the stories about Bitcoin.
And no doubt that the underlying blockchain tech and potential use cases have been explored by tech giants like IBM and the investment banks like Morgan Stanley have also boosted the price.
The financial experts say it is a bubble that is going to burst like any other bubble in the history. The financial analysts’ main reason to consider BTC as the bubble is that it is not pegged to anything. The value increase is nothing but sole speculation. And the one started as a currency now turning into an asset for storing value.
The BTC price had taken wild swings between 900 USD to 3,000 USD before the Bitcoin Cash fork as there was tremendous uncertainty and anxiety about what would happen. Also, as the people gained from BCH fork, the price surged to 11,000 USD before the Bitcoin Gold fork. It is also fueled by the Japanese legalization of Cryptocurrencies.
Few significant factors influenced the BTC price are:
- Japanese acceptance of Cryptocurrencies
- Anticipation of Free Money from hard forks
- Growing interest among people
- Popularity of Initial Coin Offerings
- Speculation to gain huge profits
Keeping the financial aspects aside, the technological turns Bitcoin had seen are worth remembering.
Bitcoin brought many innovative concepts alive, and the free money is one of them. Bitcoin has scalability issues with the block size, transaction confirmations, and fake transaction flooding the network and increasing transaction fees during peak times.
Whenever somebody brought up a solution (which are not perfect) huge discussions go on. Eventually, in many cases, the consensus won’t be achieved, and a hard fork will happen to create a new currency.
A Cryptocurrency created by forking another blockchain means free money for the existing coin holders. Not to get confused that a Hard fork is also helpful for performing protocol upgrades. One good example is the Byzantium Metropolis hard fork on Ethereum blockchain.
The first hard fork intended on Bitcoin blockchain is Bitcoin Cash, which emphasis on increased blocksize and everything else remained the same. The BCH recently plunged to a record high of 3,400 USD which nobody expected in the initial phases.
Bitcoin Gold, which many people thought would be worth nothing, takes the tenth place in terms of the Market Capitalization. BTG uses a Proof-of-Work algorithm called Equihash which is resistant to ASICs.
Moreover, there has been a website available that is claiming to fork Bitcoin blockchain again to create a new currency called Bitcoin Ruby. People have to wait and see how this ends.
Thanks to SegWit, now the Bitcoin blocksize limit has been put to efficient use. It also paves the way to implement lightning network which allows off-chain transactions that leads to faster processing times.
However, the SegWit2x is off. The consensus was the problem. Many people anticipated that the hard fork would happen anyway and it would lead to the creation of a new currency called B2X. But it never happened.
Bitcoin Core is the client that supports the mining functionality and helps nodes to keep the up to date blockchain data.
Bitcoin Unlimited is a client designed to vote for the block size a node or miner willing to accept. So it replaces Bitcoin core as a whole.
But many feel following the new client might bring various problems like splitting the blockchain again. And it might not work in real scenarios.
Only a minor part of the network uses Bitcoin Unlimited client.
Bitcoin in 2018
Recently, chain.com has announced a new programming language called Ivy, developed in China. It allows writing smart contracts on the Blockchain network by enforcing SegWit compatible addresses.
The next most anticipated upgrade for the Bitcoin is the Lightning Network which will address the Bitcoin scaling problem more efficiently. But there were no dates available yet to perform the update.
The buzz is all about whether the Bitcoin is a bubble or not. Time is the only thing that can answer this intriguing question. And the expert predictions are making the headlines.
John McAfee, a Tech Pioneer, predicts that Bitcoin will hit 1 million USD by the end of 2020, and stated it in a tweet.
Anyhow, Bitcoin is here to stay. Its price may go down. Or spike up. But the value and the ease of access it brings to the people is incredible.