This year has been a pretty solid year for the digital currency Bitcoin. In fact it has performed better than other long-term investments such as precious metals and also many sovereign currencies over the course of 2015. Another promising sign is that the virtual money is being rigorously researched by everyone including some of the top legacy finance institutions and economists worldwide.
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Bitcoin has recently celebrated its 7th birthday with a whole lot more interest in this young currency’s life. Traditional finance giants in the past scoffed at the technology behind the crypto money all the way until 2014. In fact, 2014 was deemed by the media’s headlines as the “Worst Currency of the Year” right alongside the Ruble. However, in 2015, the story has changed and nearly every single major bank worldwide has its hands in the crypto-cookie jar.
Just recently in September, nine gigantic banks joined in the distributed ledger madness including Barclays, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, and more. The headlines of the past should revisit the harsh words towards the currency as it turns out that Bitcoin is looking like the strongest currency of 2015 according to this analysis. The report reveals the digital currency is leading at an increase of 21% during this December month. In the top five positions behind Bitcoin is the Shekel, the Dollar, the Franc, and the Yen; the author SG Kinsman also underscores the worst performing currency as well:
“Note that the money used in the world’s freest financial system — Bitcoin — has appreciated the most, and the money used in the world’s most Socialist and regulated economy — Venezuela — has lost the most value.”
Bitcoin’s momentum has been showing signs of strength as its volume and price has been trending upwards. Over the course of the last quarter of 2015, the digital currency has doubled in price throughout every major exchange. Economic turmoil in China has pointed to various signs of the Chinese Yuan flowing into the digital currency. Capital controls and various central banking crackdowns have led many to believe China’s economy is in a downturn, which is not a good sign for the rest of the world.
Transactions in the network have reached a record high and trading volumes on major exchanges have climbed an upwards of 300% and higher. Merchants across the globe are still reporting frequent Bitcoin exchange for their services, fuelled by the upswing in price. Wallet use has grown to another 5.5 million added to the network from Blockchain.info and Coinbase wallet systems alone. E-commerce had gained new heights within the Bitcoin space with very large merchants now aboard coming from Microsoft, Expedia, Time Inc., and more enabling users to spend in more places. According to CoinATMradar, Bitcoin ATM growth has reached over 500 machines worldwide with more being installed every month.
With all this great news enthusiasts and investors have had some renewed positivity in the currency since its 2014 run. No longer was the price dipping like it had last year while the typical smear and fear coverage of cryptocurrency by the mainstream media has taken a back seat to Wall Street and big banks embracing “the blockchain.”
In 2015, it seems the positive energy has captured the eyes of investors worldwide as the crypto industry’s venture capital investment throughout the year has grown incredibly. Close to $500 million USD this year alone has been injected into the industry and some reports claim this number to be closer to a billion. Barry Silbert of the startup the Digital Currency Group (DGC) and former owner of SecondMarket believes Bitcoin will gain quite a bit of value in the next few months. He feels the currency is widely undervalued as compared to traditional assets like gold.
Due to the current situation in the economy, Silbert believes that the cryptocurrency is a far more effective tool for hedging. “Bitcoin, on the other hand, actually becomes more useful,” he says. “It becomes more useful as a rail and as a ledger.” Silbert and DGC also see renewed interest in the digital money from various sectors in the financial world. That’s because startups and investors are being approached by vast quantities of legacy finance institutions and banks to learn about the currency as well. Investors everywhere want a piece of the promising blockchain pie that has been practically a “gold rush” in 2015.
Enthusiasts and investors of the virtual money and the technology behind it feel this is the moment they’ve all been waiting for. With the increase in price, venture capital injections, positivity in the media some would say we may be “moon-bound.” What that means for the future is really hard to say. Certain ideas have come through via the Scaling Workshop Hong Kong that may have settled some tension with the block size debate.
Positive energy appears to have settled in the past few months of 2015 in the run-up to the New Year. Bitcoin is alive and well, if not flourishing, with every new step. We still don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto is and it seems we get a new suspect every year. Though the currency and network Nakamoto left us is growing stronger as each day passes regardless if his identity is known or unknown.
Below is a broadcast filmed last week of Barry Silbert featured on FOX Business News, explaining how Bitcoin will change the definition of banking and his predictions for 2016.
What do you think about the last quarter of 2015? Let us know in the comments below.