By: Nick Vasiliou
In 2009 the world was introduced to what we know today as Cryptocurrency, launched by an individual or group known under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto, this digital currency was known as Bitcoin (BTC). As of January 14th, 2018, there are over 16.8 million Bitcoins in circulation with a total market cap of $186 billion which has well surpassed Goldman Sachs $97 billion total; Goldman says that bitcoin could succeed as a form of money. Bitcoin jumped more than 1,300 percent, Ethereum rallied 8,600 percent, and the overall Cryptocurrency market rose to nearly $650 billion by the end of the year, an astronomical 3,720 percent.
How does it work? Bitcoin is a digital payment system, that works by users “mining” bitcoins by solving math puzzles and encryption protocols, and then using the bitcoins as computerized currency. Users can transact directly without an intermediary. Transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain.
2017 really has been the year where the hype for crypto, including financial hype and social hype in general has far exceeded the reality of what existing blockchain systems can offer. Bitcoin’s success has spawned several competing Cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), NEO (NEO), and the list goes on. Cryptocurrency has run through the internet like a raging bull. With Kodak being the latest firm to enter the blockchain and Cryptocurrency space, the so-called KodakOne platform as KodakCoin. Its stocks jumped 125 percent the day after the news broke.
Cryptocurrencies do not react to news or economic outlook like the stock market usually does, so they often act randomly. One characteristic that makes Cryptocurrency difficult to gauge is that it is highly volatile. Every day we hear about digital coins losing or gaining in value in thousands of percentage points, sometimes in a matter of mere seconds. Heading into 2018, we are seeing this market move towards maturation based on various developments that have occurred worldwide.
As of January 16th, 2018, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is seeking to invest in early stage blockchain startups with the potential to help children across the globe. In an announcement, the U.N. program said it’s offering equity-free investments of $50,000 to $90,000 for seed-stage startups developing solutions on open blockchains in areas including data analysis, smart contracts, tokens, and mining. The release added: “We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable.”
What’s next, exciting, and currently being done in the market today and near future? Investors purchasing power plants for converted data centers, expanding the maximum cap of bitcoins when all are mined. The Federal Assembly of Russia is currently drafting legislation for legalization of public trading in digital currency. China’s Alibaba quietly launches crypto mining platform despite government and central bank concerns. Dubai plans to launch 20 blockchain-based services in 2018. Venezuela has created a huge buzz surrounding its oil-backed coin. NBA Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, has tweeted that next season the organization will accept both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as a form of payment for ticket sales. 42-Coin (42) has been listed under the BTC, LTC, ETH and DOGE markets. 42-Coin is the super expensive crypto to bitcoin, weighing in after it saw 84 percent increase to over $81,000 per.
“This is reminiscent of the dot-com bubble, where companies playing this type of name game went from 13 in 1998 to 126 in 1999. I envision 2018 in cryptocurrency being very similar to the dot-com era in 1999,” said Kyle Forkey, Founder of blockchain startups Moria and Ethmint.