With a bunch of high profile bankruptcies in key companies and technological loopholes found in the underlying system in recent months, bitcoin has seen a massive drop in value. While it was trading at a high of more than US$1200 less than a year ago, the price now hovers around US$500. This has led many to question the long term viability of the currency that has been touted as the future of e-commerce.
However, there is still major scope for investment in the technology and while it may not see the huge leaps in value that wild speculation from Chinese investors had created, it is still poised for growth due to a number of factors.
There is still a lot of buzz around bitcoin which makes it great as a short term investment. High profile bankruptcies and technological problems only keep it in the spotlight longer meaning that it will be heard of by more people which will cause movement in the prices in the short run. While the press buzz will eventually subside, it is surprising how many times it has been written about and analyzed over the last few years which shows genuine interest in the currency. Everyone from Bill Gates (who thinks the low transaction costs make it valuable to developing economies) to Paul Krugman has an opinion on it, which might signal that it is here to stay.
In the medium and long run, the price will stabilize and the market will correct itself but after the technological problems are fixed and stable companies and exchanges are established, there are great returns to be had in the long run as the economy surrounding the currency grows every day. While it may have started as an underground currency in the deep web, it is now accepted by thousands of online and physical retailers with these numbers increasing every day. ATMs, companies dealing in transactions and reliable third party coordinators are also setting up shop and increasing the viability of the currency.
Another great reason to trust bitcoin is that it is not affiliated or controlled by a government of financial institution which means that the price is truly dictated by the free market. This also makes it impossible to ban as no central bank controls it. It is a truly democratic currency working on pure free market principles. In fact, China has recently said that it has no plans to ban the currency as it cannot because of just that reason. Even with news that governments are going to start to regulate it, with New York state being one of the first to take these steps, it is almost impossible to control it due to the segregated system it operates on and the way the data is arranged between all users. Regulation will only make it safer to use and possess with the number of high profile frauds and thefts being reduced substantially.
However, it would be prudent to observe caution as with any investment and do extensive research before putting any money into it.
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