Forget cash and credit cards—there might be more power in digital cryptocurrency than we originally thought. Cryptocurrency giant Bitcoin broke its record when one Bitcoin was valued at $3,169.90 for a few hours recently, a 9% increase that beats its previous record of $3,000 set in June. The currency was down slightly the following day, but it was still above the previous mark. With its record levels, Bitcoin’s total market value now sits at more than $52 million, the first time it has been above $50 billion, with a 220% return on investments made on January 1, 2017. It’s huge progress for a payment model many people scoffed at when it was created.
Highly Volatile, but Growing
Since its founding, Bitcoin has faced criticism and been volatile in its growth and worth. However, the latest development seems to be pointing the currency in the right direction for the future and showcases sustained growth. Bitcoin has more than tripled its value in the last year, first hitting $2,000 in May and $3,000 in June. Bitcoin has long been the leading cryptocurrency and has had the longest time to establish itself and mature. The stronger foundation has helped the currency survive numerous crises and see continued growth over the last few years.
Another major development came recently when major players agreed on a compromise on how to expand the Bitcoin network’s transaction capacity. This is particularly notable because Bitcoin operates using a leaderless governance model without traditional organizational structure.
“There is increasing legal recognition, increasing media attention, a growing usability and acceptance, while the original, political reasons leading to Bitcoin’s popularity are strong as ever,” said cryptocurrency expert Kumar Gaurav, pointing out some of the reasons for the new record levels.
The new record comes just a week after Bitcoin launched a new version of its currency, known as Bitcoin Cash. The new version is due to a spin-off of Bitcoin leaders who disagreed with the transaction capacity expansion plan and put their own idea into action, a coup considered by some to be a “civil war” within the organization.
After its launch, prices fell more than 5% due largely to confusion, but prices have since jumped more than 10%. All Bitcoin holders received matching amounts of Bitcoin Cash, but market and price changes indicate that many investors are already cashing out their pilot Bitcoin Cash and putting it back into traditional Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. After things settle down after the split of the currency, experts predict the price is quickly on its way to $3,700.
Many experts agree that the new record is just the beginning for Bitcoin. It has seen remarkable growth with only a small amount of the population actually using it. As it expands into the mainstream and is accepted by more traditional, established institutions, it will likely see exponential growth. In fact, some experts predict Bitcoins will be worth more than $10,000 within the next three years. Though there will likely be growing pains to get to that point, the currency’s unique model has proven it can withstand challenges.
“I remain bullish as alternatives to Bitcoin keep adding value to Bitcoin and proving there is only one store of value in the crypto market. At the end of the day, people speculate and invest in alternatives, but there is only Bitcoin that they run to as a store of value to lock in any profits or losses they make from alternatives,” says cryptocurrency expert Simon Dixon, who believes that soon governments and central banks could move to Bitcoin.
The latest record will likely soon be shattered, but it shows the power and potential for Bitcoin to lead to the way for the adoption of cryptocurrencies at institutions around the world.