Bitcoin is the first and most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Developed and released in 2009, it is a decentralized digital currency without a central repository or a single administrator. It has had many ups and downs since it was released. In 2014, it was reported to have performed worse than the Russian ruble, which had lost 50% of its value that year; however by late December 2017, it is worth close to $14,500. So, has Bitcoin become something that people might actually use? And if yes, who can use it and what can it be used for?
Bitcoin as a Currency
Up until quite recently, Bitcoin was not really usable as a currency. In order for a currency to be used, people need to have confidence in its value, knowing that its worth will remain stable from one day to the next. With all the ups and downs in the value of Bitcoin, it was not considered stable enough to be used as a currency. However, that has been changing slowly over the past few years and more quickly recently. By 2015, more than 100,000 merchants accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment and this number is climbing. Between 2.9 and 5.8 million people use a cryptocurrency wallet and the majority of these people are using Bitcoin.
Using Bitcoin as a Payment Solution
Bitcoin can be used to transfer cash from an individual to another individual or merchant. Bitcoin is an attractive payment option for merchants due to the low fees it attracts compared to credit card transactions. It is simple for both the merchant and the customer and is growing in popularity as an option for payment. From airline tickets and hotel rooms, to foods and services, there are now many companies that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.
Probably the most popular use of Bitcoin today is for investment. People who invested in Bitcoin in the early years are now multi-millionaires. At the beginning of 2013, the price of a bitcoin was only a few dollars, whereas near the end of 2017, it is well over $14,000! Of course, with such volatility, investing in Bitcoin is not for everyone. It can take nerves of steel to watch your investment drop by hundreds of dollars in a few hours. However, the general trend lately has been up and many people are looking for ways to buy the cryptocurrency as a form as investment.
While Bitcoin looks shiny and exciting at the moment, no-one really knows the direction it is going to take. It’s patchy past shows quite clearly that it is not to be taken for granted; however it’s impressive increases in value and general upward trend in 2017 has made many people start to consider the cryptocurrency as a form of investment, as well as a currency option. And now, with so many merchants accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, it can be used for more things than ever before.