Bitcoin’s rise may portend future of digital currency

With 2017 crashing and burning with weekly scares about nuclear war, the president’s Twitter, and brick and mortar retail stores closing (and thus laying off thousands), there are few positive aspects of this year on which we can focus. One of them, in my humble opinion, is the seemingly ever-rising market cap of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. It’s used by people of all walks of life and on every continent. It allows people to send and receive money through the Internet, without going through banks.  Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is the complete pseudonymity of it all:  people can be whoever they want to be, and regardless of who they are or what they do, no one can prevent them from using Bitcoin.

It can be bought with other currencies, such as the euro and the U.S. dollar, via a credit card or ATM. Once purchased, your Bitcoin is stored in a Bitcoin Wallet, which can be downloaded on your phone.  Using the wallet, you can send and receive Bitcoin. Transactions are monitored by Bitcoin miners, who can receive Bitcoins for their services.

Many of these features, specifically the financial freedom of it, make Bitcoin an appealing alternative to the fiat money printed and distributed by the government.

Bitcoin, unlike the dollar, is capped at 21 million, meaning that no more than 21 million Bitcoins will exist at once.  The dollar, with which most Americans are very familiar, has no such rule. The U.S. government prints more money whenever it so chooses, making it basically impossible to know how much money is circulating at a given time.

This also results in inflation; notes are not being retired as more fiat money is printed, and this decreases the spending power of each individual dollar.

However, with Bitcoin, this will not become a problem. Bitcoin’s algorithm makes it impossible for more than 21 million Bitcoins to exist. Also, more people are joining Bitcoin than ever, making the value of each individual Bitcoin increase.

In 2017 alone, the price of a Bitcoin rose by more than $15,000 USD, and its market cap reached 281 billion. Its market cap is now higher than that of several big name companies, including General Motors, Disney and McDonalds.  It’s also larger than 135 countries, including Denmark.

Money is becoming less and less of a tangible thing, with more purchases now than ever being made online. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a large part of this shift.  For many people, inflation is also a huge problem. Again, this can be solved by capped cryptocurrencies.

For millions of people across the globe, fiat money’s lack of anonymity and tendencies toward inflation are becoming a problem. People are turning toward cryptocurrency, and this is altering the future of money. For millions out there, Bitcoin is the future.

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