When the first ever block in the Bitcoin blockchain was created in January 2009, it quoted the London Times: “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” a snapshot of the old guard’s futile solution to the financial crisis at that time. Was bitcoin the real solution?
What Satoshi Nakamoto had launched was a revolutionary idea, a technological uprising against the failing global monetary system. Almost 7 years on and that revolution has gone much further than a lot of people had anticipated.
Of course like all revolutions the cryptocurrency has had to fight many battles. Governments tried to regulate it in to oblivion. Its association with the mysterious online drug marketplace Silk Road allowed the media to scare joe public away from what they didn’t understand. And those who did take the plunge were faced with volatile prices and mass scammers who funnelled their BTC out of exchanges like a pyramid scheme exit plan.
And yet despite all of these insurmountable road blocks, bitcoin has survived. In fact it’s thriving. As revealed in a new infographic by BargainFox, it continues to grow by all conceivable metrics.
Its dollar value has been steadily increasing since January 2015, and since October 1st it has gone from $239 to over $360. This is projected to continue in to the new year.
Trading volume at the leading exchanges has grown by millions and overall growth has doubled, tripled and in the case of Singapore based OK Coin, jumped by a staggering 847% since October 2014!
As merchants continue to recognise bitcoin’s benefits and the public demand it as a payment option, its availability has gone from around 65,000 merchants to over 100,000 in a year. Steven Leeds, CMO of online electronics store TigerDirect says that “Bitcoin affords our customers an easy checkout process, while protecting us against fraud and chargebacks. We could not be happier with the results.” Neither can Microsoft, Expedia or Time Inc. Its adoption is now across the board, from giant corporations to niche online stores, to the local coffee shop.
In August 2015 Bitpay, a payment processor that allows stores to easily begin accepting BTC, reached its record high of 70,000 transactions. The market as a whole is now moving on average $289 million worth of BTC every single day, more than Western Union ($216m) and not far behind PayPal ($397m).
As an individual international transfer fees are negligible compared to PayPal’s 2.7% to 2.9%, or Western Union’s $5 to $20. And merchants get service fees as low as 1% with Bitpay, much cheaper than when they accept credit cards, the cost of which they often pass on to the customer anyway.
Using bitcoin simply makes sense.
Yet unless you’re a clever trader one of the main reasons some people refuse to get involved is its volatility. When you’re not paying attention sometimes the price just seems to shoot up and sometimes it seems to drop down. While there are obviously external factors, the main reason for this is its market size. Smaller markets are more vulnerable to large transactions. The fact that the market is growing means it will eventually be able to contain this. Some exchanges like Coinbase and payment processors now have the ability to instantly exchange your BTC to a local currency allowing you to avoid volatility when receiving it.
From 2011 to 2015 there has been a steady reduction of volatility. While this isn’t good for those looking to make a quick buck, it is good for those that want to use bitcoin as a day to day currency without the pressures of central banks, governments and wallstreet gamblers. Which is the end result of what Satoshi Nakamoto intended for his revolution.
For more on the current bitcoin landscape, check out the following infographic with 33 indicators suggesting the cryptocurrency will continue to rise.