Well, 2016, it’s been a wild ride. Throughout the year, we covered bitcoin’s ups, downs, and everything in between. In our final recap for 2016, we’ll kick things off with coverage on the major price spike, and share speculation from experts on what 2017 has in store. Catch these stories and plenty more as we cover some of the biggest headlines closing out the year.
A $1K price by 2016 year-end?
The $1,000+ all-time highs of 2013 seemed like a distant memory when bitcoin began 2016 hovering around the $430 USD mark. But those of us that remember that late 2013 surge recall how despite all the odds, bitcoin ended the year on a victorious note. 2016 brought its own collection of good and not-so-good influencers, yet it’s closing out the year as the best commodity of 2016. Bitcoin analyst Vinny Lingham was spot on in his price prediction: once it reached $800, it was a quick climb to $900, until hitting $911 and “surpassing $930 in large markets like China, which control 94.5% of all Bitcoin trading.” Both Lingham, and bitcoin advocate and owner of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, have expressed well-founded optimism for 2017.
The big question looming is whether bitcoin will pass the $1,000 USD mark in the remaining hours of 2016, as the Q4 price has primarily made the climb with lower volatility. On a longer-term outlook, certain indicators also suggest that bitcoin hasn’t left the stage yet as a potentially widespread consumer payment method. Despite the high notes, a trend of regret is common among users who sold their coins before the surge, or passed up buying opportunities due to “a mix of procrastination, fear and a lack of belief in [b]itcoin at the time.” Speculators suggest it’s possible the price surge will continue into 2017, and that’s why CoinTelegraph contributor Frisco d’Anconia insists it isn’t too late, and that users should “buy and save whatever [they] can afford today.”
The utility of bitcoin
When it comes to geo-economic trends that impact bitcoin’s value, currency devaluation and altogether demonetization is significant. Countries like Venezuela, India, and China, are demonstrating increased bitcoin activity not only on exchanges, but also as a way to purchase daily essentials that may be extremely difficult to purchase with near-useless or heavily controlled government-issued currencies. In some cases, companies like Destinia are responding by accepting bitcoin-only, while startups such as Unocoin are crafting ways to make bitcoin increasingly accessible and useful locally.
Exchanges aren’t the only way to buy bitcoin. According to Coin ATM Radar, there are over 900 bitcoin ATMs currently operating worldwide. Bitcoin ATM network Coinsource is currently the largest network in operation in the U.S., with ATMs in eight states, and the most recent additions being in Tennessee. Coinsource Co-Founder and CEO, Sheffield Clark, doesn’t see bitcoin as a replacement for the banking system, but sees it and his company’s ATM network as a “convenient alternative.” Bitcoin ATMs offer a unique appeal because of their nearly immediate exchange time.
Visions for 2017 and beyond
A thought-provoking line of documentaries, including The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, and The Bitcoin Gospel have explored different aspects of bitcoin’s past, present, and future. A new up-and-coming documentary, Banking on Bitcoin, illustrates contrasting visions for the cryptocurrency and its revolutionary potential. Pre-orders are available through iTunes, and the film’s release date is January 6, 2017. Industry pioneers featured in the film include Erik Voorhees, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Barry Silbert, and our very own Nicolas Cary.
On the topic of bitcoin’s future, the decision to implement SegWit has sparked quite the assortment of polarizing perspectives, especially since signalling, which sits at 26% at the time of writing, began in November. A significant number of startups, including Blockchain, have expressed support for SegWit. Serial entrepreneur and Bitcoin investor, Trace Mayer, explains the potential value in the protocol upgrade: SegWit could address big issues like scalability, fungibility, and make bitcoin’s earliest goals like that of financial privacy possible. Mayer describes SegWit as “very easy to understand and extremely concise, [which] makes it a very clean soft fork upgrade.”
We’ll see you next in our first recap of 2017! Enjoyed this recap? Leave a comment below and let us know. For more news like this, be sure to check out our archives!