Cryptocurrencies are just about everywhere these days. If it is not Bitcoin making all the headlines as the value goes through the roof, it is a sign in your local grocery shop letting you know that they accept digital currency as a payment method. You can also use them on a wide range of websites, including some of those profiled at onlinesportsbetting.net.
None of this will be particularly new to you, of course. There is not a day that goes by without another development in the crypto world. But just how did these revolutionary currencies become so popular? Read on to find out how crypto is taking over the world – and what the future holds.
In the Beginning
When most people hear the word ‘cryptocurrency’ they think of bitcoin. We know there are plenty of alternatives to bitcoin but there is a reason why it is the most well known by users and non-users alike. It all started in January 2009 when a mysterious user called Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the genesis code – the first lines committed to the bitcoin blockchain.
The first real transaction took place a year and a half later – when two pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin (or around $30). From there, millions more transactions were made, including those on the notorious Silk Road. But only about four years after those first lines of code, multinational companies were starting to accept crypto.
As soon as big business got in on the cryptocurrency act you knew that it was going to go mainstream. Thousands more places started accepting bitcoin as a payment method, alongside more traditional options such as debit cards and the old faithful – cash.
This acceptance by the mainstream encouraged more communities to get involved and Ethereum was launched in 2014. Now the second biggest digital currency, Ethereum used the blockchain as a technology allowing writers to make money from their work.
In September 2021 El Salvador became the first country in the world to allow its citizens to use bitcoin in transactions, alongside the US dollar. Although there have been protests against the move, it is a further sign that cryptocurrencies are moving into the mainstream finance models around the world.
To gain popularity the El Salvador government introduced a digital wallet app for every citizen containing $30 in bitcoin for every citizen. Hundreds of ATMs were installed as well. Whether the move ends up a success or not it shows that some countries see digital as the future.
One of the main reasons why there were protests in El Salvador when bitcoin was accepted as legal tender was the danger of a volatile market. The value can fluctuate wildly compared to fiat currencies and that could be disastrous for developing countries.
For example, in 2017 bitcoin’s value soared by around 1,000%. Crypto novices were tempted to invest and make some easy money. But by 2018, bitcoin fell by 80% from its high the year before. Experienced traders knew how to minimize losses but people with less expert knowledge could lose thousands.
One thing is perfectly clear – cryptocurrencies are going nowhere. There will be more scare stories about investors losing their money but there will be more booms and busts along the way. One thing that could change the digital outlook is the introduction of regulation in the crypto marketplace.
Although this would go against many of the founding ideals, it is this kind of institutional involvement that could provide some much-needed stability. That would also bring more trust in the major currencies and bring crypto even further into the mainstream.
With little history to use as an example, it is actually difficult to convincingly predict the future for crypto. But it is definitely here to stay.
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