Is it the path to take to create a decentralized economy? Or is it just another digital currency that competitors will quickly displace? What’s the future of Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, who published its protocol and reference code under the MIT license as an open-source project. Although often called “digital gold”, Bitcoin today has become more than just money. It is disrupting the world of banking, economics, and financial markets by providing a decentralized global platform that isn’t owned or controlled by any government or bank.
However, Bitcoin’s future looks uncertain as its popularity has led to scaling issues that have prompted heated debate in the community. These are causing significant delays, with transactions being stuck for days or weeks in the mempool with no solution in sight.
Luckily, another cryptocurrency is gaining traction with developers and investors called Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin, it provides more than just a secure store of value. It can run decentralized applications (dapps). This means that various software programs can be built on top of the platform without restrictions. It also allows developers to crowdsource funds for specific projects to receive payments in the native currency called Ether.
On April 1, 2017, Ethereum had a market cap of $8 billion compared to Bitcoin’s $19.5 billion. Their respective prices were $46 and $1,237, whose supply is growing towards an eventual limit of 21 million.
A new cryptocurrency is being created on Ethereum that can solve Bitcoin’s scaling issues and volatility. This currency will have a supply of 100 billion units with no market cap, so its price should be much more stable than current cryptocurrencies. Its name is Lisk, and it raised 14,000 Bitcoins in 2016 during its ICO.
Lisk founder Max Kordek is creating a new cryptocurrency called LSK that will be used to pay for various services on their platform, while BTC will continue to be used as the store of value. He believes this setup will help Lisk grow in popularity while also avoiding scaling issues because its transactions don’t need to be verified by every node on the network.
Is it still profitable to invest in bitcoin?
Yes. As of this writing, the price of bitcoin is $1357 with a market cap of $20 billion, and its popularity among investors is growing.
Bitcoin has been in a bear market since December 2017, when it reached a peak of 19 thousand per coin. This drop in value was caused by the cancellation of Segwit2X, which was supposed to address Bitcoin scaling issues. There are various websites such as an overview of the risk factors of bitcoin investment which help you understand bitcoin.
In June 2017, the price was only $2,600, so those who bought at that time have seen a significant return even as its value has dropped off. If you bought 10 Bitcoins today and the price drops by half, you will still see 20% gains from your initial investment.
However, other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Lisk appear to be gaining more attention as they address Bitcoin’s scaling issues. This can affect the future of Bitcoin as its market cap has dropped from a peak of $40 billion to $20 billion in less than six months.
Of course, this is nothing new for long-term investors; if you had invested 10 Bitcoins in 2011 when it was worth $0.20, then you would have seen a return of 4 thousand times your initial investment by now.
On the other hand, Lisk raised enough funds during its ICO in 2016 to pay salaries for 35 employees and allocate funds for future developments. This will determine if they can keep up with other cryptocurrency projects such as Ethereum.
Since Bitcoin heavily influences most altcoins, it is unlikely to survive if its price drops or stagnates for an extended period. This means that another altcoin could end up being more popular than Bitcoin in the future.
As long as Bitcoin’s core development team remains strong and solves its scaling issues, it will remain the most prominent cryptocurrency. However, Lisk can potentially become a significant contender if its price stabilizes and other altcoins such as Ethereum don’t scale better than it.