Has Bitcoin finally turned a corner and became the mainstream hit many hoped it would (but thought it wouldn’t) when it first launched in 2009? In reality, the answer is “not quite.” People certainly aren’t ditching their native currency and paying for anything and everything with Bitcoin, but we’ve nevertheless seen some very positive developments in recent months.
As highlighted in an article by Forbes, which cites data from Finance.yahoo.com, Bitcoin outperformed gold in 2016. According to the stats, Bitcoin more than doubled in value over the course of 2016 with a YTD Performance of +107.42. Compared to gold, which saw its value increase by 8.73% in 2016, Bitcoin has performed significantly better which could suggest it’s becoming a smarter investment option than the precious metal.
It’s Good – But is it Golden?
Of course, just because Bitcoin has enjoyed a few peaks over the last few months, it doesn’t mean it’s a better investment option than gold. Given that Bitcoin’s price is liable to change at any moment, many would still suggest that gold is a more stable option. Indeed, with gold being a commodity that’s well established in the mainstream, it stands to reason that it would stand up against market forces a lot better than Bitcoin.
However, that doesn’t mean this will always be the case. On top of a solid year for the price of the cryptocurrency, more and more businesses are starting to accept Bitcoin payments. Unsurprisingly, merchants in the tech world have long been a fan of Bitcoin. In the iGaming industry, Vegas Casino has built a platform around the virtual currency. Unlike other operators that offer to a game in traditional currencies, Vegas Casino handles deposits, withdrawals and betting in Bitcoin.
Whether it’s blackjack or casino slots like Satoshi’s Secret, gamers can play using Bitcoin. Naturally, the benefit for customers is that their bankroll has the added security and anonymity that Bitcoin provides. Similarly, Xbox Live players can also fund their accounts and buy game credits using Bitcoin thanks to Microsoft. After signing into their billing account, users can choose the “redeem Bitcoin” option, and the credit will be available to spend within 15 minutes.
Value Beyond the Obvious
Beyond the online gaming industry, consumers can now use Bitcoin to buy all manner of items in the “physical” world. Drinkers in the Cambridge can pay for pints at a pub called The Haymakers, while holidaymakers can jet off to sunnier climes Thanks to Expedia’s Bitcoin payment option. However, it’s not just the commercial side of things that’s fuelling the rise of Bitcoin. The underlying technology powering the cryptocurrency is also making waves in business.
Blockchain, the database that basically allows Bitcoin to work, is now finding its way into a variety of industries. From banking and clean energy to the music industry, Blockchain’s ability to timestamp and link information so that it can’t be retroactively altered is opening up new possibilities in a host of areas. In fact, many believe this is where Bitcoin will have the greatest impact.
Although we’re likely to see more businesses accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, the bulk of its value may soon be derived from the strength of Blockchain technology. Indeed, if this proves to be the case in the coming years, then Bitcoin’s value should continue to increase and, potentially, rival gold as an investment commodity.
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