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Since its inception, Bitcoin has shocked the world with amazing gains — and steep declines. With its latest move, this crypto giant has surprised investors once again.
As the world’s 1st and largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC) represents the face of the crypto industry, and it has amassed the most institutional investments out of any cryptocurrency by far. With its influence over the entire market, Bitcoin’s price movements can dictate the direction of the entire altcoin market.
Despite Ethereum (ETH) and competing smart contract platforms stirring a renewed interest in the altcoin market, investors remain laser focused on Bitcoin’s next move. But what is Bitcoin, exactly? And what makes this cryptocurrency so valuable?
With Bitcoin being accepted as payment by a growing number of merchants, traders across the world are asking one increasingly important question: How high can Bitcoin go?
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is simply a distributed ledger technology that acts as a store of value. Created anonymously by an engineer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the technology behind Bitcoin was first described in 2008.
Allowing for the permissionless sending and receiving of its associated coin, Bitcoin establishes the basis for decentralized financial (DeFi) transactions. With a proof-of-work system for mining and a cap at 21 million coins, the Bitcoin whitepaper describes a mechanism to incentivize participation in the network.
While Bitcoin was 1st intended to be a peer to peer payment system, most investors use the cryptocurrency as a store of value. While Bitcoin is still a great option for global remittances and for sending large payments, its relatively high transaction fees don't make it ideal for every day payments.
Proof of Work vs. Proof of Stake Consensus
Depending on who you ask, Bitcoin's proof of work consensus may be the cryptocurrency's largest downfall. Essentially, proof of work uses huge amounts of electricity and expensive hardware to secure its network. Conversely, proof of stake uses financial stake to verify transactions, reducing energy consumption by over 99%.
Not only this, but some analysts go as far as to call proof of work antiquated technology. Proof of work can only handle a few transactions per second, making it hard to scale PoW blockchains. This is opposed to PoS consensus, which can often handle upwards of 1,000 transactions per second. Ethereum, the 2nd largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is in the process of migrating its blockchain from PoW to PoS consensus.
Bitcoin Market Position
Bitcoin is currently trading near $30,000. With a market cap over $600 billion, Bitcoin alone represents more than 40% of the crypto market. While down considerably from its highs in October 2021, Bitcoin has made solid gains in 2021. Nevertheless, a recent market drop saw Bitcoin’s price fall 12% overnight, leaving traders questioning if the cryptocurrency is truly the store of value its proponents claim.
When considering how new blockchain technology still is and how dominant Bitcoin’s position in the market, there should be no doubt that the original cryptocurrency still has room to grow. However, as smart contract platforms like Ethereum continue to develop, Bitcoin runs the risk of being seen as an outdated relic.
Expectations for future growth may depend largely on an influx of new participation. And Bitcoin is well positioned to attract the lion's share of cryptocurrency investments. Still, to better understand Bitcoin’s potential, the prognostications of top analysts can help shed light into this crypto’s future direction.
Plan B’s Bull Case for Bitcoin
With over 25 years of experience in financial markets, strategic analyst Plan B has made a bullish forecast for Bitcoin. Using a stock-to-flow cross asset (S2FX) forecasting model, Plan B sees Bitcoin experiencing parabolic growth in the near term.
Mr. Whale’s Bear Case for Bitcoin
Popular Twitter influencer and Bitcoin prognosticator, Mr. Whale has presented an extremely bearish outlook for Bitcoin. Believing that bitcoin has already peaked, Whale predicts a bleak near-term future for the world’s largest cryptocurrency. He sees Bitcoin dropping to $7,000 as early as 2022.
Where to Buy Bitcoin
If you’re wondering where to buy Bitcoin, the answer is simple. The best way to purchase Bitcoin is on a trading platform that supports it. But depending on your location, the exchanges available may be limited.
Some of the most trusted trading platforms for U.S consumers include Coinbase, Gemini, Voyager and Crypto.com. Each of these exchanges employ state-of-the-art security, ensuring the safety of your assets.
How Long Will it Take for Bitcoin to Reach $100,000?
Despite a recent downturn, analysts continue to make the case for Bitcoin’s eventual rise to $100,000 and beyond. And if institutional interest continues at its current pace, some say it could happen as early as this year. However, being already into December, this is an unlikely scenario. If Bitcoin were to hit $100,000 any time soon, it'll likely be in early 2023.
More than tripling from its current price, the move to $100,000 would push Bitcoin’s market cap to an almost unbelievable $1.88 trillion. And while betting against Bitcoin is an inherently risky strategy, it may be reasonable to temper our expectations for gains going forward.
Where to Store Bitcoin Safely
Whether you’re looking for connectivity or security, the diversity of wallets found online have expanded with the cryptocurrency market. With hardware and software varieties to choose from, the following wallets represent the most reputable options for crypto consumers.
Best Hardware Wallet: Ledger
The ultimate option for securing your digital assets, Ledger represents the most trusted name in hardware wallets. Built with state-of-art-security in mind, your private keys are stored on the physical device itself, giving you complete ownership of your cryptocurrencies.
Best Software Wallet: ZenGo
ZenGo has gotten rid of private keys altogether. Using facial biometrics to secure your crypto, ZenGo’s software wallet has everything you need — with no extra fees!
Something to Consider
Bitcoin’s market dominance has been decreasing throughout 2021. This is typical during a bull market, as investors seek higher gains through altcoins. This being said, Bitcoin holds up better than almost every altcoin during bear markets, so if you’re looking to mitigate your risk in the crypto sphere, Bitcoin may be a good option for you.
Current Crypto Prices
The market took a step back recently, sending Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies tumbling over double digit percentage points in a single day. While prices seem to be stabilizing, the impacts of the latest market shock will likely continue to play out in the near term.
Bitcoin dominance currently stands at around 40%, trending lower as smart contract platforms continue to take market share from the world’s largest cryptocurrency. As DeFi applications develop on alternative platforms, Bitcoin’s future as the king of crypto becomes unclear.
So, is Bitcoin a Good Investment?
As the undisputed champion of the crypto universe, Bitcoin represents the ultimate store of value for its investors. And with its recent adoption as legal tender by El Salvador, Bitcoin has proven itself a competitor to traditional fiat systems.
Still, the volatility of the cryptocurrency market carries inherent risk for traders. And while many analysts expect the currency to reach new heights, Bitcoin’s future is still far from certain. The decision to hold Bitcoin as a part of your portfolio will depend on your own comfortability with the risks involved.
For many, Bitcoin represents a trusted vehicle for wealth accumulation. As such, stacking the coin during market dips remains a reasonable investment strategy, especially over the long-term.
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