What will happen to the Bitcoin price?
The Future of Bitcoin in 2017
In 2016, Bitcoin saw its value rise by around 125% in 2016 to above $1,000 for a brief moment at least for the first time in three years. This makes Bitcoin the best-performing currency world-wide in 2016.
The UK’s Pound Sterling meanwhile has fallen as a result of Brexit concerns. China’s currency, the RMB or renminbi, saw a fall or around 7% during 2016.
Bitcoin has since fallen back from the $1000+ peak with profit taking, and it’s currently fluctuating between around 850-950 USD.
Why Did Bitcoin Appreciate So Much In 2016?
Analysts are attributing the rapid appreciation in the price of Bitcoin in the latter part of 2016 to increased demand from Chinese investors and traders.
I just checked the stats at bitcoinity.org and to my amazement discovered that the three biggest Bitcoin trading exchanges – btcchina, okcoin, and huobi between them now account for around 98% of all Bitcoin trading by volume.
The smaller exchanges such as coinbase, bitstamp and btce barely figure in the stats, accounting for the remaining 2% or less of trading volume between them.
This is a big change compared to the situation of 5 or so years ago when Bitcoin first grabbed my attention. There’s a great deal more money and trading volume sloshing around in Bitcoin than there was back then.
Some believe that Chinese traders are using Bitcoin as a workaround to avoid strict rules imposed by the Chinese government to prevent money leaving the country.
Bitcoin can also be benefiting from problems with the Indian Rupee and the inflation and capital controls being imposed in Venezuela.
The last time Bitcoin saw a price of $1000 or above was in 2013.
The total value of Bitcoin in circulation is continually changing as the price fluctuates, but it’s now estimated to be in excess of $16bn world-wide.
There’s been skepticism about Bitcoin, due to trading exchanges being hacked, trading fraud and theft.
Not least also because of highly volatile price swings which at times have been as much as 40%. For example when the then market-leading Tokyo-based Mt.Gox exchange was hacked. As a result the Bitcoin price crashed to under $400.
This time however, sentiment seems to have picked up. Many market analysts expect 2017 to be a strong year for Bitcoin with the price rising toward $2000.
One thing in Bitcoin’s favour is that the number of new Bitcoins that can be created or “mined” is technically limited. Only around 75 Bitcoins can be added to the system world-wide every hour.
Bitcoin can’t be inflated through “quantitative easing”, in other words, by just printing money, like the governments and central banks of some countries have been doing since the global financial crisis of 2008. So that ensures scarcity. Which means upward pressure on the price.
Bitcoin Is Becoming Respectable
Bitcoin seems to be to have a certain parallel with Linux, the Unix-derived free open source operating system.
When Linux first appeared in the early 1990s it was considered just as a toy for hackers, not to be taken seriously by the average consumer, let alone by businesses.
Nowadays, Linux has become respectable and it’s now used by millions of ordinary computer users world wide, as well as by businesses and even government departments. Linux software also runs the majority of the world’s Internet web servers.
2016 was also the year that Mr. Bitcoin, the so-called “Satoshi Nakamoto” was revealed to be Australian software entrepreneur Craig Wright:
Bitcoin also benefits from interest in the “blockchain”. This is the technical system – the programming infrastructure, that enables Bitcoin to operate.
The blockchain is a distributed data system which is self-updating and self-correcting. This is the key to the operation of the entire Bitcoin system. The great thing about the blockchain is that it’s not operated by nor in the hands of any one organization.
There are certain risks involved around the potential for any one group to gain administrative control of the blockchain, but in normal circumstances at least that is not a danger.
Blockchain technology can be applied in many different areas and we may see some applications coming online in 2017. The Bank of England issued a review paper recognizing and praising the strengths and advantages of Bitcoin.
When the Bank of England praises something, you know it’s become respectable.
The UK Chief Scientific Adviser at the Government Office for Science also produced a report in 2016 about the blockchain concept called Distributed Ledger Technology – beyond block chain
I’m going to stick my neck out and say that we will see Bitcoin prices rising to levels beyond $1000 in the course of the year and remaining buoyant at those levels.
Will Bitcoin reach $2000?
I don’t know – and nor does anyone else. Some people maintain Bitcoin will reach $3000 or even up to $5000.
Thing is, I’ve heard these claims before. There was even a Swedish politician Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and a Bitcoin investor who believed a Bitcoin price of $100,000 by 2015 was not unrealistic. So I’m highly skeptical of wild over-optimistic forecasts of this kind.
We’ll have to wait and see.
But the prognosis for gradual continual appreciation in the value of Bitcoin looks good. There are the pressures some national currencies are under right now, plus continued high volume trading from China.
More and more businesses are also starting to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. So all this will mean sustained and increasing demand for Bitcoin.
Bear in mind that Bitcoin is a relatively new and highly volatile asset class and you shouldn’t risk investing or trading with any money that you can’t afford to lose.
I’ve just got back into the Bitcoin market following the post New Year price correction, so I’m getting set for a ride upwards – or hopefully upwards, in 2017!
Looking for Bitcoin price chart data? Check out my Bitcoin Charts page
Disclaimer and Disclosure
WARNING: The value of all investments can go down well as up. Always seek independent professional advice before making any investment decision. Never invest in any asset or scheme that you do not understand. Never invest more money than you can afford to lose.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds investments in currency and the stock market at the time of writing this article.
Image Attribution: Bitcoin: Courtesy of Pixabay.com – CC0 Public Domain – Free for commercial use – No attribution required. Stages of a Bubble: Courtesy of Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Creative Commons: allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.