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For many, the word “cryptocurrency” is steadily associated with bitcoin. Moreover, these two concepts are now perceived as synonyms, which is not surprising, because BTC bears the title of the first cryptocurrency. It was thanks to bitcoin that the world learned about the existence of virtual money – digital assets that do not have a specific issuer, but are created by the efforts of millions of people.
Since its inception – for more than 12 years – BTC has been leading the cryptocurrency rankings by an impressive margin both in terms of capitalization and value. What is bitcoin? What role does he play in the industry? How much does it cost now, how to get it and what can we expect from it in the future?
What it is?
The appearance of bitcoin is often compared in importance to the Bretton Woods agreement: at one time it served as an impetus for a radical change in the financial system of the world, and the dollar brought the status of the main reserve currency of the planet.
Many people are confident that gradually bitcoin will be able to take over this honorary baton from the American currency. And they have a reason for this, because the first cryptocurrency – unlike the “evergreen” one – is not controlled by the state, which uses the value of the national currency to promote its own policies around the world. That is why BTC is called “digital gold”.
What is bitcoin? This is an internal unit of value within the blockchain of the same name. Blockchain is a continuous sequence of blocks in which records are made about new transactions or changes in the balance of existing addresses (cryptocurrency wallets).
It is impossible to cancel, change or forge information already entered into the blockchain. The maximum number of bitcoins that can ever exist is known in advance and will remain unchanged – 21 million coins. Now there are about 18.9 million bitcoins in circulation, and the addition of new BTC is tightly controlled using a special algorithm.
In the first few years after the launch of the mainnet, many treated cryptocurrency as a toy, as a new, interesting and fun technology. Today, however, the role of BTC has grown significantly. The largest investment companies in the world use bitcoin as a means of savings, because this asset – unlike fiat – only grows in value over time.
How much is?
The status of the main cryptocurrency is confirmed not only by the title of a pioneer in the world of digital assets, but also by impressive economic indicators. As of early December 2021, BTC’s capitalization was $1.03 trillion, and its market share exceeded 41%. Today, the main digital currency is trading at the $50K mark, and it updated its historical maximum at the turn of $68,789.63 on November 10, 2021.
The whole of 2021 has been going very well for bitcoin. At the beginning of December last year, BTC was worth about $18,000. In other words, in 12 months, the first cryptocurrency increased in price by 3 times. It must be admitted that in 2021 we also witnessed a significant drawdown — in June, the value of BTC fell below $30,000 — but already in November, a new value record was set.
Bitcoin price change for the period from December 2020 to December 2021 inclusive. Source – CoinMmarketCap
How to get?
Today BTC is received in 2 ways:
- “mined” with the help of special equipment by mining;
The first option involves the investment of funds in expensive devices – ASICs. With their help, you can become one of the many thousands of nodes in the network and receive rewards in bitcoins for maintaining its work.
The second method is much easier and faster in time. Any amount of BTC can be purchased on a cryptocurrency exchange or through an online exchanger. The amount of purchase is limited only by your budget.
Entering the exchange makes sense if you are going to immediately acquire a solid amount of coins or intend to engage in trading. It is easier to work with an online exchanger, and this process takes less time. However, the amount of BTC available for purchase is not very large, and the price is usually slightly higher than on a large trading platform.
How to earn on bitcoin?
The first cryptocurrency provides income through trading or mining. In the first case, profit is brought by purchase / sale operations. Secondly, the extraction of bitcoins for subsequent sale. Let’s discuss each option.
Cryptocurrency trading is less demanding in terms of knowledge about the nature of bitcoin, the features of the blockchain and the use cases for BTC. All a trader needs to know is to correctly read the market situation in order to choose the most appropriate moments for buying and selling coins. At the same time, those who are going to raise money in daily trading should have a fairly serious knowledge of stock trading, understand the meanings of various trading indicators and signals.
Adherents of long-term investment in digital gold need only know and remember one thing – over time, bitcoin only becomes more expensive.
Mining coins, or mining on special equipment, requires much more time and knowledge in computer technology. If at the first stages – in 2009-2013. – bitcoin could be mined on video cards and even processors, then after the release of ASICs, there are no more alternatives to these devices.
Asik is specialized equipment designed exclusively for working in the BTC network and mining this coin. For impressive computing power, you have to pay with high power consumption and price, as well as the “sharpening” of the device for only one task. Asic can’t do anything other than bitcoin mining.
Attracted by the powerful potential and high cost of bitcoin, a lot of capital has long entered mining. Giant companies have been created that serve the “farms” on which thousands of ASICs operate.
The price of top-end devices is several thousand dollars per unit, but lots are sold out on pre-orders long before they leave the factory. Now the situation is such that asics are available for pre-order, which will be delivered to the client only in a year. Therefore, unlike Ethereum, it is almost impossible for a private person to mine bitcoin – there is nowhere to purchase up-to-date equipment.
What’s in store for bitcoin in the future?
Analysts disagree on the short-term and medium-term dynamics of the value of the first cryptocurrency. Some believe that after a slight correction at the beginning of 2022, by March the price of BTC will soar to $100,000, and even higher if circumstances are favorable. Individuals even talk about $500,000: they include, for example, the author of the sensational Stock-to-Flow model, known in the crypto community under the pseudonym PlanB.
At the same time, most experts note that the decisions of American regulators that limit the use of bitcoin in the United States can have a significant impact on the trend.
Not everyone is full of optimism. For example, Louis Navelier, the founder of Navellier & Associates, in an interview with Business Insider, talks about the high probability of an 80% drop in the price of the first cryptocurrency. He proceeds from the fact that the actions of the US Federal Reserve will lead to an increase in the correction of risky assets, which include bitcoin.
If the price of BTC breaks the $28,000 support level, then the next stop will only occur at $10,000. As an analogy, he gives an example from the past – in 2018, the price of bitcoin fell by 84% from the previous high of $20,000 reached in December 2017.
It is curious that even skeptics are optimistic about the long-term prospects of a digital asset. “Crypto winter” and deep corrections invariably remain in the past, and bitcoin always returns to growth.
Nevertheless, experts do not get tired of warning investors about the high risk of investing in cryptocurrency. Therefore, the decision to invest in virtual assets should be made only after a thorough assessment of all potential risks.
Disclaimer. Investing in any financial asset carries the risk of losing capital. Nothing in this text can be considered an investment recommendation or an offer to buy/sell any financial instruments. For all their actions in the stock market, each investor bears full responsibility independently.
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