How is Bitcoin Actually Faring Right Now?
It’s easy for pundits to come up with short-term forecasts of where the price of Bitcoin is going to go, but to do a deep analysis into the developments that have occurred over the last year takes work. There are three main ways we can assess how well Bitcoin is faring as a burgeoning asset: technology, regulations, and ecosystem.
By giving each of these an objective analysis, it is possible to get a strong idea of what direction Bitcoin is heading in and whether it will be around in a decade. And for the HOLD’ers, this is what they care about most.
Development of Technology
The most commonly discussed advancement in the Bitcoin network is the implementation of the Lightning network. Capacity is continuing to grow for the network, but it is still quite a ways off from having an adequate capacity for the expected needs of the base Bitcoin network. The main issue are the fees lightning nodes ear; they are considered to be low relative to other node operations, and it may not be economically feasible to run these nodes.
The good news is Lightning network has made it much cheaper to send payments. This is perfect for small purchase like buying goods and services. However, the current wallet bugs make it unlikely a large number of users may safely use the Lightning network without routing errors costing them money.
SegWit adoption is continuing and has reached approximately 40% of the network. This change allows for more transactions to be stored per block, which speeds up the number of transactions per second with no downsides.
The combined effect of Lightning network implementation and SegWit adoption has brought fees down by 100x. It must also be taken into account that network usage has also decreased in this time, as that would be a factor in the demand for trading.
The Regulatory View
Recent rulings have enforced the view that Bitcoin is a commodity, which means there is a more certain regulatory view for it than many other cryptocurrencies.
At the same time, the Winklevoss twins attempted to start a Bitcoin ETF and was denied their proposal. It is likely an ETF will eventually be created, but more work must be done to demonstrate the resilience of the market against manipulation.
Another perspective here is related to regulatory arbitrage. Many companies and protocols are moving to countries where they have more security and certainty regarding the government’s position on crypto assets. Although this won’t directly affect the governance of Bitcoin, it will continue to affect the locations of trading platforms.
Development of the Ecosystem
We are seeing the spread of more closed end funds, in-house crypto-trading desks, and many more functions that are related to cryptocurrencies occur. This is a positive sign for the overall ecosystem and where we can expect it to head in the next while.
The continued development of all these aspects of Bitcoin make it seem more and more likely that adoption as a form of digital gold will occur. Nothing is certain, but Bitcoin is the most “black-and-white” asset in the crypto space, so it is a good indicator for the potential of the rest of the industry as well.
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