After the serious fall in Bitcoin prices in 2018, many technology investors are left wondering about the future of blockchain-based currencies. Despite Bitcoin’s market volatility, technology investors continue to be optimistic about the future of the blockchain technology itself.
Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency available to investors. Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin are also becoming popular among the tech investing community. Each of these currencies has its own special features and advantages to the investor. Jennifer Walling, Regional Sales Manager for Pacific West Vascular Solutions, explores the history and current state of each of these established forms of cryptocurrency.
The history of Bitcoin began in 2008. The concept built on earlier protocols such as e-cash, hashcash, b-money, and bit gold. From its humble beginnings as a small cluster of computers mining bitcoins one at a time, the technology grew steadily, and its value increased dramatically. Blockchain technology played into the success of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, leveraging the importance of encrypted peer-to-peer computer transactions.
Bitcoin soared to the dizzying height of $19,783 per coin in December 2017. However, in the months directly following, the currency plunged into the $6,000 range. This correction brought forth fears for the viability of the cryptocurrency market as a whole. The market has since leveled off, leading many investment experts to believe that the currency may have reached a market floor. This may be a good time to think about investing in Bitcoin.
Ethereum was founded in 2013. Vitalik Buterin, the programmer responsible for its genesis, wrote a white paper laying out the need for a cryptocurrency with the capability to build applications as well as storing currency values. The currency was readily accepted by tech investors.
Ethereum differs from Bitcoin because it is not merely a currency system. It is also a ledger technology, enabling companies to construct new programs. Ethereum could be seen as the new generation of cryptocurrency because its structure is far more robust. Ethereum is being adopted by a select group of Fortune 500 firms who are interested in its potential to create “smart contracts.”
Ethereum is exciting because it could make a large impact in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT). The integration of the Ethereum system with the supply chain is enabling companies to ensure that they are not receiving counterfeit goods.
Ethereum’s price slid to the $150 range in 2018, keeping pace with other cryptocurrencies.
Ripple was created in 2012 by Ripple Labs. Its native currency is known as XRP. Ripple’s unique feature setting it apart from other cryptocurrencies is its focus on financial networks. Ripple may present the future of financial services, taking over from the SWIFT protocol which has been used by banks around the world since 1973.
Ripple briefly held the second highest market capitalization among cryptocurrencies in 2018. However, its fortunes have been damaged by a class action lawsuit claiming that the unregistered sales of XRP caused artificial price inflation.
Litecoin had its beginnings in 2011. It was an outgrowth of Bitcoin which had a quicker generation time. This quicker generation and transmission time may mean that it is more useful to financial service companies. Litecoin differs from Bitcoin in that its processes use more memory and are more expensive to maintain.
Litecoin has been set up to be easier to mine than Bitcoin. This makes mining more accessible to the public. Its price dipped in 2018, causing some uncertainty in the market.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have a potential for a resurgence, taking advantage of new advances in blockchain technology to make them more secure and less prone to wild market swings. It is hoped that the current lower prices will make cryptocurrencies more attractive to the average purchaser and that the prices will recover in the months and years to come.
Jennifer Walling reminds readers that cryptocurrencies are worth more than their market price. Their innovative technologies have already helped to transform the supply chain and financial services. Exciting things are coming for cryptocurrencies, and technology investors should keep a close eye on the markets.