The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
According to the white paper that launched cryptocurrency in 2009 under a pseudonym, it is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers on the Internet that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Cryptocurrency has seen a spike in all of its metrics such as search traffic, the number of press pieces, amount of sales and, most importantly, prices. The search traffic levels have tripled since 2017, and the keyword is near all-time highs for traffic. A glance at Google Trends for Ether, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency indicates that there is a high correlation between price and traffic and all areas have had steady growth in traffic. Therefore, it is highly recommended always to keep an eye on the number of transactions and search traffic, because these metrics tell an underlying story about them.
Cryptocurrency networks will reach a large enough size at a certain point to run efficiently and be too big to fail. The fervent believers of cryptocurrency say it could displace traditional money and even banks, but it is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it, making it prey to significant changes in sentiments. Perhaps a look into the ownership of all cryptocurrencies and their dynamics might give a clue of that.
Ownership of cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin has the least ownership concentration among the cryptocurrencies. The top 100 Bitcoin holders control only 17.3% of the total supply, whereas, with Ether, the top 100 investors control 40% of all the issued currency. With coins such as Gnosis, Storj, and Qtum, large owners control 90%, and they are all part of the teams managing these projects. Industry watchers estimate that perhaps about 1,000 users hold 40% of Bitcoin. Since the viability of cryptocurrencies rests on their network size, Bitcoin is worth four times that of American Airlines and twice as much as Uber. People who hold large amounts of Bitcoin are known as whales in the industry. The whales stuck by Bitcoin through the pioneering days when it was derided and have known one another for years.
Trade of cryptocurrency
One of the paradoxes of cryptocurrency is that each new development appears to bring both promise and peril. The whales will not sell their holdings because they believe in its long-term potential. But as times change and prices go up, such linear thinking and calculation might change. Therefore investors worry about whales because if they sell just a portion of the holding, that can send the prices plummeting.
For example, Bloomberg noted that when someone moved Bitcoins worth about $159 million to an online exchange, Bitcoin traders started mulling over whether it meant the owner was selling the digital currency. At current prices, if each sells about half of their holdings, they can potentially prop up or tank the market. Moreover, many of the trading rules in this emerging industry are murky because regulators have been too slow to catch up. For now, Bitcoin and many currencies enjoy free trade while a few others have severe restrictions in place.
Unrestricted currency trade
There is no restriction against a deal in which a team agrees to purchase Bitcoin. If this transaction increases the price, they may cash out within hours. Such a sale is permitted because Bitcoin is not a security but a digital currency. At least some kind of fact sharing is legal, according to securities lawyers who monitor the cryptocurrency scenario. What’s more, many of the large owners can coordinate or preview their moves to a select few. Discussions of trading with one another among big traders of some cryptocurrencies are not illegal either.
Tracking biggest investors
Some hedge fund managers in the cryptocurrency industry do monitor trading activity of the most prominent investors. When they see movement, they call the likely sellers and get information on motivations behind their trading plans and sales. Some funds end up buying the holdings directly instead of going into the open market. And when they do that, the currency’s price does not get affected in any drastic way. This kind of gathering intelligence is legal, and the trading based on that is allowed.
Ordinary small investors
The downside is that it puts small buyers of digital currencies at a disadvantage. Ordinary investors do not have the standing required to get the whales to take their calls. They are also disadvantaged if they hold smaller digital tokens and currencies. They can only monitor addresses with vast holdings and begin heated discussions of market moves on online forums. But at the end of the day, ultimately they are in the dark on the plans and motives of large investors.
Restricted currency trade
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of America, depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some digital currencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. A digital currency exchange named Bittrex once had to warn its users that it would terminate their accounts if they banded together into groups with the intention of manipulating prices.
Entrance of investors
The value of cryptocurrency has shot up nearly twelvefold since it’s beginning and its sale is in full swing now. Hence the stock market and investors are bullish about cryptocurrency, even though it has had a shaky start. The recent increase in its price is difficult to explain because it has no intrinsic value. Some argue that this is no different than what is happening in more established markets.
Bubble or reality
Currently, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of approximately $100 billion. With all of this attention to cryptocurrencies, many are wondering whether this is a bubble. It can be hard if not impossible to determine if a bubble exists in the crypto industry and when it might burst. However, the widespread and general belief is that it is not going to crash very soon. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is to transition into mass adoption. The current business environment does indicate mass adoption as the likely result.
A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Two of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin and Ethereum. Many of the currencies younger then Bitcoin can be used for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.