First let’s get this out of the way, this whole cryptocurrency thing is far bigger than the value of Bitcoin priced in U.S. dollars. Bitcoin is a revolution. It is the decentralization of the very way we have been valuing our time and energy on this planet. It is the opportunity to decentralize value, to free up our time for more creativity, and to release the bonds of debt slavery. This is the human re-valuation revolution. If gold is the currency of royalty and debt is the currency of slaves, Bitcoin is the currency of creators. Yes, this is a revolution and freedom to create our lives as we see fit are the stakes.
That all being said, it’s hard not to think about the price of cryptocurrency in the denomination of the U.S. dollar because it has been the imposed standard of valuation for more than a century. And that’s fine. Examining the price of Bitcoin in dollars may actually work as a helpful barometer in analyzing how far along the path of adoption decentralized money has come.
2017 brought a greater level of adoption than ever before for cryptocurrency and early January 2018 saw peak market FOMO (fear of missing out). The valuation of many cryptocurrency projects reached the point of mania and the epic high prices rose too high, too quickly. Now, we are in the midst of a deep healthy market correction and have been for the previous 4 months.
In a time when every chart shows more red than green it’s hard to stay positive about the trend of the crypto space. But here are just a few reasons why I am more optimistic than ever about the future of cryptocurrency, why I believe the doom scenarios for Bitcoin are way overstated, and why this bear market may very well be on its last legs.
Solutions to Real World Problems
Up until this point, very few crypto projects have been offering solutions to problems that actually need fixing. Bitcoin (the first blockchain solution) is actively decentralizing money. But few other projects have had meaningful impact - that changes in 2018.
Enter Substratum - a platform to decentralize the internet
The topic of net neutrality is a hot button issue. We live in an age where government can control the free transfer of thought by restricting internet access to people in China and elsewhere. In the western hemisphere, corporations who control government attempt to do the same under the guise of capitalist prerogative - Substratum has created a solution to both.
The Substratum platform uses blockchain technology to render internet control attempts futile. The platform distributes the hosting of the internet, beyond centralized servers, to volunteered personal computers worldwide. Creating a platform that supports uncensorable, decentralized internet access.
To top it all off the Substratum platform will pay individuals to host the decentralized web, incentivizing individuals to take part in a legal revolutionary act. A genius win-win scenario.
It’s Your Content, YOU Should Get Paid For It
As I write this, Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is currently testifying before the United States Congress spouting drivel about how sorry he is for selling users private data. Acknowledging that it was a mistake that will never happen again. Yeah. Right. This has happened before and it will happen again.
Facebook owns your data and as a centralized business they decide what happens to it.
In fact, Facebook creates nothing of value — you do!
They then sell your data or sell space on your screen to companies who post ads that match what you are viewing. Their entire business model is based on users creating content and interacting while Facebook analyzes, records, and profits.
How much were you paid for sharing posts that your friends and family found entertaining or valuable? How much time did you spend creating content or liking and commenting on other people’s posts? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be rewarded for the time and energy you spent sharing pieces of your creativity with your community?
There must be a better way to connect, right?!
Enter the world of social media 2.0 — social media decentralized
Steemit is a blogging and social media platform (launched mid 2016) which offers payment for your time, energy, and creativity. If you create a post on Steemit that generates attention, you will earn from every ‘like’ (upvote) that you receive. There are Steemit creators who’s stories generate hundreds of dollars each. The Steem ecosystem runs on the Steem blockchain where members are paid for creating content and curating content (interacting with the work of another user). Content is stored on the blockchain and unlike traditional social media, people receive value in exchange for creating value.
Another example is Appics, also built upon the Steem blockchain. Appics is a new decentralized app very similar to Instagram that pays you to share your creativity with others through pictures and video. Like Steemit, Appics also pays you for time spent appreciating the work of others by incentivizing likes and interaction within the app. Appics is still in the building phase of the project but the full version is set for release in the summer 2018. I highly recommend reading the Appics white paper for a great overview of where social media is today and how it is rapidly evolving into the future.
Then there is video streaming. YouTube continues to make money off of content creators using their platform, all the while forcing ads upon the eyes of millions. Decentralized projects like the DTube platform, on the other hand, pay people for their contributions to their video ecosystem. Also in the works are Flixxo and Theta Platform which are still in their infancy but have high hopes of bringing full decentralization of video and incentivization for creating.
The Institutions are coming! The institutions are coming!
Finally, the most prominent reason for remaining optimistic in this crypto downtrend is the recent surge in news about large institutional investing entering the realm of cryptocurrency. George Soros, the Rothschild family, and the Rockefeller family have all recently made public their intent to invest in cryptocurrencies.
A Goldman Sachs controlled company, Circle, just purchased Poloniex, one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges by volume in the world. Acting quickly, the firm has made waves recently by announcing the expansion of operations complete with the hiring of over 100 new employees. Additionally, under new leadership, Poloniex has begun taking steps in concert with the SEC to become the United States’ first sanctioned cryptocurrency exchange.
In order for large amounts of institutional money to enter the crypto world they must have an agency-approved means of trading the asset. Once again the SEC is mulling new applications for Bitcoin ETFs (electronic traded funds), making it possible for Bitcoin to be traded like any other stock. The institutional money is here and it is pounding on the door!
2017 saw Bitcoin rise from a price of roughly $1,000 to nearly $20,000. This meteoric rise was fueled by mostly private individual speculation and FOMO in December. Since the value of Bitcoin is governed by supply and demand and amplified by a market cap of only 21 million, what will the price be when institutional FOMO begins to kick in? I believe it is safe to say that the volume of money ready to flood into this exciting new asset class will far surpass the numbers we saw last year. If growth mirrors 2017’s 20X growth, Bitcoin could go from $6000 to $120,000 in 2018.
Until that time comes, I’m staying optimistic. I choose to focus on all of the good that’s going on in the crypto space. Cryptos are about more than their price, they are about innovation, ingenuity, and creating efficiency. Being at the bottom of a market cycle does not detract from the incredible value that is on the brink of development.