2018 was a volatile year for Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency traded near the $20,000 USD mark in December 2017, but the record-breaking ascent was not to last. Its decline began in January 2018 and continued through to December. With the current value of Bitcoin hovering near $4,000 USD, cryptocurrency experts are divided on the coin’s 2019 performance predictions.
In an article published last month, a panel of Bloomberg analysts declared that the cryptocurrency market in 2019 will be marked by F-U-D, an acronym for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Extrapolating from Bitcoin’s negative price trend, the analysis neglected to investigate the rapid growth of the blockchain industry. For the uninitiated, blockchain is a public ledger of every transaction that has taken place which cannot be tampered with or altered. However, blockchain is more than a decentralized record book. It is a technological innovation poised to disrupt numerous industries from banking to education and healthcare.
LinkedIn, the popular business networking site, declared that blockchain development was among the fastest growing job sector in 2018, a fact confirmed by research undertaken by the job recruitment and review site Glassdoor. Despite falling prices and insecurity in the cryptocurrency market, blockchain jobs are poised to continue their rapid expansion. This information lends credibility to analyst claims that alternative currencies like Bitcoin are here to stay and well positioned to transform how we think about money and interact with the global economy.
Despite the surge of the blockchain industry and rapid adoption of Bitcoin by the public, many experts remain cautious about the currency’s growth potential in 2019. Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard professor and former International Monetary Fund economist, contends that the value of Bitcoin will continue to plummet, reaching $100 USD within 10 years. His prediction is based on his long-held belief that governments will levy strict regulations against anonymous virtual currencies. This opinion is also shared by Kristjan Dekleva, head of risk management at Blocktrade.com. Dekleva believes that price volatility will continue to define the alternative currency market, with stability being reached within a decade. He further argues that it is unlikely that Bitcoin will witness a return to its record-setting 2017 value.
A quick survey of pundit interviews reveals that this opinion is not shared by all. Many cryptocurrency analysts and supporters are singling out 2019 and 2020 as breakout years for Bitcoin. John McAfee, the founder of the popular McAfee antivirus software, predicts that Bitcoin’s price will hit $1 million USD by 2020. This assertion follows his 2017 prediction of $7,000 USD which was surpassed. Like McAfee, popular venture capitalist Tim Draper believes that Bitcoin will reach a six figure valuation within 3 years. In 2014, with the alternate currency hovering around $400 USD, Draper predicted Bitcoin to reach $10,000 USD before 2018. His prediction was fulfilled 6 months early. With successful bets wagered with Tesla, Skype, and Twitter, many are taking Draper’s prediction seriously.
The University of Cambridge estimates that there are currently between 2.9 to 5.8 million active Bitcoin users. As adoption of cryptocurrencies continue to reach new markets, users are preparing themselves for what will likely be an exciting year ahead.
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