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As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum (Ether), and Ripple (XRP), have made their way onto news broadcasts and into household discussions in recent years, they've seemed to be a great alternative to everyday currency exchanges. As such, many people took the time to buy Bitcoin, and other crypto assets, believing they were part of the financial wave moving us towards the future. There are even instances of Bitcoin being used to pay employee's wages! However, at present, many are asking the question: Is bitcoin losing popularity even though it has been exceptionally popular up until this point?
Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, or digital currency, created in 2009. The reason for the inception of this idea is because digital currencies eliminate the middleman in any transaction. Without a middleman like a bank, there are no processing fees, taxes added to a purchase, and no charge for their service, which is only transferring money from one bank account to another in most cases. This creates a system that has decentralized network, meaning data isn't stored in one single place, but in many places that are not easily tracked or accounted for. This creates an element of safety that isn't found when one authority, again like a bank, has all of your important, personal information. This is beneficial because, hypothetically, if the bank's database is hacked, someone can break into and steal your social security number, mailing address, and even money. With a decentralized network, hackers won't have access to anything at all. All of these features keep Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges safe, fees lower, and transfers faster. Additionally, this database keeps each person relatively anonymous, and everyone has access to the database. This means that anyone can make transfers with total anonymity and without interference or extra hands getting involved in your business.
Banks and Other Cryptocurrencies
In looking at the popularity of Bitcoin in comparison to other kinds of popular cryptocurrencies, it's understandable if it really is losing its popularity. This is because Bitcoin, though faster than traditional bank transfers, is still slower than some of the other cryptocurrencies that are now available. Bitcoin can also be a bit difficult to use, because there are specific keys and numbers that you have to remember in order to initiate any kind of transfers, let alone the amount of Bitcoin accessories every crypto holder needs. When deciding whether or not to use Bitcoin, it's best to be very comfortable with computers before initiating any transactions.
There are multiple arguments for and against the status of Bitcoin, its popularity, and other popular cryptocurrencies—however, if you actually take a look at the history of the cryptocurrency, you can see that these debates are not entirely new.
Some argue that if you take a look at the Github code repository, you'll find that many users either aren't active, or haven't been active for a long time, which suggests that they've given up on their endeavors using crypto at all. Michael del Castillo, from Forbes, argues that, perhaps people are hoping for blockchain technology and Bitcoin to fail because the invention of cryptocurrencies has forced people to question how necessary it is to have big banks and other financial institutions. With decentralized currency, and the ability to send money via cryptocurrency exchanges safely to anyone, many are questioning whether the future of currency exchanges involves the same protocols that we've always had. If this holds true and the advantages of cryptocurrencies do wind up overtaking what banks can offer, the popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has only just scratched the surface. Even now, people are wondering, "Are Bitcoin bank accounts feasible?"
The "Bubble" and the Market
Perhaps Bitcoin appears to be less popular simply because Bitcoin hasn't been mentioned in the media as much. In December 2017, the financial news coverage regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies increased exponentially and the price of the stock did as well, as everyone was flocking to jobs in the blockchain world.
Based on the financial news of December 2017, some began to wonder if Bitcoin was a "bubble," as mentioned in Is Bitcoin a Bubble by Ray King. However, if it was indeed a bubble, the price of Bitcoin would have likely dropped back to zero rather than staying around $7,000 in the cryptocurrency market. So those who want to argue that Bitcoin is a bubble focus on the fact that the value dropped, but those that want to argue against Bitcoin being a "bubble" argue that Bitcoin's price did not drop in a way that signifies that a "bubble" in the market has popped. It all depends on what measure you use to make any kind of guess regarding the future of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market. Perhaps those arguing that Bitcoin is losing popularity and that it's on its way out of the cryptocurrency world are reacting extremely, focusing on small, everyday measurements that they are projecting to mean that Bitcoin is headed for failure. And maybe if you watch the crypto market and take a long look at Bitcoin's performance over the years, you'll see that the spike in Bitcoin's popularity and value was not Icarian in nature.
You could argue that, as Bitcoin was among the first cryptocurrencies ever created, then perhaps it will eventually yield its status as an innovative solution to any new type of popular cryptocurrency that have different uses or features. For example, Litecoin is faster than Bitcoin, and Ethereum can be used to create other cryptocurrencies. All of these cryptocurrencies have their own advantages and disadvantages, and depending on what the market needs, one may eventually rise in status as it proves to be the most useful for our needs.
A sobering fact to counter all of these arguments though, is that there have been predictions of Bitcoin's demise since as early as 2010 according to Forbes Magazine. Ultimately, the market data shows that the market caps' value of Bitcoin will rise and fall, but, in comparison to where it was valued back in 2010 (barely 25 cents), the growth it experienced in recent years means that its value is still much healthier than it has ever been in the past.
Maybe, at this point, the arguments over the question "is Bitcoin losing popularity" boils down to which aspects of the cryptocurrency's history you focus on. Bitcoin has faced scrutiny since its creation and application—and it has experienced a stark rise in popularity in recent years. Bitcoin has not lost its fame and popularity as the largest cryptocurrency yet, despite its competition with other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Ethereum, but we should keep a close eye on new developments in the cryptocurrency market to see if any new currencies will rise to the top with new features and applications that will rival Bitcoin's stature.