Between August 24, 2015, and November 4, the price of Bitcoin has almost doubled from $209.13 to $408.74, bringing the market cap to $6 billion. Data compiled in a new infographic from BargainFox.co.uk reveals that this is likely to increase, suggesting it could eventually recover to its historic highs of over $1,000. This hasn’t occurred since before the scandalous collapse of the Mt. Gox exchange in late 2013, when millions of dollars worth of bitcoin “went missing.”
Of course the value of bitcoin is only one measure of the cryptocurrency’s overall growth. The amount of people actually using it in their day to day lives perhaps gives an even better indication of how well its doing. Despite the scandals and negative press, this number has actually been rising consistently. In the past year usage has nearly doubled, proving that people aren’t just looking to profit off market volatility. They might actually want to use it as an alternative to regular money.
This bodes well for the future because as the number of people participating grows, the strength of the market also increases. This means if there’s another Silk Road scandal or exchange that manages to make off with people’s money, the less likely the value of bitcoin will be affected. This will then entice even more people to give it a try because it won’t seem as risky.
The use of bitcoin beyond speculation is what the technology’s mysterious founder Satoshi Nakamoto had always intended. The blockchain was launched in the midst of the global financial crisis and promised a way for people to do business without the interference of governments or the banking institutions. The idea was to allow anyone anywhere in the world to send and receive money with no restrictions. It was meant to become as viable as the money in your pocket or bank account, and for an increasing number of people it is!
Indeed as of this year there are now over 100,000 online and offline merchants across the world who accept payment in BTC. This is up from 2014’s 65,000 estimate. The company which takes the most in bitcoin payments is eCommerce retailer OverStock which only began doing so last year. It’s joined by the likes of TigerDirect and NewEgg, as well as large corporations like Expedia, Dell and Microsoft. Even local bars, cafes and restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon, such as Downtown Johnny Brown’s in San Diego, California.
Although the old financial guard would probably like to keep a lid on it, one of the obvious reasons more businesses are adopting bitcoin is because its cheaper. For one on one transactions it’s absolutely free to process, while selling goods with your PayPal account incurs fees. For established businesses that require the convenience of a payment processor, BitPay also works out cheaper than accepting credit cards as it only charges 1% of the transaction. Payment’s you’ve accepted can also be converted to your local currency right away at no extra cost, so there’s no hassle with maintaining a wallet.
70,000 transactions were made through BitPay this August, the largest amount to date, and the total value of daily transactions across all platforms has reached around $289 million. PayPal only accounts for $397 million, so we could eventually be living in a world where bitcoin is the go to choice. Perhaps the $469 million of venture capital invested so far this year will help it get there.
More interesting stats about bitcoin’s growth and indicators that suggest it’s going to continue, can be found on the Bargain Fox infographic.