Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has enjoyed a significant amount of hype. Media interest in Bitcoin means it is by far the best-known cryptocurrency around. The Bitcoin gold rush saw its value soar to $770 by January 2014, but now investors are increasingly looking at other options, including the chance to buy Ethereum.
But what is a Bitcoin anyway? It was the first cryptocurrency, providing a way to make decentralised digital payments via blockchain technology without the involvement of banks. It has revolutionised the financial sector as a disruptor to traditional banking. It also caused concerns around its use in facilitating crimes like money laundering and drug dealing on the dark web. Other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum have since been launched, but none have held the profile of Bitcoin. Is this about to change? There are many other cryptocurrencies available, over 1,600 in fact, with one, in particular, gaining significant ground.
Ethereum has been hot on Bitcoin’s heels recently, rapidly gaining value to reach well over £200 at one point this month. After a rocky August for Ethereum investors, those who held their nerve have since seen gains of a staggering 18.4% since the start of September. It reached a high of $221.01 on September 19th and currently sits at $198.96 (as of September 24th).
Ethereum has recently taken the lead regarding 24-hour gains among the top ten leading cryptocurrencies, and it is also closing in on Bitcoin when it comes to revenue from daily transactions. Compared to two years ago, Ethereum’s earnings from daily transaction fees have been astronomical, hitting $182,899, just below Bitcoin’s $185,993. This is around 10-25 times higher than those earned by Ethereum in 2017, and shows how much it has grown in popularity to catch up to the original market leader, Bitcoin. That said, it should also be noted that the growth is partly down to the fact that Tether, a stablecoin that used to rely on Bitcoin, has now switched to Ethereum.
Recently Delph Digital reported that Bitcoin was the best performing cryptocurrency due to its ‘digital gold’ reputation, but that recently improved performance of other altcoins doesn’t necessarily mean they are about to overtake Bitcoin’s dominance of the market.
Bitcoin prices are in a descending triangle at the moment though, which can sometimes signify lower prices due to a reduction in enthusiasm from potential buyers. A report in DailyFX.com predicts there will be a break soon, either higher or lower, but that whichever way it goes prices may be volatile for Bitcoin.
Considering recent economic and political factors impacting on fiat currencies, such as the drop of the Yuan’s value, interest in cryptocurrency investment may be about to increase. Those who have tried to ban cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in the US are also realising this is not going to be possible. After all, the digital currency does not respect countries’ borders and can exist anywhere in the world provided there is an internet connection.
Some experts have predicted Bitcoin to reach $42,000 by the end of 2019, and there are even some bullish suggestions that it could get as high as $100,000 by the end of 2021, so despite Ethereum’s recent growth spurt, it looks like Bitcoin may yet lead the way.