In just under a year, the price of Bitcoin rocketed 1800% from $1,000 in January to just about $18,000 with little-to-no interruption. The value of all bitcoins combined is now over a quarter trillion dollars. Which leaves many wondering — how did we get here?.
From its inception in 2009 until last year, Bitcoin was hardly ever mentioned in mainstream media. Only a select few people even knew what Bitcoin was, let alone owned any. Now Bitcoin has become one of the hot topics of 2017, and most people have only reached the tip of the iceberg, as the only thing about Bitcoin that’s being discussed on the news is its price.
This being said, it looks as if the mainstream is beginning to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Public interest in the industry could be why something like Litecoin is up around 5800% this year and smart contract platform Ethereum is up almost 9000%.
Bloomberg Terminal has begun prominently displaying Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether prices. CBOE, Chicago’s largest futures exchange started offering Bitcoin futures last week and CME, another big futures exchange based out of Chicago is set to begin futures trading on Bitcoin as well. Although there is institutional money that is set to come into play with these exchanges, it may be more noteworthy that average people are beginning to invest in cryptocurrency as well.
The number one free app in the Apple App Store and number 8 in the Google Play Store is Coinbase, which is a cryptocurrency wallet service with a built-in ability to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether with a user interface that is easy to use, even for the uninitiated. Coinbase’s popularity is a sign that there is a large number of people that are becoming interested in cryptocurrency.
In short, the influx of interest and new money in cryptocurrency, whether it be institutional money with Bitcoin futures, or the average person that is just hearing about Bitcoin for the first time on its meteoric rise to $10,000, at some point it becomes simple supply and demand. There are 16,743,325 Bitcoin in circulation at the time of writing, of which an estimated 4,000,000 are already permanently lost.
The Federal Reserve bank prints billions of dollars, and there is no limit to how many will be printed. Bitcoin on the other hand is hard capped at a supply of 21,000,000, meaning that no more will ever be created once that number is reached. If the demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues to grow, the prices of cryptocurrencies should grow accordingly.