2017 was essentially Bitcoin’s year – although the cryptocurrency has been around since 2009, this year it exploded in growth, going from a trading value of $900 at the start of 2017 and reaching $6,300 by October, according to Forbes. The lack of transaction fees, identifying buyer information, and international regulations sets Bitcoin apart in the payments industry. But do payments industry veterans need to take Bitcoin seriously or did its success peak in 2017? Here are projections about the fate of Bitcoin in 2018:
Increased Transaction Volume
In 2017, Bitcoin’s transaction volume increased by 55%, and 30,000 new wallets each day. This increase in transaction volume is very likely to continue to grow in 2018, along with new wallets created – not only are established Bitcoin users expected to use it more and more, but additional users are likely to adopt the cryptocurrency.
Increased Number of Merchants
Bitcoin is projected to continue gaining acceptance by merchants worldwide and across industries in 2018. In 2017, more than 260,000 retail stores and restaurants accepted Bitcoin, and there will likely be a demand for more merchants to do so (there is even talk of Amazon perhaps accepting cryptocurrency).
Since one of the selling points to Bitcoin is the lack of international regulations, Bitcoin is expected to be adopted by more countries in 2018. Especially with Japan’s official recognition of Bitcoin as currency in April of 2017, it’s likely that other countries will follow this precedent and also adopt and accept cryptocurrency.
Availability to Investors in the US
While there is already a Bitcoin exchange traded note (ETN) for European investors, Bitcoin investment funds are not currently available to US investors. 2018 is anticipated to be the year in which American investors will be able to buy, trade, and sell Bitcoin, with the creation of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). A Bitcoin ETF is projected to get approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) within 2018.
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