In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto released a whitepaper on a digital currency, named bitcoin. In the years to follow, bitcoin was an obscure technology that no-one paid any attention to, outside of tech and gaming circles.
Some 11-years later, and the entire world knows about cryptocurrency. If you stop someone in the street, the chances are that they know about bitcoin. The Great Bitcoin Bubble of 2017 took the world by storm, and at the height of the mania, the price touched the $20,000 mark for an all-time high.
The bubble popped in 2018, but that didn't stop people from using bitcoin. Today, there are over 32-million bitcoin wallets, with more than 7.1-million active users on the blockchain network. Statistics show that 5% of all Americans owning either bitcoin or some other form of crypto.
Bitcoin Is an Expanding Network
Bitcoin is continually expanding, even while it's market cap is shrinking. Searches for "where to buy bitcoin?" are starting to increase in Google search trends, and people are making use of technology like bitcoin ATMs for transactions.
Recent studies show that the mining community is under pressure, but hash rates continue to reach new highs despite the price falling. Hash rates control the speed at which miners mine blocks of bitcoin.
The coming "halving" event that occurs in May 2020 will see miners compete for blocks of 6.25-bitcoin, rather than the 12.5-bitcoin blocks currently mined on the blockchain. Experts believe that this could be a possible turning point for the bitcoin price, and we could see the price of BTC double overnight.
Continued User Growth in Bitcoin Exchanges
Bitcoin exchanges continue to do business, despite the wave of hacks of large exchanges. People seem unconcerned by the recent hacks, with exchanges still signing up a steady flow of new users to the cryptocurrency world.
Coinbase, the largest U.S-facing bitcoin exchange, states that they currently have over 13-million users, and that number continues to climb.
Bitcoin in Emerging Markets
The most impressive growth in bitcoin comes from emerging markets. There is plenty of interest in bitcoin from countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe, where the citizens are dealing with an ongoing currency crisis.
Citizens of these countries are trying to escape the rampant hyperinflation endured by the local currency. Bitcoin provides these nations with a means to send money overseas, or buy goods and services locally.
South Africa, China, and Russia are all seeing increasing levels of support for bitcoin, as central banks erode the purchasing power of the local currency.
Wrapping Up – Is Bitcoin Ready for the Main Stage
So, is Bitcoin ready to replace the U.S Dollar? If you listen to pundits like the legendary John McAfee, founder of McAfee Internet Security, then bitcoin is heading toward a million dollars a coin. However, it's highly unlikely that bitcoin will be strong enough to compete on the international stage for global reserve currency status.
The U.S Dollar still reigns supreme for the time being. However, if there we a currency crisis that led to the downfall of the financial system, we could see BTC emerge as a contender for the economic system of the future.