While the hype may have faded a bit, 2015 was still a busy year for bitcoin. Venture capital investments topped $1 billion for the first time. People are finding it easier to invest in the digital currency, thanks to the debut of firms such as Bitcoin Investment Trust. Big financial companies—Nasdaq, American Express and Visa— invested in bitcoin startups, “a game changer in terms of attitude towards the technology,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
So what’s in store for 2016? We’ll probably see the first bitcoin company valued at more than $1 billion, a self-imposed slowdown in new bitcoin production (which will put some miners out of business) and more financial institutions embracing the currency and its technology. The main unknowns are the price, consumer adoption and—as always—the real identity of bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.1
“Should be a revealing year for Bitcoin,” Tim Draper, a venture capitalist who’s bought bitcoins and invested in related startups, wrote in an e-mail.2 “I expect some of the consumer applications to come to light. I expect the U.S. government to finally recognize Bitcoin as a currency. I expect to hear of the first Bitcoin unicorn (Coinbase maybe).”