The Bitcoin space hasn’t looked this bullish since early 2014. Riding on the coattails of the current hype around blockchain technology engulfing the financial sector, Bitcoin is not only reaching yearly highs in price, but public interest has also spiked as of late. But is news of “the real Satoshi” the only reason for the resurgence or are we entering the next phase of technology adoption?
Also read: 5 Reasons Why the Bitcoin Price Will Rise in 2016
A Bitcoin Renaissance?
Last year, the pendulum of interest swung towards Bitcoin’s underlying technology as 2015 was dubbed the “Year of the Blockchain.” Banking giants formed consortiums and research groups to study the technology as the term became a buzzword synonymous with financial innovation.
Wall St. veteran Tone Vays, who attended the recent Consensus event in New York, confirmed as much. “The overall sentiment was pretty high but is was clear that the focus of the tech has fully shifted to blockchain,” he told Bitcoin.com. “There were almost no discussions of Bitcoin itself. This is a bit unfortunate as there are a few people that see Bitcoin as being the only blockchain of relevance and those presenters were few and far between.”
However, the irony of the situation is that as incumbent financial giants tout their blockchain ambitions, Bitcoin’s credibility also gets a boost in the eyes of the public, particularly in tandem with a rising price. This results in a positive feedback loop where increased public interest results in more and more people becoming informed on the topic, ultimately leading to the realization that Bitcoin is the most secure, most popular and the most valuable public blockchain in existence today.
For example, recent searches for “Bitcoin” on Google Trends reveal soaring interest worldwide not seen since 2013:
Admittedly, the spike in Google searches also coincides with recent news of Australian professor Craig Wright’s dubious claims of being Bitcoin’s “creator,” Satoshi Nakamoto. But as irrelevant as this identity of the creator ultimately is, the allure of this mystery has probably attracted more interest from the public than any Bitcoin seminar to date. Either way, be it bank-fueled blockchain hype or a Satoshi impostor, any publicity is turning out to be good publicity for Bitcoin.
Moreover, as headlines from a couple year’s ago of teenagers becoming millionaires and six-figure pizzas are still fresh in people’s minds, the public might view this new uptrend as a second chance to benefit from the upward price momentum.
Some other notable factors feeding into this trend include:
- Regulatory landscape taking shape;
- The looming halvening (i.e. less supply);
- Ecosystem maturation (more user-friendly services);
- Warming media coverage;
- Miners getting a better return with higher prices;
- More dependable exchanges (Kraken, Coinbase etc.) rolling out easier ways to buy.
Where We are on the Adoption Curve
A striking resemblance can be seen when looking at a graph of the technology adoption lifecycle and the Bitcoin price graph (see charts below).
First, we can almost trace the Bitcoin price bubble seen in early 2014 over the “peak of inflated expectation” in the Hype Cycle graph. Next, the 2015 BTC price lows appear to coincide with the “Trough of Disillusionment” as blockchain technology clearly overshadowed Bitcoin last year causing a dip below the $200 mark.
But now the gradual upward “slope of enlightenment” trend-line, which can be drawn directly from September 2015’s price trough, appears to confirm that the early majority phase might finally be emerging.
Additionally, the global Bitcoin technology market is estimated to grow at a healthy CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.26% in the next five years, according to a new report from Research and Markets, which noted a “booming” industry that includes exchanges, remittance services, payment and wallet services as well as mining, entertainment and media.
‘Digital Commodity Arms Race’
What’s more is that some governments are already keen on Bitcoin. Going by the nickname of “virtual gold,” it could very well become a strategic global asset for the digital age moving forward.
For example, jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man—dubbed ‘Bitcoin Island’—have been keen on becoming a digital currency hub. While more recently, the municipality of Zug, Switzerland, has started trialling the acceptance of bitcoin for public services.
Admittedly, Bitcoin’s current $7 billion dollar market cap is still a drop in the global economy’s bucket. But if there is indeed an awakening taking place, as co-founder CEO of Gyft, Vinny Lingham puts it, and “governments decided to own a piece of the limited 21m [bitcoin],” it could spark “a digital commodity race,” driving the market cap skywards.
Interestingly, Money Week’s Charlie Morris echoed this sentiment, explaining why he’s buying bitcoin:
You should treat this as a cheap growth stock. At $450, the ‘network value’ of bitcoin is around $7bn. If it goes mainstream, it’ll give the FANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) a run for their money.
Whether you believe Bitcoin is bigger than the invention of the internet or it’s already dead is up to you. However, the current optimism around an alternative Bitcoin economy is palpable. And as confidence in the traditional economy is once again shaken by the latest economic data, it is no surprise that more and more people are looking into the Bitcoin alternative whose genesis block reads: “the Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
Do you think Bitcoin is entering the next adoption phase? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of setandbma.wordpress.com, Coincap.io, Google Trends, Shutterstock, Insidebitcoins.com