Bitcoin has performed pretty well in 2015 after a volatile stretch between 2012 and 2014. The price has remained consistently above $200, and in recent months has hovered near the $400 mark at times. This has lead many to feel bullish about the cryptocurrency’s prospects for the coming year. Some are predicting the price could reach $600 or higher in 2016, while others don’t see gains moving quite as steadily. But the truth is, the pure value of Bitcoin is now only part of the conversation about where it’s heading.
The other questions about the future involve the different ways in which Bitcoin and its underlying technology can be used, and how industries stemming off of cryptocurrency will develop. Acceptance of Bitcoin and implementation of its blockchain transaction tracking method have as much to do with the currency’s success as its actual price point. And we can’t say for sure where any of this is headed, but there are a few indications as to what we can expect in 2016.
Banks Will Use The Blockchain
The Bitcoin blockchain has proven to be the most significant aspect of the whole cryptocurrency movement when it comes to widespread usage potential. Simply put, the idea of an automatic, all-inclusive ledger to record transactions makes for a more transparent way of doing things. And according to reports, banks could integrate the technology as early as next year. This could be done in numerous ways. For instance, there’s some talk in Europe of a united group of central banks using the blockchain on a large scale, whereas some banks in the U.S. want to use a similar technology in a more private capacity, for their own efficiency and accuracy. In both cases, however, the very technology that makes Bitcoin transactions appealing to so many could make its way into banking systems.
Governments May Accept Bitcoin
Just as banks are adopting the blockchain, some governments around the world may be on the verge of accepting Bitcoin itself. As of now, categorically, governments do not accept Bitcoin as a transactional currency between an individual and the state. Bitcoin is not prohibited, but it is not treated as a viable currency where official government payments are concerned. However, some governments with struggling economies are showing signs of being forced into recognition of Bitcoin. In Argentina, much has been written about the influx of Bitcoin vendors due to an unreliable national currency. And in Greece, it’s been suggested that Bitcoin could become the national currency if the “Grexit”—a Greek exit from the European Union—actually takes place. Nothing official has happened yet, but it certainly appears as if Bitcoin is showing legit
imate disruptive potential in struggling economies as citizens seek alternatives to ordinary currency.
More Businesses Will Emerge
As time goes on, more and more businesses will accept Bitcoin as a payment option. But this category is actually referring to businesses that will be created as a result of the continued spread of Bitcoin and blockchain relevance. With people growing more accustomed to this technology, there are a number of Bitcoin-related startups that have sprung up to facilitate Bitcoin payments, help with Bitcoin storage, and use blockchain-like technologies for various concepts that have nothing to do with digital currency. This is a trend we’ll certainly see more of in 2016.
Even if bullish predictions for Bitcoin’s value prove to be false, these are developments that now feel inevitable. The cryptocurrency and its technologies are becoming more relevant, and will continue to do so in the coming year.