Updated: Oct 18, 2019
It has been ten years since cryptocurrency made its leap, from being a mere academic concept to a reality with the notable creation of Bitcoin. While the digital currency has made immense strides towards its legitimacy, there are still plenty of countries, governments, industries, enterprises, and end-consumers who do not whole-heartedly support it.
However, several crypto enthusiasts link Bitcoin’s crypto technology to what the internet was in the early 1990s. And, if anything is to be learned from that piece of history, it is that mass adoption is coming at a rapid pace, for this immensely popular cryptocurrency. Research carried out by various cryptocurrency groups, indicates that Bitcoin will become the prevailing currency by 2024.
This article will explain the trajectory Bitcoin is on, reasons behind the claim, and various challenges posed by the coin.
What is the forecasted Bitcoin trajectory?
It is very difficult to peg a precise count on the number of Bitcoin users. However, figures from the Bitcoin Market Journal give a good estimate. It reveals that currently there are 32 million Bitcoin wallets, with 53% of these being used for speculation and long-term investment.
These numbers are expected to swell by 525%, according to a Cambridge study conducted by Dr. Garrick Hileman and Michel Rauchs, by the end of 2024. This means that users of bitcoins shall exponentially to 200 million, by 2024.
By this time, it is also expected that Bitcoin’s purpose would have evolved by including casual consumers, as part of the users. Currently, long-term investors and speculators tend to hoard bitcoins, limiting their supply in the open market. Bitcoin is all set to change this, and allow the coins to be treated as a safe store of value and digital money.
Blockchain tech is on the way to becoming mainstream
Since the inception of Bitcoin in 2009, blockchain tech has come a long way and if Deloitte's recently published “2019 Global Blockchain Survey: Blockchain gets down to business” is to be believed, then blockchains could very well be on their way to mass acceptance.
This only means good things for Bitcoin, since there is a shared recognition across industries and enterprises, which blockchains could very well become the pragmatic solution to common problems, across industry use cases. However, experts still claim that the digital currency won't widely used until it embraces the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bitcoin shall be used to pay for lunch
In the next five years, as per an IMF poll, fewer than 21% of people would be using bank, cash or fiat currency to pay for their meals. Around 56% of people involved in the poll believed, they would effectively use cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoins to pay for their lunch by 2024, while 27% thought through cellphone payment providers.
This survey is successful in reinforcing the belief that many people are already considering bitcoins, to become a part of their everyday lives. And, this can be a real possibility with minor tweaks.
Merchants are adapting and responding
Merchants and vendors on a global level are adapting to the changing tides, as an increasing segment of people wants to use cryptocurrencies, to pay for their consumption. In the last 6 years, the number of businesses accepting bitcoin as a mode of payment has ballooned by more than 700% across the globe, according to a Kaspersky study.
In 2013, the number of businesses accepting bitcoins was 1,789, which skyrocketed to 14,346 venues, in 2018. This growth indicates that by 2024, there’s likely to be more than 1 million merchants accepting bitcoins, as a payment mode.
What are the challenges faced by Bitcoin?
While there is a whole segment of the world that has adopted cryptocurrencies and helped Bitcoin gain new heights, there is another group that is still hesitant to adopt this technology. Ten years ago, Bitcoin was nothing more than a philosophical research paper, touting the development of a new type of currency.
And, the future of this crypto is still uncertain with numerous hurdles in its path to achieving mass adoption, namely volatility, regulatory uncertainty, security concerns, and lack of education.
It is not far-fetched to think that 2024 will be the year when Bitcoin becomes a viable and traditional currency, with over 200 million people expected to use the crypto across a million stores. The asset might just turn into a $5 trillion market in the next five years. Also, blockchains are fast becoming mainstream, which means that more and more people are willing to adopt it.
This may seem difficult to imagine today, as the current market capitalization of Bitcoin stands at roughly $127 billion. Nevertheless, it is expected that Bitcoin is going to follow on the internet’s footsteps to rock the world yet more effectively, in the upcoming years.