Is Bitcoin Just A Bubble That Will Burst In 2019 Or Really A Worthwhile Investment?
The world was surprised by stories grand success by people who became overnight millionaires due to riding technological innovations. The mainstream media picked-up the story of the Bitcoin and the bright future full of possibilities for the cryptocurrency. It was initially launched around 9 years ago, increased its value by leaps and bounds and did not seem to touch the ceiling. Today, the reality is very different: its value has dropped by 75% and now a Bitcoin is worth less than €4,000 when it reached around 17,000 a little over a year ago .
Why has this happened? “Bitcoin was launched less than a decade ago and is at a very early stage, its software is not even 1.0,” said Leif Ferreira, CEO of Bit2Me, which attributes the large increases. “To the great media attention, which attracted a lot of people who came in for the speculative part,” emphasized Marc Rocas, a researcher in blockchain technology (the very technology behind cryptocurrencies) in the Open University of Catalonia (UCO). He also agrees that “we are in a very early stage” of the market of this new currency. Since its launch in 2009, the behavior of bitcoin has had large ups and downs. “This is because the market is still very small and, therefore, very easy to manipulate,” explains Ferreira, who has been dedicated to this type of technology with his company for more than 4 years.
“The volatility is so high that any news can cause big changes in the price,” he added. The media and the gurus of the economy talked about the future and the possibilities of Bitcoin, which made many people -some, with little knowledge about investments- decide to buy to speculate. “Speculation distorts reality,” reflects Rocas. “We find false expectations and a lot of noise, it is difficult to distinguish between the real actors in the sector and people who only want to make money.”
“Speaking of a bubble in the case of bitcoin with such a small capitalization can be exaggerated,” stresses the UOC expert, who cites a possible “stage of disappointment” in which many investors have decided to sell after the fever last year. Ferreira predicts that the value of the currency will rise again “thanks to the solid industrial fabric that is being created around the cryptocurrencies and their technology”. If a year ago buying this type of currency was an arduous task for an average user without technological knowledge, now it has changed a lot. “The facility to get hold of bitcoins will cause another moment of fever and the maximum that can reach at that time will give fear,” he says. And, after that, another fall. “This will begin to stabilize little by little,” he calculates.
The two experts agree that the technology that bitcoin uses will be extended in the future: “The blockchain is going to be maintained thanks to the fact that the problems it has now will be solved,” says Rocas, which predicts a future simplification: “Always I make a comparison with the Internet books of the 90s, in which there was a large amount of technical vocabulary One of the points to improve by the industry is to explain it easily [to users] .”
Bitcoin is the most famous, but it is not the only cryptocurrency available: Ethereum, litecoin, ripple … are just some of the more than a thousand cryptocurrencies that are currently operating in the market, whose behavior tends to follow the leader: “There is usually a lot of correlation, when the bitcoin rises, the others also -and in a more amplified way-, and vice versa,” said Rocas. “That there are many cryptocurrencies is good, a broth of brutal culture of innovation thanks to that diversity,” adds Ferreira, although he does not rule out that “many stay on the road”.
With all this data: is it advisable to invest in bitcoins? “We encourage people to invest to test the experience and learn to use the tool, not on a speculative level,” says the CEO of Bit2Me. “The basic rule for any investment is not to put more money than you can give for lost.” The UOC researcher adds that “There is an investment culture associated with cryptocurrencies that is good for learning technology, but it is not necessary to invest with a profit motive, it is not a safe investment environment and it is very difficult to know what is going to go with the value in the future. “