So far, 2017 has been an eventful year for Bitcoin.
The platform recently endured a hard fork that saw it split in two and come out seemingly unscathed. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency has risen from relative obscurity to become a popular topic of discussion in the mainstream, with everyone from Bloomberg to Forbes covering it regularly. The year isn't even over, and bitcoin has reached numerous milestones already, both in terms of its own history and that of cryptocurrency in general.
Overall, Bitcoin seems to be steadily trending upward, with even greater heights predicted for the platform's future. So, how did a cryptocoin originally associated with the internet's darkest corners become a popular contender for the future of financial and other transactions?
Longevity seems to play a factor. After years of trading, the coin has proven itself as here to stay, leading to years of value increases — first a steady rise from 2012 through 2016, and then a more dramatic surge that is still ongoing today.
A cryptocurrency researcher who goes by the Twitter handle "Jack Sparrow" shared a comparative overview of just how fast bitcoin's value has risen.
$0 - $1000: 1789 days
$1000 - $2000: 1271 days
$2000 - $3000: 23 days
$3000 - $4000: 62 days
— ?☠️Jack Sparrow (@jackfru1t) August 13, 2017
After it was created in 2009, bitcoin needed roughly seven years to reach a $2,000 valuation. However, the crypto saw the same level of increase from $2,000 to $4,000 in a matter of just 85 days.
The numbers are backed up, of course, by confidence from larger institutions. Big financial firms like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Fidelity Investments are now invested in the crypto, and nations such as China, Japan, and, more recently, Australia have started considering more permanent roles for cryptocurrencies in their respective economies as well.
All of this large-scale support is giving smaller organizations and individual investors confidence in the crypto.
The growing popularity of blockchain enterprise use has also contributed to the successes of Bitcoin and other platforms. As more institutions in the financial industry and beyond look for ways to utilize the decentralized and secure digital ledger, the cryptocurrencies that spring from these blockchains also get a boost.
Still, even with Bitcoin's seemingly unstoppable successes, experts advise caution. As with any hot item, investing in bitcoin can be risky. Some, such as billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and veteran investor Peter Schiff, even warn that the current cryptocoin craze is simply a "bubble." However, while Schiff claims cryptocurrencies will "never be money," many others think otherwise.
Are we witnessing the beginnings of a truly cashless future? Only time will tell, and as with any revolution, Bitcoin has many hurdles to overcome before it can truly transform our society. Right now, though, the crypto is clearly on the rise.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.