Bitcoin was established in 2009 as the first cryptocurrency and immediately faced deep backlash from mainstream entities, including the business and financial sectors, as well as in the social zeitgeist. Fast forward to a little over a decade later, Bitcoin has reached a market cap of over $1 trillion USD in early 2021, with investors from all around the world. Bitcoin has since seen significant development, rising to now appear on the balance sheets of national financial institutions and globally recognized technology companies. Claimed by its early supporters to be a beacon of innovation for the future, it is already changing the ways in which payments are carried out for a variety of transactions. Bitcoin is proving to fulfill the promises that were made with its inception; as Dogecoin and other altcoins begin their ascent, the community of crypto enthusiasts grows into the mainstream.
Bitcoin’s Road to Legitimacy
It was an uphill battle for Bitcoin to reach where it is today, beginning with its first economic transaction in 2010 at a Papa John’s for no more than two pizzas. This $25 transaction required 10,000 Bitcoins, which would carry a value of over $600 million in early 2021. These first transactions occurred through arbitrary negotiations on internet forums in exchange for goods and services. The door for adoption growth truly opened when Bitcoin became available on public exchanges. As companies, universities, and payment providers slowly began accepting Bitcoin as a form of currency, the mid 2010s were the setting for the slow but sure growth of cryptocurrency on a global scale. Amidst this growth, the cryptocurrency faced intense criticism; complaints of it being a bubble or a fraud were not uncommon and the cryptocurrency struggles to shake many of these judgments to this day, despite its current record-breaking success.
Opening Doors for Other Cryptocurrencies
The success of bitcoin has paved the way for other digital coins, such as Dogecoin, to begin their ascent into the cryptocurrency ranks. Dogecoin was initially created satirically in 2013 and has recently garnered backing from public figures including Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. Based on the popular meme of a Shiba Inu dog, the cryptocurrency gained traction on internet forums and was predominantly used for giving creators micro-rewards. As the ‘memecoin’ pushes for its legitimacy as a cryptocurrency, it faces an easier trek due to the existing recognition of Bitcoin.
Juxtaposed with the wide usability and acceptance of Bitcoin as a currency, Dogecoin currently lacks mainstream utility, except for holding value and its use for micro-transactions. This can also be attributed to its unlimited supply of coins in circulation, which minimizes its ability to gain value in a way that Bitcoin has exemplified. Despite these differences, Dogecoin has managed to gain acceptance quicker than Bitcoin: a tough pill to swallow for many critics that viewed Dogecoin as a mockery of the mission of cryptocurrency. However, the ascent of Dogecoin has largely benefitted the crypto community by introducing and educating a wider, more diverse audience on the necessity for coins with alternate utility.
Criticisms Proven Wrong
Throughout the entirety of its history, Bitcoin has endured great critiques despite its bull runs and permeance into the mainstream. This includes common statements such as “Bitcoin is a bubble”, lack of mainstream utility, and that it isn’t tangible and therefore does not actually have value.
Bitcoin is a bubble: A bubble is an economic cycle during which there is an unsustainable rise in value - which results in a pop. This is when investors realize the asset is overvalued, and the value quickly drops, leaving holders with steep losses. Bitcoin has cycled between bull and bear markets since its inception, with each bull run achieving higher records than the last. These cycles are common for newer technologies, especially disruptors like Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has no real utility: Those who hold this opinion often misunderstand that the inherent value of cryptocurrency is that it provides a mechanism for making direct payments without an intermediary, which has allowed many startups to create systems of payment that are more equitable than the current remittance financial structures. It has also proven itself for over more than a decade that it is an effective hedge against inflation.
Bitcoin lacks tangible value: While it is not backed by fiat dollars or physical assets, Bitcoin has a finite amount of coins in circulation which shelters it from inflation. This ensures that the coin cannot lose its value or depreciate, and is supported by miners who secure the system through their computational power.
Each of these statements attempted to incite doubt in the minds of early crypto adopters, however it is clear that it was unsuccessful given that the coin is now widely accepted in the mainstream. Companies have added it to their balance sheets, countries have made it legal tender, and it is accepted as payment from more and more firms from all around the world. The support behind Bitcoin can no longer be shadowed by false criticisms in the media.
How Bitcoin has Proven its Longevity
Bitcoin paved the way for the now booming altcoin market to begin its ascent, yet as altcoins walk the path towards legitimacy that Bitcoin is still fighting for, the media continues to question the long-term vision for Bitcoin. These ‘memecoins’, which were built upon the foundations laid by Bitcoin, have achieved varying levels of support. However, many of the most experienced enthusiasts learn about the differences between all of the different market alternatives and recognize their benefits. All coins are created for their own purpose, respectively, with memecoins often in a completely different category than Bitcoin. Dogecoin has inadvertently helped garner more widespread support for Bitcoin, which has not only proven that it can rise, but that it will continue to infiltrate untapped markets as the most reliable and mainstream cryptocurrency.
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