Cryptocurrencies have come into their own. For the longest time, the question that everyone would ask was whether their favorite cryptocurrency (usually Bitcoin) would survive in the future?
Today, the question is more of what will become of the cryptocurrencies in vogue and what shape the evolving cryptocurrency market is taking.
We have seen a significant rise of the altcoins, which were previously dismissed as Bitcoin clones.
In May 2017 Ethereum had already surpassed half of Bitcoin’s market capitalization. Coins like Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Dash and others have all seen a phenomenal rise in their prices. So has the cryptocurrency market matured? Are we looking at a new phase in the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
The surge is (un) real
There is no doubt that there is volatility in the cryptocurrency market and what goes up today may go down tomorrow.
However, in the past year Bitcoin and others have been on an onwards and upwards course. For a year since July 7, 2016, Bitcoin has risen from $639 to $2,629 as of July 5, 2017.
However, this phenomenal rise in Bitcoin price and the value of altcoins have also stoked fears of there being a bubble in the markets and one that may burst with disastrous results.
The Economist in an article titled, “A surge in the value of cryptocurrencies provokes alarm” recently observed,
“The question is not if but when the market will turn. Even crypto-aficionados may run for the exits should Bitcoin bifurcate or if one of the ICOs, which are completely unregulated, goes badly wrong—if issuers, for example, abscond with the money. Prices will also suffer should regulators start clamping down on such offerings.”
There is a place for everyone at the table
In the evolution of cryptocurrency markets, where Bitcoin was the undisputed king, there has been a disruption of sorts.
The market share of Bitcoin has taken a hit, and the five top alternative coins or altcoins namely Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash and Monero now make up 20 percent of the market according to technologyreview.com.
They further observe,
“Unless there is significant external manipulation of this market, the likelihood is that there will be significant diversity in the cryptocurrency market for the foreseeable future.”
Here are the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization as of July 6, 2017
Source Coinmarket Cap
Becoming more fiat
As the cryptocurrency markets mature and traders, as well as investors, play out their roles. We will see a stock market like maturity in the crypto world as well.
Talking about cryptocurrency market evolution PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) recently wrote a report about the future threats that cryptocurrencies might encounter,
“In the coming years, we expect more threat-based challenges, such as tax evasion, bribery payments, terrorist financing, and financing counterfeit products, may follow. There have already been glimpses of interest from terrorist groups discussing its uses in chat rooms. Simply put, the technological innovation of cryptocurrency, with its positive attributes, has brought with it the potential that these currencies might take on a more fiat like attribute...The cryptocurrency market continues to grow and mature; we may see liquidity increase. This would lead to tighter bid/ask spreads and significantly reduced exchange fees. It also would reduce price volatility, which would decrease exchange-rate risk and lessen the pressure on risk-averse merchants and consumers to immediately convert cryptocurrency back into fiat currency.”
The report stresses:
“Broadly speaking, increased liquidity would help cryptocurrency develop characteristics that are more like widely accepted fiat currency, rather than those associated with a commodity.”
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