Cryptocurrencies are a relatively new phenomenon, with the first such digital currency, Bitcoin, being released by an unknown source eight years ago, in early 2009. Bitcoin originally cost less than $1 United States Dollar, riding a rollercoaster of upswings and plummets over the past several years. Early last year, the price of Bitcoin didn’t go too far outside of approximately $500 to $900. In the past week, this now-popular cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $3,000 per unit. Nobody reasonably predicted Bitcoin of exceeding $3,000, let alone its lifetime pinnacle of $4,483.55 yesterday, on August 15th, 2017.
While the market cap for Bitcoin – the total dollar value of coins out on the market – has traditionally stayed far lower than major stocks, its cap is slowly reaching that of the publicly traded market. Market capitalization for this delightfully interesting crypto reached $73.5 billion at the same time of the most recent peak, $4,483.
It’s important for investors and people innocently watching cryptocurrency markets to understand that Bitcoin isn’t a bond, stock, or security – it’s a cryptocurrency, a digital form of currency that doesn’t operate in concordance with government banks, as with every major currency in today’s modern world. Another important aspect of cryptocurrency is its unrivaled security, in which transactions are safely encrypted in which no parties other than originating senders and direct recipients can intercept such transfers. This unique combination of transmission based on encryption, alongside their independence from centralized market control, such as changing interest rates or releasing millions of dollars of money into the public market.
Believe it or not – look it up online, if not – if Bitcoin were a stock, it would be ranked 74th in overall market capitalization, riding slightly behind hallmark shares like Netflix and Adobe, coming in at $73.8 and $73.6 billion, respectively. If you’re too lazy to scroll upwards, the market cap of Bitcoin early Tuesday morning was $73.5 billion. One additional upwards surge could cause this popular cryptocurrency to overtake some of the world’s most sought-after, highest-performing stocks.
Does PayPal sound familiar? Shares of the largest online payment servicer in the world are now collectively worse less than Bitcoins. The same can be said for Salesforce, the world’s most popular customer relationship management system, and Costco, North America’s largest wholesale store accessible by everyday consumers.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs foresees a potential high of $7,500 per BTC, as early as 2018 – predictions have proved inaccurate at best, thus far. Only time will tell.