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Bitcoin the cryptocurrency was released in 2009. Whilst tracking a volatile course for years, with serious peaks and equally serious troughs, it's now clear to see that Bitcoin's value is destined to be in the 5 digits, at least. The year 2017 was the pivotal year for Bitcoin, as it's not only turned exponential, but it's also turned the corner in the investors' confidence stakes.
Thanks to its ever-burgeoning value and, let's be honest, in large part to the announcement that Bitcoin will be tradeable as futures on several platforms, Bitcoin will be the focus of countless institutional investors going forward, most of whom have been chomping at the bit for some time to buy Bitcoin but were unable to, on account of rules and regulations.
Nothing is holding back the Big Money now. And with this in mind, the general consensus is that Bitcoin's future valuation will leave its current one in the dust.
But let's take a step back. What actually is Bitcoin? Where did it come so suddenly? And is Bitcoin really going to replace our normal money, as some people are claiming?
Bitcoin is what's known as a virtual currency, a digital currency, conceived by Satoshi Nakamoto, a crypto expert with an aim to end the hegemony of fiat money and the man-made problems that come with it.
As its names imply, a virtual/digital currency isn't like the paper money or change in your wallet - it's money that's transacted solely by means of computers. Now, whilst baby-boomers are finding it pretty difficult to wrap their heads around most things digital, Bitcoin being no exception, Millennials have intuitively embraced Bitcoin wholesale. This fact is one of the many that portends Bitcoin's imminent ubiquity.
But what's the cause of Bitcoin's rapid ascension? The reason Bitcoin is gaining in value is manifold. For starters, Bitcoin is capped at a maximum of 21 million pieces. This means that anyone holding Bitcoin will literally gain in purchasing power as compared to most fiat currencies in the world. After all, fiat money is subject to never-ending inflation.
You could even say that fiat's core principle is to always inflate. Governments and bankers like to say that Inflation is the grease that keeps an economy going. Whilst noble in objective, the flip-side of inflation is that it hollows out the value of money, particularly savings, pensions, any capital that is not being spent. Your money loses purchasing power every year it's idling on a bank or a fund.
Bitcoin intends to change this system for the better.
Bitcoin is superior to fiat, because Bitcoin is decentralized; it isn't governed by one single party, such as a central bank. Instead it runs on a network of thousands of computers and is governed by a programmed consensus-driven protocol, the Blockchain. "The premise is that there will be transparency in transactions and no third party deciding the value. The system and user decides the value,” says Abhishek Gopal, co-founder and CEO of ThroughBit.
A computer-regulated money makes sense in this day and age. Computers have been controlling our airliners and are now beginning to even control our cars. Next, money: Bitcoin.
Best of all, apart from being a suitable global currency that can do away with banking fees, currency conversion fees, remittance fees etc, Bitcoin, on account of its inherent scarcity, has proven to be an extremely suitable store of value as well, better in many ways than even gold. Some analysts are forecasting a time when Bitcoin will have a bigger market capitalization than gold!
Of course banks and all other Fiance incumbents dismiss bitcoin outright, frequently using the same hackneyed scare tactics over and over in a vain attempt to push Bitcoin back into obscurity. But asking one of the "old boys" of banking what he thinks of Bitcoin is akin to asking a traditional travel agent what it thinks of Booking.com.
Predictably, established actors in any industry will have nothing but bad things to say about their disruptors. Why? They're protecting their turf, their income, their very existence. Train industrialists didn't like them fangled flying machines. Postal workers trash-talked email at every turn. And the car industry hates Tesla. What else is new?
But disruption never ends. And Bitcoin too, is unstoppable. The Bitcoin genie is well and truly out of the bottle. It's just too good to not have in today's world. I mean, let's face it, it's the tsunami of liquidity that was partly responsible for the last financial crisis, i.e. governments debasing their currencies.
Incidentally, this debasing of currencies, fancily termed quantitative easing, is continuing to this day.
No such misuse with Bitcoin.
To be sure, Bitcoin is a new development and, as such, will be laboring under teething problems, just like the Internet had its own adolescence issues, all of which, ultimately, have been resolved. The internet is flourishing and the world is flourishing with it. And Bitcoin will flourish too.
So yes, Bitcoin will likely become the currency of the future. Peer to peer money, decentralized, immutable, uncensorable and indisputable. And a safe have store of value to boot.
In terms of Singapore, Bitcoin is likely to play a crucial part in Singapore's journey to Smart Nation prominence. FinTech and Bitcoin are here to stay.
Click Bitcoin in Singapore if you want to know more.
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