Bitcoin has been around since 2009. It uses blockchain and cryptography technology as its platform so that transactions are made with no middlemen. This makes it decentralized. Meaning, no banks!
Another benefit of bitcoin is that international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins are not tied to any country or government. Unlike international bank transfers, it is low-cost and almost instantaneous. What’s more, the payments are irreversible which removes the threat of expensive charge-backs.
In some parts of the world, bitcoin is still a more efficient and cheaper way to transfer money across borders. However, it should be noted that in recent years, bitcoin’s fees have increased due to improved traditional channels and liquidity remains a problem in some countries.
In the past several years, traders, investors, and savers have jumped on the bitcoin train due to such benefits and its future potential. Some feel more comfortable holding a part of their wealth in securely-stored bitcoin, where a central authority cannot block access or take a cut.
The value of bitcoin has dramatically increased since 2010 (from $0.39 to $20,000 in December of 2017). Regulators currently view bitcoin as an investment asset. The price has dropped from this all-time high to about $8500 as of this writing due to regulation and fear in the market. Only the future can tell where the price of bitcoin will be.
Today a number of large and small retailers accept bitcoin or other coins as a form of payment. Bitcoin is being accepted by more and more companies and can be used to book hotels on Expedia, shop for furniture on Overstock and even buy Xbox games. Due to these factors, the price of bitcoin is steadily climbing.
Index: Industries affected by blockchain.