If anything, Bitcoin is well known for its volatility. The price of Bitcoin has gone from $0.09 to an all-time high of $65,000 in November 2021, which has dropped to $26,000 as of writing this.
Have you ever wondered what makes Bitcoin’s price rise or crash? There are a lot of factors influencing Bitcoin’s price. In this blog, we will understand why its value varies from time to time and what causes sudden price swings.
Unlike fiat currencies, Bitcoin is neither issued nor backed by any central entity like a bank or government. Thus, inflation and economic growth measurements have little to no impact on the price of a Bitcoin. Instead, the price of a Bitcoin is determined by the following factors:
Bitcoin’s price is significantly determined by its supply and demand. If demand cannot match the supply, its price will increase and vice versa. By design, Bitcoin’s supply is predictable. We know that only 21 million Bitcoins will ever exist on the network. This makes it scarce and valuable.
Throughout its history, Bitcoin has attracted the attention of giant institutional investors, business owners, and companies by being in the headlines for huge price swings. It has also gained popularity in countries with weak financial systems. For instance, El Salvador became one of the first countries to adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender in 2021. During that period, Bitcoin’s price peaked as the demand was significantly higher than its supply.
Bitcoin’s demand can increase along with its utility. When large institutions, including banks, investment firms, and other business entities, adopt Bitcoins, the price may rise due to an increase in demand and credibility as a leading cryptocurrency. As of today, over 15,000 businesses, including giant corporations like Microsoft, Etsy, and NewEgg, already accept Bitcoins. As more businesses start accepting Bitcoin, its popularity will grow, and so will the price.
Over 22,904 cryptocurrencies have emerged since the inception of Bitcoin. Approximately 8,832 are still active. Although Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, its market cap has reduced by 30% since 2017. That’s primarily because newer currencies like Ethereum are just as secure as Bitcoin but consume a lot less energy to secure the network. (See our full comparison between Ethereum and Bitcoin.)
Many investors have started diversifying their portfolios by investing in multiple cryptocurrencies, which also reduces Bitcoin’s market cap. With time, Bitcoin’s competition is only getting fiercer. Despite that, it is still a widely accepted cryptocurrency with a market cap of about 50%. However, if its demand decreases due to the competition, it may start losing value and vice versa.
Government laws and regulations play a vital role in Bitcoin’s growth and adoption. A few countries, for instance, have completely banned the use of cryptocurrencies. On the flip side, there are countries like Germany and Switzerland that encourage the use of crypto by offering tax benefits and a lenient regulatory framework. (Also see: How crypto is regulated around the world?)
Favorable regulations and a clear set of guidelines can accelerate Bitcoin’s adoption and drive its price. However, if governments decide to ban Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it may hinder its growth and adversely affect its price.
Bitcoin is far from perfect. Mining Bitcoin is energy-intensive, and it can only handle 7-10 transactions per second. To overcome Bitcoin’s existing limitations, the Lightning Network was released in 2018. It stretches Bitcoin’s capacity from 7 transactions per second to millions. What’s more, the Lightning Network reduces the transaction time from 10 minutes to a few seconds and also enables micropayments.
The Lightning Network is considered to be the biggest upgrade in the history of Bitcoin. Now, Bitcoin payments are faster, more efficient, and can be as small as 0.00026 USD. Such technological adoptions can positively influence Bitcoin’s price by maximizing its utility and fostering greater demand.
New coins are introduced into the network by a process called Bitcoin Mining. Miners use their computing power to verify transactions by solving an extremely complex mathematical problem. The one who successfully cracks the code first gets to add the next block on the blockchain. For every successful block added, the miner receives a reward in the form of Bitcoins.
Bitcoin mining requires expensive equipment and can cost a significant amount of electricity. As more participants join the network, the hashpower of the network increases accordingly. This eventually makes mining difficult. Miners have to continue upgrading their equipment to match the mining difficulty. Ultimately, this increases the cost of mining.
For miners to continue their operations, it is important that the value of Bitcoin is enough to offset their expenses. And because miners are crucial for Bitcoin to function, its price will go up as long as there is demand for the Bitcoin blockchain.
Despite all the ups and downs, Bitcoin has retained its value over the long haul. A single dollar invested in Bitcoin in 2009 would be worth over $45,000,000 today. On the contrary, the US dollar has declined by 96% since 1913.
Several big institutions and publicly traded companies hold about 250,000 Bitcoins on their balance sheets, and the numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. Michael Saylor, chairman of Microstrategy, one of the largest independent publicly traded analytics and business intelligence companies, believes that Bitcoin is the future of money. Boldly enough, they converted a good part of their cash reserves into Bitcoin and are constantly increasing their investments.
If you, too, are seeking to invest in Bitcoin or make it your primary mode of payment, download Speed Bitcoin Lightning Wallet today. It’s completely free to use, and there are no transaction fees whatsoever. You can send and receive as many Bitcoins as you please at no cost. With an intuitive UI and bank-grade security, Speed Wallet can make your day-to-day Bitcoin transactions a breeze. It’s available for both Android and iOS. Download now to experience Bitcoin transactions at the speed of light.
There are several factors that cause Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies to rise and fall. For instance, if the supply can’t meet the demand, its price will rise and vice versa. Other than this, factors such as government regulations, institutional investment, and technological developments also contribute to a cryptocurrency’s price fluctuations.
Like other cryptocurrencies, the price of Bitcoin is highly volatile. In 2021, it reached an all-time high of $68,789. While the price has declined since then, it’s almost impossible to predict when it will rise again or how high it can go.
As of writing this, Bitcoin’s price is $27,671. However, it is highly volatile and hence can vary from time to time.
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