Op / Ed

The Cryptocurrency Wild West

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard Bitcoin mentioned by someone or read about it in a paper or magazine.  Because of Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in the past month, it has become an extremely hot topic.  Many people are calling it a bubble, but the truth is that nobody knows what the future holds for this currency / commodity.

Have you invested in Bitcoin?  I invested unwittingly in July of 2016 by buying a small portion of Bitcoin (you do not have to buy whole bitcoins, you can buy a fraction of a bitcoin) in order to purchase a Hungarian domain name.  I wanted to purchase this domain anonymously and so I thought Bitcoin might be an interesting way to do so.

Bitcoin made quite a name for itself a few years ago by being the main currency used on Silk Road, a massive black market of drugs, weapons, and hitmen.  Since Bitcoin is relatively anonymous and untraceable depending on how you set up your wallet and obtain your bitcoin, the black market was a great place for this internet currency to thrive.

However, once people started to invest in the currency properly, it began to creep upwards in value.  Media mentions and big name investors jumping into the pool meant that FOMO ruled the day (fear of mission out) and many people jumped aboard the bandwagon.

Thanks to Coinbase making it relatively easy and fast (depending on the day) to purchase Bitcoin, it was easy for anyone with an iPhone and the Coinbase app to purchase Bitcoin with a credit card or bank account.  Thanks to the holiday rush Bitcoin rose to incredible heights, jumping from 6000 to almost 20,000 in a matter of weeks.

Bitcoin has since pulled back, but is still hovering around 14,000.

Besides Bitcoin there are other currencies and coins, dubbed “altcoins”.  The biggest at the moment are Litecoin and Ethereum.  Both of these coins also made huge jumps in recent weeks along with Bitcoin.  And now Ripple is making headlines with its recent run up from .25 to 2.50 USD.

Are these currencies here to stay or are they a huge bubble, a la the dot com bubble of the 90’s?  The truth is nobody knows.  I personally have invested a small amount of money into the various coins on the markets.  It’s a lot more fun than the stock market, although not nearly as safe or stable.  Although stock prices can jump or fall, they are not as volatile as the cryptocurrency markets.  However, there is a much greater chance of making big gains in crypto, and that is what is making it very attractive to a lot of people at the moment.

I will not attempt to make any prediction as to the future course of the markets, however I am definitely along for the ride.

If you’re looking for information on how to buy Bitcoin and other altcoins, then check out my guide on how to buy Bitcoin as well as how to buy Ripple and how to buy altcoins.

The cryptocurrency exchanges are a bit mixed up right now, but it’s kind of fun as it’s truly the wild west, and those are the most fun times to be a part of any new technology.

Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon has been writing on tech and malware subjects for 6 years and has been working in the internet and tech industry for over 15 years. He currently lives in Southern California.

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