3 Dangers that Could Hit Bitcoin in 2019
How things could go horribly awry for cryptocurrency this year.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
You know that cryptocurrency is a high-risk business. You know that the value of Bitcoin is now barely a fifth of what it was at its peak. You know that billions of dollars' worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen from hacked exchanges. And you know that regulators are looking at the crypto world and trying to figure out what sort of rules to impose on its users.
If you wanted an easy investment, you'd have chosen property.
But Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could well represent the future. Global, cheap to use, impossible to defraud, and built for the modern age, there's every reason to believe that they're not going to disappear. There are however, three risks that are often overlooked:
1. The Value Won't Rise
The sudden boom in Bitcoin's value at the end of 2017 made everyone assume that Bitcoin's natural direction was upwards. It doesn't have to be. In fact, if Bitcoin is to function as a currency, it needs to be relatively stable otherwise sellers won't accept it and buyers won't give it. You might hope that your Bitcoin holdings will become more valuable over time but there's a good chance that at some point the coin will start trading within a very narrow band. (We're already starting to see signs of that now.)
If you bought above that band, then you'll lose money. If you bought below it, you'll have earned your profits. And if you hold on to your currency, you'll be able to use it to buy goods as retailers come back to Bitcoin.
2. A Better Coin Might Come Along
Bitcoin might still make up more than half the value of the entire cryptocurrency market but it's not the only digital coin available. Coinmarketcap lists more than 2,000 different coins and tokens. While those coins have been created to meet particular uses, as long as Bitcoin struggles with scaling and block sizes, it will always be vulnerable to users switching to a more efficient alternative.
If that that happens, you'd need to make the shift too--and know that cryptocurrency now has a coin that's even better than Bitcoin.
3. The Banks Take Over
In November last year, Bank of America won a patent for storing cryptocurrency data. For all of the disdain that conventional banks has shown towards cryptocurrencies, it's clear that institutions are also showing a quiet interest in digital coins, and especially in their ease of transfer.
That does more than threaten the autonomy that makes cryptocurrencies so attractive. If the banks start acting as the main gateways for exchanges and transfers, current exchanges will start to feel the pressure.
Make sure that if the banks do pick up cryptocurrency services and your exchange goes down, you're able to remove any assets you've stored there. You should always have access to your cryptocurrency wallet and be able to move your currency even without your current exchange.
Cryptocurrency might be a relatively risky niche but not all of the dangers are damaging. If Bitcoin stabilizes, is replaced by a better coin, or picked up by banks then cryptocurrencies will be well on the way to universal usage.