Nobody really knows what Bitcoin is other than the guys and girls who spend all their time investing in it.
We uneducated folk are left to read headlines about Bitcoin to try and glean some information out of the jargon to make sense of just what is going on with the currency.
And if you needed any kind of indication as to the scale of Bitcoin, then just wrap your head around the fact that the total value of Bitcoin stands at an unbelievable $160 billion.
Each Bitcoin is worth $9,721, which makes it worth more than IBM, McDonald’s and Disney, according to The Guardian.
The legitimacy of the behemoth cryptocurrency is still uncertain, though Bitcoin is starting to make its way into hedgefund portfolios.
Currently, one single Bitcoin is worth more than seven ounces of gold, though this might change in the coming weeks and months.
The value of Bitcoin has been increasing rapidly in a pattern which looks conspicuously like a bubble.
A bubble is a massive increase in price of any asset or market which massively exceeds the actual value of the commodity.
Think of the housing market, the value for which continues to rise despite downturns in economic activity in other sectors of the economy.
The difference with the housing market bubble is that there doesn’t seem to be any visible signs of it popping, likely due to the relative stability of the need for houses.
The same can’t be said of the currency, and its humongous spike in value this year – of over 1,000% – doesn’t give a positive forecast for the future of the currency over time.
This might not be the case, however, as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is planning to launch Bitcoin futures in December.
A futures trade is a trade of a standardised commodity with promises on delivery time and with a standardised price.
Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, told The Guardian:
The legitimacy this gives Bitcoin as a tradeable asset is very important. The market cap of Bitcoin now exceeds that of IBM, Disney [or] McDonald’s…
But for traditionalists, it’s hard to fathom. Rather than a commodity or currency, Bitcoin is like owning stock in a company that will only ever issue 21 million shares and never pay a penny in dividends.
The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it – the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble.
Bitcoin's market cap just passed Disney's.
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) November 26, 2017
But Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM said the currency was showing no signs of slowing.
Sayed said the value of the coin is linked to the number of users opening new wallets in the market, of which there is massive room for growth.
Given that numbers of users haven’t exceeded 0.1% of the global population, there’s still more potential for this momentum trade to continue.
Whether the price will be justified in the foreseeable future, depends on the adoption and the application of the new currency, but so far it still looks unstoppable.
At $160 billion, Bitcoin's market cap just passed GE's.
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) November 27, 2017
There are currently 16.7 million units in circulation, with a total value of $160 billion.