Cryptocurrencies: a monetary and technological revolution or just another bubble whose burst is round the corner? While the currency itself is volatile, its current popularity and wide acceptance point to a future different than what was projected just a few years ago. Certainly, 2017 was the year of the crypto, with transactions in the first half alone surpassing the $325 billion mark and daily trades exceeding $2 billion at their highest point. The current market value for crypto is estimated at $589 billion, with over 1300 currencies currently in play, about two dozen of which have a market cap over $1 billion.
Crypto’s decentralization and 24/7 availability are its main selling points: no more waiting for the banks to open, no middleman to increase transaction costs and direct control over a transaction. This is all due to blockchain technology and its efficiency and safety. Blockchain itself is set to make a revolution of its own in the future.
Bitcoin is the current crypto king but Ripple’s XRP is preparing to unseat it. The pretender can settle 1000 transactions per second compared to Bitcoin’s 7 and do it at much lower fees. There are also several “national cryptocurrencies” in development, planned to exist alongside current national currency in online transactions or even replace them fully. Some works in progress include Russia’s government-controlled CryptoRuble or Venezuela’s oil, gold and gas reserve-backed Petro.