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Time to wake up, Bitcoin is more than just the current price

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Every time Bitcoin or the underlying blockchain technology make headlines in mainstream media, it won’t take long until the journalist starts referring to the Bitcoin price.

We all know that Bitcoin had an unnatural price spike in 2013, partially caused by the failing Mt. Gox exchange. Ever since that time, the Bitcoin price has stabilized again after a long decline. The time has come to move beyond that point in history and focus on what really matters.

Moving beyond the Bitcoin price spike

From a mainstream media perspective, it is not hard to see why journalists would keep referring to the high Bitcoin price in 2013 and the decline that followed afterwards. Most of these journalists have no education on Bitcoin whatsoever, yet they have to make these digital currency-related articles as appealing as possible. Bad news, even if it has been rehashed more time than you can count, will always do well.

What these journalists tend to forget is that, right here and right now, we are still at a spectacular price level. When Bitcoin was originally released back in 2009, there was no value to owning any of these digital coins. There was nothing a person could buy with it, yet somehow several people around the world wanted to get their hands on some.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Every time Bitcoin or the underlying blockchain technology make headlines in mainstream media, it won’t take long until the journalist starts referring to the Bitcoin price.[/tweet_box]

It took until the famous Laszlo Pizza Day before an actual purchase with Bitcoin was made, albeit everything occurred through a third party. From that point forward, it became clear that Bitcoin is  a superior form of transferring funds and value around the world, unlike anything we have ever seen before. Quite a shock, when you consider that Bitcoin is not issued by a government nor by a bank.

Ever since that famous day in Bitcoin history, the price began to creep upwards slowly. People started to buy Bitcoins at one cent per BTC, an unprecedented value at that time. This was all just a handful of years ago, and there was still no sign of more merchants accepting Bitcoin payments because of it.

Fast forward a few years until 2013, and all of a sudden there are quite a few merchants accepting Bitcoin payments. People from all over the world see Bitcoin as an alternative payment method to credit cards and bank transfers, at the fraction of a cost. The Bitcoin price keeps increasing over time, as more and more investors buy BTC from a speculative point of view.

Things took a turn for the worse when the Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world at that time, started showing unnatural price increases all of a sudden. Over the course of three to four weeks, the Bitcoin price more than tripled in value, despite there being no major announcements to speak of. Manipulation by trading bots was working at its finest, and a lot of unknowing investors got trigger happy on executing buy orders at whatever price they could find.

As things go in this world, everything that goes up must come down sooner or later. The Bitcoin price was no exception to that unwritten rule, and the value dropped to the $250 mark in a slow but steady downward spiral. Yet, despite the odds, Bitcoin is not dead, it will not go away, and the community is more vibrant and excited than ever. The reason for that is quite simple: Bitcoin isn’t just about the money, unlike what mainstream media journalists tend to believe.

Bitcoin’s blockchain technology is the next big thing

While mainstream media journalists keep refusing to properly educate themselves on Bitcoin, and rather keep referring to the Bitcoin price, everyone else has moved on. Bitcoin is more than just the price of the associated payment method, as the underlying technology – which powers the entire network – can be adapted to suit any sort of technological need.

Most of the focus for this technology is on the financial sector right now, simply because blockchain technology has proven it can power a completely independent payment network on its own. Transferring funds and value across the world can be achieved within mere seconds, at next to no costs. Plus, there is no additional infrastructure needed, as blockchain technology does not require physical buildings and staff workers in every location it is being used.

There are several regions on this planet where people have no financial services to speak of. Unlike the Western world – which has been spoiled with bank accounts, card payments and now mobile payments -, a large part of Earth’s population has access to none of those services. Truth be told, there is no bank in the world willing to invest in setting up an infrastructure in those regions, simply because the costs do not outweigh the potential profits.

Yet that doesn’t mean there are no banks trying to break ground in these regions. Rather than using their traditional business model, several financial institutions are exploring the possibilities of blockchain technology. Doing so could lead to bringing financial services to the people who need it most, at nearly no cost, all the while being able to serve a global audience.

Other than financial services, blockchain technology can improve every technological aspect of life as we know it. Bringing transparency to our tech-heavy industry will be a major step forward for businesses and consumers. To give you a simple example: blockchain technology can allow customers to verify whether or not the item they want to buy is genuine or not, as they can track the entire manufacturing process through the blockchain.

But there is much more to blockchain technology’s capabilities than just that. Creating proper decentralized social media networks, where no Facebook or Twitter harvests user data, for example. Or how about issuing a digital ID over the blockchain, which is only visible to the owner, unless specifically shared with other users? This digital ID could then be used to register for services, authenticate user accounts and even complete verification procedures.

It is time for mainstream media journalists to wake up and see what is really happening in front of their own eyes. The more they try to fight Bitcoin, the harder the community will fight back. There is no reason to hold Bitcoin down, even though it brings one of the most disruptive technologies to the table. If mainstream media put as much effort into coming up with potential use cases for technology, rather than referring to Bitcoin’s price decline, the world would be a far better place already.

JP Buntinx is a freelance Bitcoin writer and Bitcoin journalist for various digital currency news outlets around the world. Jean-Pierre is an active member of the Belgian Bitcoin Association, and occasionally attends various Bitcoin Meetups in Ghent and Brussels

View all Posts by JP Buntinx

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