The Year Ahead/Finance

Bitcoin: What’s Coming in the Year Ahead

In order for cryptocurrency to become mainstream, a few things have to happen.
Bitcoin: What’s Coming in the Year Ahead

Bitcoin’s meteoric rise this year has attracted tons of attention, but most institutional investors are still watching from the sidelines, regulators have yet to issue comprehensive rules, and corporations are still mostly testing only blockchain technology. Whether bitcoin matures or crashes will largely depend on how these players' relationship with the cryptocurrency evolves. 

More than 100 cryptocurrency hedge funds have opened in the past two years. Still, bitcoin has big detractors, with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon famously calling it a fraud. On the regulatory front, the latest action from the Securities and Exchange Commission was to say that some digital tokens will be considered securities, but the lack of concrete action against issuers eased concerns that the U.S. would take a tougher stance. The real clampdown came in China and South Korea, whose regulators banned initial coin offerings.

Meanwhile, companies across every industry are looking into bitcoin's underlying technology, blockchain. From such tech giants as Microsoft Corp. to car makers like Toyota Motor Corp. and big banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., everyone is investing in it.

For now, the trend is upward, with bitcoin shrugging off everything from fear of regulation to splits in its blockchain. With regulated exchanges and derivatives trading of the cryptocurrency becoming mainstream, investor interest from day traders to Wall Street banks is likely only to increase. Warnings that bitcoin is a bubble about to burst are also set to get louder.

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