It was one of the biggest hypes of 2017: bitcoin. Bitcoin made a spectacular price increase in 2017. It culminated in a climax in December, when the price almost doubled. In seventeen days the price of a bitcoin went from $ 10,732 (over 9,200 euros) to 19,000 dollars.
Many people invested an amount themselves or knew someone who invested in digital coins. Every week, journalists wrote a story about young boys who had become millionaires by buying bitcoins years ago.
But after December the blow came. The price of the bitcoin collapsed. Since then, the price of the digital currency meanders between $ 6,000 and nearly $ 10,000. There seems to be a downward trend. The hefty price movements of half a year ago have disappeared. Is that also the hype of the fast money over?
Teunis Brosens, economist at ING, closely follows the developments surrounding crypto coins and blockchain and, according to him, attention for the currency has disappeared. He sees, among other things, that the attitude among customers has changed.
A half to three-quarters of a year ago there was still a lot of enthusiasm among customers about buying bitcoin. Now they ask critical questions more often. “I think there’s a bit of realism, too: it’s all fantastic, that new technology, but what can we do with it and where is it going?”
Mike Hutting, owner at trading platform BTC Direct, also sees that the hype of December is over. The record sales he made in November, December and January are history. Now he is about 25 percent of those months. But the interest in bitcoin has not yet completely evaporated. For example, he says he has more turnover than in the same months a year ago and he points out that new so-called wallets are still being made.
Via Blockchain.info you can see that the pace has dropped considerably. Furthermore, much is still being done. The trade volume declined steadily after a peak in December, but there is still as much trade as in the summer of 2017.
“The initial feeling was that this is a fantastic technology and that it will take over the world,” says Brosens. Now it turns out that the technique behind cryptocurrencies is still insufficient to make the bitcoin an efficient payment method.
Furthermore, the novelty is simply off, according to the economist. Last year the coin broke through and the subject was extremely interesting for the media and the general public, but after a while interest disappears. Through Google Trends it can be seen that in the Netherlands at the moment about as much is searched for on the term ‘Bitcoin’ as about a year ago. But the interest seems to have taken a downward trend.
Searches for bitcoin via Google
According to Hutting, the price of bitcoin will again be able to take a new flight in new technological breakthroughs. For example, the Lightning Network was implemented a while ago, making bitcoin a lot more efficient as a means of payment. “Bitcoin is not really a means of payment at the moment.” But with new developments, the digital currency could, he thinks. Ultimately, this should give the price of the currency a boost.
Economist Brosens says that the bitcoin now can not compete with the current payment system and doubts whether that ever changes. “I do not see a majority of Dutch people switching to bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency: as a means of payment, I see bitcoin in the Netherlands and Europe simply not taking flight.”
According to Brosens, the bitcoin in the Netherlands becomes a niche product for enthusiasts. He thinks the technology can not compete with the efficient payment system that exists today.
The situation is different for some other countries, he explains. In Venezuela, which is plagued by hyperinflation, it would have been better to put power in bitcoin than in its own bolivar. And also other countries where the financial system is not developed, for example, bitcoin could be an alternative payment method.