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    The Highs and Lows of the Wild Year of Bitcoin Essay

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    Hamza Shaban, a writer for The Washington Post, discusses the noteworthy events of the life of bitcoin in his article, “The Highs and Lows of the Wild Year of Bitcoin.” Bitcoin, a type of currency that can be used online, has accomplished a lot in 2017. In the past year, a type of worldwide payment system arose out of the shadows and gained massive amounts of popularity. At the beginning of 2017, one bitcoin was worth $973. This may have already seemed like a lot, but it isn’t compared to what it would soon become. It’s value then had increased by more than 15 times, so it was worth $14,670 by December. Shaban explains that this can be accredited to its rise in popularity: The more people invest, the higher its price is. Bitcoin, however, did not always have positive accomplishments.

    Shaban adds that near the end of the year, bitcoin’s value would decline by thirty percent in just one day. The digital currency would have many positive effects, but possible more negative effects on people. People are doing rather dicey things because of bitcoin fever. Bitcoin is a type of asset that is unpredictable and liable to change. People, though, are still eager to invest and purchase it. Christian Catalini believes that “People should consider this as a form of gambling” (qtd. In Shaban). As if all of this “gambling” wasn’t enough, Shaban says that several businesses are changing their names to contain the word “blockchain” which he defines as “the technology that drives the virtual currency” (Shaban). Their strategies were successful, though. The stock price of Long Blockchain (formerly Long Island Iced tea) tripled and On-Line Blockchain PLC’s shares increased by about 400 percent when the news of their name change arose. While bitcoin affected many individuals and businesses positively, many did not experience a positive outcome from bitcoin and people are having to keep their eye on it.

    Bitcoin was hacked at the beginning of December, many lost their information to access bitcoin, and regulations are beginning to be placed on bitcoin. Shaban explains that $70 million worth of bitcoin were stolen by hackers. Also, he shares that many investors have forgotten or lost their access information causing them to go to extremes to get their money back. Aside from this, the U.S. government is beginning to monitor the use of bitcoin. Shaban states that other countries like Australia, Japan, and South Korea have been placing regulations on bitcoin this year.These regulations, however, would serve as a way to protect people from bitcoin’s possible negative outcomes and they are a sign that bitcoin may be the beginning of a new era of payment. Because of bitcoin, cryptocurrency may become a more popular form of exchange.

    “As bitcoin moves closer to mainstream applications, Catalini sees new forms of centralization taking hold, such as the rise in popularity and influences of cryptocurrency exchanges, because consumers tend to prefer products that are convenient and accessible” (Shaban). Shaban reiterates Catalini’s prediction about the future of cryptocurrency. Since people like to have everything available at their fingertips, bitcoin is perhaps what the world needed to move currency into technology like so many parts of our lives.

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