Cryptocurrency Market: Medium of exchange that utilizes cryptography for secure transactions and control additional currency unit creation
Cryptocurrency are digital medium of exchange, alternative to conventional currencies such as US$ or Euros. These utilize digital information exchange based on the principles of cryptography, to provide secure means of transactions and in many cases provides anonymity. In 2009, Bitcoin became the first decentralized digital currency, which leads to the introduction of over thousand other digital currencies in the market.
Growing demand in conjunction with the decreasing supply of digital currency is among the prominent factor influencing the growth of the pricing of the cryptocurrency market
Digital currencies are classified as an asset or currencies depending from country to country. For instance, Bitcoin has 21 million units, given that the global population is around 7 billion, and even if around 50 million of the population adopt Bitcoin, this would require a premium price tag to suffice the users. Moreover, the creation of these currencies is constant and unchangeable, generating limited supply and higher costs. In 2016, Bitcoin witnessed an increase in the costs, mainly due to the imminent decrease in the supply of new coins.
Energy required to secure the blockchain, mining difficulty, and their utility fuels the growth of cryptocurrency market
Energy is utilized intensively in securing the blockchains. Most popular form, proof of work (POW) block chain requires significant amount of energy. According to a press release by bitconnect.co, the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain requires energy equal to a small country for securing payment. Moreover, increase in blockchain security leads to increase in the mining difficulty. Many other factors fueling the market growth include the growing inclination of the population towards digital assets, increasing media reporting, number of investors, and security of the payments among others. From March 2017 to September 2017, the cryptocurrency market witnessed an exponential increase of capital to around 599.8%. Moreover, growing awareness and adoption of digital exchange, is expected to drive the industry growth over the forecast period.
The global cryptocurrency market is estimated to be valued at US$ 189.9 billion in 2017 and is expected to witness a CAGR at 56.2% during the forecast period (2017 – 2025).
Figure 1. Global Cryptocurrency Market, Key Industry Trends
Source: Coherent Market Insights Analysis (2017)
Significantly large untapped potential base in the payment industry is expected to boost growth prospects over the forecast period
Increment in the digital currency value during the past years were mainly due to the increasing transaction volumes mostly for BTC. In 2016, BTC generated a revenue of around US$ 130 billion, though it is expected that transaction volumes will witness considerable surge in the near future in particular segment. However, Paypal recorded a volume of over US$ 735 billion in 2016, whereas, Western Union volumes accounted approximately 4.61% higher than BTC, pegged at over US$ 730 billion. Therefore, it can be determined that the overall utilization of the digital assets as a form of payment is still at its nascent stage, and promises to hold significant growth in the near future.
Drawbacks in the scalability and its legalization hindering the market growth
As of September 2017, the industry is estimated to be valued at around US$ 166 billion (according to CoinMarketCap), is still too far from actual user penetration. Number of users participating in the ecosystem is expected to witness considerable surge, led to the increase in the scalability issues. However, regulations and legalization are expected to be the prominent factors that will hinder the cryptocurrency market growth. For instance, in 2017, regulations in China banned the initial coin offerings (ICO) and halted the trading of virtual currencies, mainly due to the lack of centralized control. However, many other developed and emerging countries are planning initiatives to legalize these currencies. U.S., Singapore, Russia, and Switzerland are among the prominent countries that are expected to witness considerable penetration over the forecast period.
Some of the most valued currencies in the cryptocurrency market include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple, Peercoin, Dogecoin, Dash, NEM, and Namecoin. Top ten cryptocurrency industries acquire shares of over 85% of the global capital. Some of the major players operating in the global cryptocurrency market include Bitfinex, BitFury Group Limited, Bitstamp Ltd., Coinbase, Coinsecure, Litecoin, OKEX Fintech Company Limited, Poloniex Inc., Ripple, Unocoin Technologies Private Limited, and ZEB IT Service Pvt. Ltd.