A revolution started in 2009 by a developer or a group called Satoshi Nakamoto, when a digital currency, Bitcoin (BTC) was launched with a limited supply of only 21 million coins to be mined.
The launch of Bitcoin took place during the global recession of 2008-09, a time when many countries were experiencing financial turmoil. In response to this, people stopped using fiat, which was always depreciating because of the unlimited supply.
Rich countries were printing fiat and pumping them into their economy, thereby increasing inflation to a new high, poor nations were facing the consequences.
As per an estimate, in 2020 over 40% of its US dollar has been in circulation since its launch. Even the European Union printed fiat and gave financial support to companies, which added to the problem of inflation.
After the invention of Bitcoin, people began to hope that it would disrupt the global financial market since it is not controlled by a central authority.
This allows users to send digital currency from point A to point B without any verification process. By doing this, the money is sent instantly and the transactions can be checked in real-time.
This not only challenged the corrupt financial system but also brought hope to all unbanked people staying in developing and poor countries who were still out of the financial fold.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin has been around for over 13 years, for the first few years it was just traded between a few people. When the market began to rise, it attracted the attention of people residing in poor countries too.
Starting the cryptocurrency race
But the real focus came to it during 2018 when it rose from $3000 and nearly touched $20,000 per BTC. This was a huge development, as it started attracting more users that wanted to own some fraction of BTC.
Bitcoin also spurred a race within the crypto industry, and many cloned its code, as it was based on open-source codes. Some of the cryptocurrencies based on Bitcoin’s original code include Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Apart from this, other blockchain protocols also started coming up, Ethereum is one of the second more popular cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin with a market capitalization of over $282 billion. Bitcoin holds a market capitalization of over $680 billion. In October 2021, the Bitcoin market crossed the $1.1 trillion mark.
Disrupting financial markets
Bitcoin not only disrupted the market but also provided a new lease of life for all those who were left behind by traditional banking and financial institutions.
Today, there are over 35174 Bitcoin ATMs spread across 78 countries, according to coinatmradar.com. This has sparked a race to launch cryptocurrency ATMs.
Close to 10 more cryptocurrencies have their ATMs set up. that includes Tether (USDT), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Lighting BTC (LBTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Zcash (ZEC), and Monerao (XMR).
The majority of the cryptocurrency ATMs are in the US, followed by Canada and the European Union nations. Even in India, there are two Bitcoin ATMs, according to coinatmradar.com.
As the Bitcoin ecosystem is growing, there are about 43 Bitcoin ATM manufacturers along with 599 BTM operators globally.
Bitcoin banned countries
Even though Bitcoin is increasing its reach, it has been banned in many nations. Eight nations that include Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and China have all banned cryptocurrency. Another few dozen nations have banned digital currencies by putting restrictions on the ability of banks to deal with crypto or prohibiting cryptocurrency exchanges.
As the world is moving closer to another form of financial independence, many nations have also come forward in adopting Bitcoin.
A call was made recently at the World Economic Forum by Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi to the global community to bring all cryptocurrency under regulations.
Many nations look at cryptocurrency as an area of concern, as it is based on decentralized platforms. They worry that they can lose control of the economy and their economy will collapse if citizens move towards cryptocurrency.
Many experts have flagged usage of cryptocurrency for illegal activities, like drugs, promoting terrorism activities, in the longer run, the government will lose control of the nations, as people will make transactions with each other and there will be no requirement for banks and financial institution, that act as a third party to process transactions between two parties in the current scenario.
Ray of hope in Bitcoin adoption
Despite this, nations have embraced Bitcoin with open arms.
In June 2021, El Salvador announced the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and in September 2021, it officially became legal tender. This was seen as a new chapter in Bitcoin adoption, as many smaller nations were also looking to do the same.
However, it will probably take some more time for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to become official currency.
Whatever be the case, Bitcoin has added a new chapter in the global financial history. Kleverly and surely, Bitcoin will see more adoption as legal tender in years to come.