Entrepreneurs move in on Bitcoin as Blockchain makes its mark
Bitcoin has already inspired the most eclectic mix of people: economists, political activists, central bankers (the Bank of England is obsessed with it – just follow their Twitter feed), speculators, computer programmers, libertarians, socialists, – criminals even. Black markets, love them or loathe them, are often the first to embrace new tech and turn it to profit.
The big change in 2014 is that Bitcoin is now attracting the venture capital. Thousands of new businesses are starting up. It’s a land grab.
This is happening despite the fact that Bitcoin is falling in price. Late last year the price hit $1,240 a coin - one bitcoin was the same price as an ounce of gold. The price was $325 on Monday. That’s quite a drop. There has been a total investment of some $317m since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009.
But most of it has come this year. $57m in Q1, $73m in Q2 and $60m in Q3, according to CoinDesk’s latest state of Bitcoin report. We saw a £30m investment in leading wallet provider, Blockchain.info, announced just this week.
What is interesting is that the capital trends mirror almost exactly those of the internet between 1990 and 1995.
That gives you an idea of how big investment capital thinks Bitcoin and its related tech is going to be. Let’s consider, first, how Bitcoin is transitioning into the mainstream.
By the end of September almost 80,000 different businesses were accepting bitcoin. Many of these are well known large corporations: Dell, Dish Network, Wordpress, Expedia, Overstock, Target, Paypal, Reddit, OK Cupid. The forecast is for 90,000 by yearend.
In June 2013 there where just 765,000 wallets (where you keep your coins). Now there are almost seven million. The yearend forecast is for eight million wallets. There are now over 260 bitcoin ATMs worldwide, 340 iOS apps and 250 on Android.