Business Unusual

Bitcoin, Uber and GoPro - how the mighty are challenged - Part 3

This is an update to the coverage of three subjects previously featured on Business Unusual. Typically these businesses were hailed for their ability to disrupt the market they were in and it appeared at the time that good times lay ahead.

No business gets a free ride though and their success came at the cost of the previous incumbents. As they now move into the prime position it is others that are trying to disrupt them.

This is part 3.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is still such an outlier to the enormous traditional finance market that even the record new levels the cryptocurrency reached may still not be enough for it to make it.

When it was covered as part of the feature on Blockchain, it was one of the most volatile currencies capable of very large swings compared to traditional currencies. It was growing but from a small base and while it was performing well, there were some big questions looming about how it would fit in the traditional market and how the developer community would evolve to deal with its growing base.

China has been a big influence, not only because the bulk of the mining operations are based there.

Mining itself has turned into a very lucrative investment option for some while being seen as a bubble nearing a pop by others as the blockchain network counters the increasing mining power with ever more difficult hashing computations.

After a slow rise in 2016, it threatened to breach its record high of $1147 set in 2014. On 4 January it hit $1129 and then a new record of $1290 on 4 March. It is now back at $1185.

There will be multiple factors affecting the rise and fall, but the focus of them would also relate to how Chinese and Japanese bitcoin exchanges have reacted to news from the Chinese Central Banks which have sought to regulate the amount of cash Chinese citizens invest into the coin. It also has its and its own plans to introduce a currency of their own which could both undermine bitcoin value while also confirming its place as a legitimate form of currency.

The ides of March may offer another significant boost or potential reason to crash the virtual currency. The US Securities and Exchange Commision will rule if a Bitcoin based ETF will be allowed to trade in the US. If approved it will allow for those with no need to actually use the currency to benefit from investing in it in the same way they might buy gold. It is worth noting that the Bitcoin price exceeded the gold price on 2 March 2017.

Impressive considering it is still not known who even created it.

Interest in the potential of blockchain suggests that even if Bitcoin fails to reach maturity as an alternative store of value, a version of it will.

One of the most recent applications will see IBM and Maersk use blockchain to track containers. It could slash the amount of paperwork needed to move goods while adding almost perfect security to track the movement of goods anywhere in the world.

Now read part 1 - Uber or part 2 - GoPro

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