It is strange to think that Bitcoin launched only 15 years ago. In human terms, 15 years is not a very long time. However, in the world of cryptocurrency, that decade and a half have seen radical changes in utility and evolution beyond what many critics thought would ever be possible. There was a period of time when Bitcoin’s value was jumping up by factors of 10 every couple of years.
The value of Bitcoin reached an all-time high in November 2021, at north of $65,000; but since then, things have been showing a downward trend. Crypto prices have slumped across the board, and a number of scandals within the crypto industry certainly haven’t helped the overall picture.
Now in 2023, we are seeing tentative signs of growth, and some enthusiasts say that the “crypto winter” is over… to be followed by a blossoming “crypto spring.” For many in the industry, these current months are a time to pause and reflect on the patterns we’ve seen before and to begin to ask what we can expect from cryptocurrencies going forward into 2023.
It might be a disorienting time for newcomer investors to get on board. A lot of history has already happened, while new technologies keep popping up at what seems like an ever-increasing rate. For those taking their first steps into the crypto industry in 2023, it might feel rather like picking up a series of epic fantasy novels but skipping straight ahead to book six. Additionally, it doesn’t help matters that the crypto industry is so full of jargon – technical terms for software and processes, acronyms for financial and regulatory institutions, and so on.
If all of this sounds a bit familiar, don’t be disheartened – you’re not alone. The purpose of this article is to try and demystify the crypto industry for absolute beginners, to give you an overview of where crypto is in 2023, and also to maybe share a few hints on the next big things to watch out for in the coming year.
But first things first… how exactly do cryptocurrencies work, anyway?
A Simplified Overview of Mining Bitcoin
Cryptocurrencies are an alternative to physical money. Just like a paper note is effectively an IOU from the bank, recognising the bearer’s entitlement to a specific sum of money, cryptocurrencies are backed by information stored on an online data network. Every crypto wallet is connected to the same network – so if you have ten Bitcoins in your wallet, that means every computer on the network will have a record of it and agree with that figure. If you send two of your Bitcoins to someone else, that transaction will then need to be approved, confirmed, and recorded again by every node on the network.
For this reason, cryptocurrency transactions can sometimes be quite slow; but it also makes this an incredibly secure form of currency.
There are a great many different types of cryptocurrency out there in the world at this point – thousands of individual currencies, in fact. But Bitcoin was the OG, and many of those that followed began as iterations on a similar type of formula.
The concept right from the beginning was that Bitcoin should provide value as an alternative to fiat currency. For this reason, it can have great appeal to libertarians, or for those in developing economies, where central banks are maybe not as stable and secure as one might hope.
By decentralising an economy, and connecting with trading partners all around the world on a network which governments are unable to regulate, Bitcoin provided an alternate model of global commerce. Its creators also intended for it to have a value of scarcity – like gold does – so that it wouldn’t at any point devalue as an effect of mass production and inflation. There can only ever be a certain number of Bitcoins in the world.
The process of acquiring a new Bitcoin is called mining. High-powered computers are required for the process, which involves solving elaborate mathematical problems on the network, or “blockchain.” The first computer to solve any given puzzle is rewarded in cryptocurrency. As a result, some of the largest crypto mines in the world are built up of hundreds, even thousands of computer CPUs, all stacked on shelves and generating huge amounts of heat.
In 2021, the year that many cryptocurrencies reached their recent highest peaks in value, there was such a demand for computer CPUs that it affected the gaming industry too, and many gamers attempting to build their own PCs would run into a worldwide drought on video cards and other processing components.
As we said, there are many cryptocurrencies in the world at present, and they don’t all work alike. It is always good to do your own research, and get to know a little more about the processes and technology that powers any given token, before you decide to pull the trigger and invest in it. That said, with this general introduction out of the way, let’s now take a look at how you can get involved in cryptocurrency yourself.
How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
Even as recently as just a few years ago, it could sometimes be a complex process to get registered to buy and sell cryptocurrency. But that’s all changing now – following a huge boost in interest over the last couple of years, there are now more ways to invest than ever before. Various banking groups, and crypto exchanges, offer their own apps, making it simple to buy and sell cryptos with just a tap on your smartphone.
However, for the sake of your investment security, it’s worth taking some time to ensure you’re working with the best solutions available. Whether you are choosing a crypto wallet that will combine security and utility for your investments, or deciding which of the many crypto platforms you plan to trade on, it pays to take a little extra time researching the right choice.
However, it goes without saying that the search for the right crypto platform or broker can be a long and arduous one. It’s a sad reality that there’s a number of platforms on the market which are either scams, poor performance, or both. Navigating your way through all of these platforms can result in a lot of wasted time, energy, and stress.
Nobody wants this, so we decided to tap into the opinions of various crypto experts to see if there’s a way around this. Our research revealed that there’s a growing number of cryptocurrency experts and analysts recommending certain niche platforms that take all of the hard work out of finding a popular and well-liked crypto broker automatically.
One of the names that kept cropping up was that of www.immediate-edge.io. Not only does this platform assist new and experienced investors alike with finding an ideal cryptocurrency broker by using a unique system to pair them with one that is best suited to their needs, but it also provides a unique array of trading tools that have the potential to seriously drive a trading journey forward, regardless of the experience level of the trader in question.
What Does the Future of Cryptocurrency Look Like?
As we mentioned above, it is a strange time in the cryptocurrency world right now. We just saw some all-time record highs in 2021, followed by a particularly poor year in 2022. Those with weaker nerves may have, in some cases, pulled out all their investments and already written off cryptos as dead and finished!
However, Bitcoin and other cryptos have seen significant new gains in the last couple of months, which suggests what might be the beginning of an upward curve going on into 2023 and beyond.
However, looking at past trends is not a reliable way to predict the crypto market. There are so many different factors involved that affect the value of tokens that the past is rarely a good indicator for the future; rather, many crypto experts advise that you instead focus on the horizon ahead, and in particular to closely watch the development of new related technologies.
Because that’s the secret, really – it is an innovation that drives these markets, not some abstract “tide” that rises and falls regardless. Cryptocurrencies will gain value if they are shown to be valuable. And one of the ways that they can become more valuable is by finding utility in relation to other industries or markets.
Here’s an example: in the last few years we’ve seen a couple of real-world national economies adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. In El Salvador and the Central African Republic, for example, cryptocurrency is now being treated as an official alternative to physical currencies. The effect this has on Bitcoin is tremendous, as it will result in the opening of millions of new wallets, and all those little investments serve to better anchor the currency overall.
Conversely, when large portions of a limited reserve are tied up with individual investors, who can then buy and sell on a whim and without warning, that’s when a currency becomes really volatile. But when entire nations begin adopting Bitcoin, millions of accounts buying and selling small quantities of a token, that’s a scenario that leads to long-term stability and natural growth.
There are other examples too, of developments in the tech world that show particular potential benefit for crypto values. Here are a couple of the largest developments worth keeping one eye on.
Buying and Selling in the Metaverse
By the end of the pandemic, the gaming industry was valued as equivalent to Hollywood, the music industry, and the sports industry together. It has become an extraordinary growth market, and new developments in tech promise to push the industry into whole new directions over the coming years. The increasingly universal access to high speed internet, combined with advances in VR technology, suggest that we’re heading towards more widespread usership in virtual online worlds.
Facebook’s parent company Meta is just one of the big corporate names who are looking to stake their claim in what many are calling the “Metaverse.” This idea would see the creation of virtual hub worlds, providing access to a whole range of online virtual experiences. And, of course… all of this is going to involve a need for currency, to buy and sell assets and virtual real estate, or even to pay for virtual services within these game-like worlds.
Various cryptocurrencies have been positioning themselves with the hope of becoming official tender in new and emergent metaverses. There are the old favourites – such as Bitcoin and Ethereum – but also some of the newer coins are worth watching in this regard. For example, Metacade is a newer token that is designed specifically for use in virtual environments and play-to-earn gaming platforms, which might position it as a hot contender for metaverse currency.
We are probably still a few years away from seeing the true final evolution of the metaverse idea… but as it is so likely to intertwine with cryptocurrency technology, we believe this is going to be an increasingly important area to watch in the coming years.
Are NFTs Even Still a Thing?
One of the biggest crypto news stories to reach the wider public in recent years was the incredible boom seen in the new market of NFTs. “NFT” stands for “non-fungible token,” and this technology represents the application of crypto’s blockchain technology to artwork.
As we explained above, cryptocurrency works through a system of database records that universally record and confirm ownership. NFTs represent this same technology applied to digital art, allowing artists to trade their digital originals with the same degree of authority which was previously exclusive to physical artworks.
We still don’t know exactly where the NFT trend will end up. In 2021 there was a massive boom in NFT adoption, as collectors and speculators alike began buying up digital artworks en masse. The rate of uptake, and the value of many NFTs, have both seen a decline since then – but those with any experience of watching the rise and fall of markets will likely appreciate that this story is far from over.
The potential impact of blockchain technology on the art world cannot be overstated, and now that the initial excitement phase is over, we’re waiting to see what comes next – and how NFTs can settle into new modes of stable and healthy long-term utility.
Invest in the Crypto Future
All in all, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of crypto right now. With so much drama and development that has already happened in the last 15 years, the crypto world can certainly seem overwhelming to newcomers. However, with prices currently low, and some huge potential developments on the horizon, it’s not a bad time to invest!
Just remember the golden rule – never spend more on crypto than you could comfortably afford to lose. There’s always a risk, but right now there’s also a lot of potential for clever investors to do awfully well for themselves in the coming years too.