Casting Light on Bitcoin Before Adding It to Your Portfolio in 2024: To Invest or Not to Invest

The world has witnessed wild cryptocurrency market transformations throughout the years as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies passed through gradual maturation stages. If making purchases with digital money was off the table at the beginning of 2000 and a dream of many advocates of decentralized finance, this is no longer the case.

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Bitcoin, the pioneer in the crypto sphere, has experienced brutal bear markets over time, only to come back stronger than ever. If you’re looking to capitalize on this technology or simply gain a better understanding of the reigning digital coin, the following headings address everything you need to know.

Making sense of Bitcoin

Bitcoin, known to have been given life by an individual or group of developers under the name “Satoshi Nakamoto“, is digital money invented to allow decentralized finance. It’s a peer-to-peer network that allows you to send and receive money directly from one user to another on the blockchain – a decentralized ledger facilitated by cutting-edge technology.

The use of this public ledger permits the openness and security of cryptocurrency transactions, as well as their irreversibility. When a payment in Bitcoin is made, there’s a slight chance of being able to receive a return, and most of the time, this happens when you make a purchase and succeed in reaching out to the business owner who can make something in this regard.

As a result, Bitcoin has risen in popularity in recent years, seeing its use cases grow from being one payment and portfolio investment tool to becoming embraced by increasingly more institutions and organizations that would at first be reticent about digital currency. In some countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Denmark, it is considered property or capital asset and subject to taxes accordingly. In other states like Germany, the taxation system is on the quirky side, treating digital coins as private money and taxing it when the profit reaches a fixed limit.

Bitcoin inspiring other ground-breaking projects

The historic roots of Bitcoin can be found in its white paper, released by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. This reflects the way the newly-developed digital currency operated on the decentralized ledger. It was initially mainly utilized for research and testing, and it wasn’t until 2009 that the first BTC transaction got to see the light of day. It was worth next to nothing when it came into being, making it the object of interest of only several hobbyists who would experiment with it out of curiosity.

It wasn’t smooth sailing in the following years, either, which comes as no surprise, given the novelty of this technology. But 2010 witnessed a moment to never forget in the crypto sphere: the first real-world transaction. A Bitcoin enthusiast paid 10.000 BTC for two pizzas, which is an amount that would surpass $ 250 million at the moment of writing.

However, as time passed, it received increased recognition, inspiring other developers to create blockchain platforms and crypto projects and others to receive new purposes and utilities. For instance, Vitalik Buterin believed Bitcoin had limitations to overcome; thus, he iterated on its technology to develop a better platform and cryptocurrency. He found d the wildly popular blockchain-based platform Ethereum, whose purposes go beyond producing tokens that can be used as a currency.

Buterin’s project brought to the world decentralized apps and smart contracts, a key innovation that facilitates security and transactions on the blockchain. What’s more, it ended the need for oversight from financial authorities to create and improve applications, making room for experimentation.

Bitcoin’s value history

Since its release, Bitcoin has endured its fair share of rallies and crashes. Starting small at zero when it was released, its value rose gradually, experiencing relatively uneventful periods. After a recession in the cryptocurrency market in 2012, the following year proved to be kinder to cryptocurrencies, witnessing significant price spikes. BTC’s price spiked from around $13 to over $200 in April, then bottomed out at approximately $70 three months later.

Bitcoin’s value entered the ascending stage, seeing prices break above $900 in 2017, slowly climbing to $2.000, and going through the ceiling in December when they reached an unprecedented $19.000.

The coming years saw small bursts of activity. However, cryptocurrency’s acceptance was slowly rising. In November 2021, Bitcoin had investors who believed in its potential jump for joy as its price skyrocketed to an all-time high of over $60.000. This upturn and increased interest in cyber cash caught the attention of entities, from economists to governments, who began creating digital currencies to compete with the reigning one.

The following months and well into 2022 saw the joy overshadowed as prices gradually declined and investors bit their lips seeking new strategies to prevent financial losses. Since then, several detrimental events in the cryptocurrency world have taken their toll and caused Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to sink like stones in water. The Terra Luna crash and FTX’s bankruptcy shook the already volatile crypto market, wiping out billions of dollars in value.

Clearly, the need to address security issues was emphasized, which led more governments around the world to publish proposals for cryptocurrency regulation. Substantial efforts have started to handle the hazards of cryptocurrency’s turbulent history.

Transacting with BTC

A transaction with Bitcoin is a transfer of digital currency from one address to another. In order for the transaction to occur, it must be signed by the sender. If you’ve ever conducted this operation, you’ve likely felt like doing something significant. You didn’t need to ask for permission from a middleman or intermediary anymore, and it worked faster than a bank transaction.

This magic is made possible through public-key cryptography, enabling transaction integrity built on the public ledger. A public key represents a long string of numbers and letters you’re asked to share to receive funds and prove ownership of your holdings.

Despite the disheartening crypto winter that spanned 2022, this year started on the positive side for Bitcoin, so let’s keep an eye on it to see where it’s heading in the future.