Bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency and decentralized store of value with a $270 bln market cap, has been named Investopedia’s 2017 Term of the Year.
Most popular keyword
Based on search results and volume, Bitcoin surpassed Trumpcare, ICO, Blockchain and FAANG to become the most searched and popular keyword on Investopedia, the most widely utilized online dictionary platform for financial keywords.
Emphasizing the massive growth rate of Bitcoin in terms of price, market cap, user base, user activity and developer activity, the Investopedia team wrote:
“$8,000! $11,000! $20,000?! 2017 was the year of Bitcoin mania. The cryptocurrency started the year at $1,000 and since then, has risen more than 1,500 percent. While some say Bitcoin is a bubble, its aggressive growth has dominated the minds of the media and the financial services sector. 2017 saw the first Bitcoin billionaires as well as the introduction of Bitcoin futures. With only 1,000 users owning more than 40 percent of the currency, according to some reports, investors are carefully watching if the price will fall or continue to rally.”
While Bitcoin has fallen behind Ripple, Litecoin and Ethereum by investment profitability and price growth in 2017, it has been the only cryptocurrency adopted by leading financial institutions and service providers in the traditional finance industry.
Most notably, the world’s largest investment bank JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, the global market’s largest options exchange the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), CME Group, Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Cantor Fitzgerald have either integrated Bitcoin into their existing infrastructures or announced support for the cryptocurrency.
Adoption by leading financial firms
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, in particular, had noted that like fiat was the successor to the now-abolished gold standard, Bitcoin could become the next international standard for money. Blankfein explained that the fiat currency system was rejected by the public at first, because of its lack of base value. A five dollar bill was worth five dollars because the government claimed it was, not because it represented five dollars worth of gold.
“You move a little bit further and you get Bitcoin that is not a fiat currency so I don’t trust, it and I don’t like it. On the other hand, if it works, I say maybe it was a natural progression from hard money to digital money,” said Blankfein.
In addition to the acceptance and adoption from leading financial firms, Bitcoin price has surged by more than 15-fold in 2017, from less than $900 to $15,700.
Given the meteoric rise in the value of Bitcoin, JPMorgan and its global market strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou noted that Bitcoin is emerging into a major asset class, challenging gold to become the global market’s premier store of value. Panigirtzoglou added that increasing liquidity and introduction of regulated investment instruments like futures and ETFs will lead to rapid adoption of Bitcoin in the long-term. He wrote:
"In all, the prospective introduction of Bitcoin futures has the potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class. The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment and simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here."