This week we continue to fawn over bitcoin’s stratospheric rise, noting how its valuation now leaves corporate competitors Western Union and PayPal in the dust, and try to explain what “fundamentals” bitcoin actually has that are propelling its price to record levels, despite heavy-handed regulations by governments of major countries and unflattering comments by the old school Wall Street financial masters of the universe.

Forget About the Moon, Bitcoin is Heading to Jupiter

To the moon!” was a sentiment frequently echoed among early cryptocurrencies and their adopters, when 100%+ price gains over the course of 24 hours was not unheard of, a rally cry for the victory and rise of one coin over its competitors. Now that several coins have market capitalizations over $1 billion, exactly where in the orbit of the solar system are these coins now? The moon seems far too close, especially given that bitcoin made another record last week, crossing over $5,800 for a short period of time and sitting at over $5,700 as of the writing of this article. New speculations that predict a quadrupling in the price of BTC over four months time would certainly put it beyond Pluto, as far as interplanetary distance comparisons are concerned. In an online poll recently released by CNBC, the majority of respondents predicted the price of BTC to rise above $10,000 (47%), beating out the 2 other options: “$6,000 – $8,000” (18%), or, “Jamie Dimon is correct, you’ll pay the price for buying” (36%).

BTC’s market capitalization is now closing in on $100 billion, meaning that if it were a real company it would have left several of its competitors in the dust in terms of its overall net worth. PayPal, for instance, currently has market cap of around $82.56 billion, and Western Union sits at a comparatively paltry $9.18 billion. This makes it the most successful non-corporate or government-backed financial entity that has ever existed. It would be easy to conclude that bitcoin is something akin to Skynet, the fictional, artificial intelligence-driven company that got out of control when it decided humans were the enemy and needed to be destroyed.

At its literal core, bitcoin is still ultimately controlled by a semi-democratic group of programmers who are supposedly working together with one goal in mind: bitcoin’s continued success. There is no central authority that can shut down or dictate the behavior of bitcoin; it can only be regulated by governments, and even then, such regulation must be implemented carefully as to not cause a public backlash. Because the implementation of SegWit has been a success for both litecoin and bitcoin, the hybrid model of community input and core developer actions is being recognized as a major part of cryptocurrency’s resiliency factor. Even in the face of tightening regulations by the world’s biggest nations and a flurry of negative comments by financial company CEOs, the (as of yet) flawless design of bitcoin’s blockchain gives it a strong fundamental backing, which is being recognized by the continued climb in price of BTC (and many other cryptocurrencies).

Also in the News

Julian Assange, the flamboyant, shadowy founder of WikiLeaks recently thanked the U.S. government for “illegally” blocking banks from funneling donations to his whistleblower protection organization as early as 2010, which forced him to accept donations in the form of bitcoin instead of traditional cash. Assange claims that this move helped him achieve a 50,000% return on his bitcoin holdings over a six-year period.

Unlike other prominent countries in its region of the world, the Philippines central bank (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) is publicly pushing for the adoption of cryptocurrency into countrywide financial systems. In a televised interview, the central bank’s deputy director recently stated about bitcoin: “It’s like any other monetary instrument [and even] an investment instrument. There are risks but essentially, it can be managed. If you want something that is fast, near real-time and convenient then there’s the benefit of using virtual currencies like bitcoin.”

In the largest transaction of its kind, a $24 million mansion is going on sale in London, and the seller will only accept bitcoin as a form of payment. In the rare occasions when bitcoin is accepted for real estate payment, it is usually one of several options; perhaps not even the preferred one. In this instance however, the seller is only accepting bitcoin – reasons why could include a speculative, furthered increase in the value of bitcoin, the transaction for the sale being recorded permanently on the blockchain – however the investment company handling the sale admits that they are conducting this stunt primarily for “experimental reasons.”