January has never been a strong month for Bitcoin. In January of 2014, Bitcoin’s price tumbled all month in from the collapse of Mt. Gox, January of 2015 saw Bitcoin bottom out at its lowest value since the summer of 2013. This year, Bitcoin lost over 15% of its value and Mike Hearn from the fold. In 2013 and 2014, no other altcoins advanced to fill this market gap, showing their underlying lack of demand. This year, it was different.
This time, a new altcoin, with its own blockchain, stepped forward and took the market by storm. Ethereum (As the protocol is known. The altcoin is known as Ether) is the hottest property in the digital currency space, and 2016 seems to already be the year of Ethereum. BitConnect looks at what Ethereum is and why you should be excited about the idea of investing in Ethereum.
The one nobody saw coming
On Ethereum’s blog , Board of Director’s member Taylor Gerring calls Ethereum “Bitcoin 2.0.” On The Daily Decrypt, Gerring describes the future end game of the protocol as something that can “effectively replace the web as we know it now into a more decentralized version that can’t be controlled or manipulated by any individuals, corporations or governments.” The key word here is decentralization. That is the key to the value of Bitcoin, and the idea behind the inherent value of the Internet.
The problem is the Internet has become more and more centralized over the years, with Facebook, Google and eBay amassing your user data, selling your information without your consent, or just be strong-armed by nefarious third- parties for it. Your current Internet life is all on a few centralized servers, just waiting to be culled for profit, surveillance, or both. Isn’t there a better way? Ethereum’s developers believe there is.
The Ethereum concept is relatively new in the cryptocurrency space. The release of the protocol to the public wasn’t until January 25th, 2014 in Miami. The crowd sale that netted over 9000 donations and $18 million USD in Bitcoin, costing a mere $350 USD in fees was July of 2014. They didn’t have a “working network” until last July, and their “stable platform” is coming shortly after their first hard fork called Homestead. Bitcoin can’t even face a hard fork, but Ethereum is attacking growth and progress, not running from it.
So the last two years have been a study in progress, and now that Bitcoin is an established successful decentralized platform with millions of users worldwide, Ethereum looks set to capitalize upon the landscape built before it. Valued at just $0.95 USD of a Bitcoin on January 1st, it more than doubled in value in the month of January to $2.21 USD. The market rush began to build momentum, and people moved to Ethereum in droves. This only accelerated in early February, as values peaked at $6 USD before falling back to the current $4.30 range.
Like Bitcoin, the price or the blockchain is not the point
Yet, as with Bitcoin, it’s not about the price, so you may miss the point. Price is just a reference point of market interest at a given point of time, not the value of the asset itself. The point is Ethereum is looking to revolutionize the consumer app and Internet at the same time. People and companies are building DApps, or decentralized apps, right now for Ethereum just like people were building Skype and twitter for the Internet. This is the Wild West of growth in Ethereum, and a smart investor might want to take a closer look at Ethereum.
Microsoft Azure is featuring Ethereum right now, if you need a mainstream vote of confidence, but you shouldn’t. What you do need is a vision or just a mild imagination. Imagine an Internet where you have an eBay with no fees, or a Yahoo with no NSA, or a Reddit post where you get paid micropayment for your content. Your post or website can’t be taken down by a government or corporation for any fascist reason under the sun. Your content becomes a part of the entire system, like a drop of rain becomes a part of the ocean, instead of a digital bit on a private server to farm out, or canceled out.
This is the vision of an Ethereum future. The Internet controlled by the users, not the corporate interests. Sounds more like The Internet 2.0. Who wouldn’t like to see that?