It didn’t get to $10,000. That might be the headline news about bitcoin. But then again, it wasn’t $6,000 either.
Nor even the $7,000 level seen earlier this month. At a recent $9,300, bitcoin may or may not be stabilizing. Recent coverage in the financial trade press seems to anticipate that there might be some stabilization on hand. Commentary about regulatory efforts that may be a bit more benign than some had feared likely helped.
Consider the fact that International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde said late last week that cryptocurrency assets do not pose an “immediate danger” to financial asset stability and asserted the need for an “even-handed” regulatory agenda that would allow for innovation in the space.
Some sense of bitcoin stability in pricing may be a bit of a landmark, to speak with tongue in cheek. But another milestone of sorts was hit this week — one that is real and may have implications up and down the bitcoin supply/value chain.
For those who keep score, miners have produced 17 million bitcoins as of yesterday, April 26. That number comes from statoshi.info. This, of course, means that there are only 4 million more bitcoins left to mine. To recap, the bitcoin code is such that only 21 million coins can be mined. A finite resource, digital or otherwise, lends some underpinning to demand, perhaps even (eventually) a pricing floor.
Cointelegraph stated that the previous million bitcoin mark was hit in November 2016. It may take a while to get to that 21 million mark, where, as the site noted, each 210,000 blocks mined means the network shaves the block reward, which is the incentive given to miners in the form of bitcoin. The going may be slow, but it’s more likely than not that we get there. How long? Try 122 years, said CNBC, as the rewards keep dropping, and thus the output slows.
Even more than a century from now remains then? Supply and demand means that a commodity finds some surer footing as it becomes scarce. And there is some purposeful scarcity in the market, it seems, as the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto (the individual or group) holds about 4.7 percent.
We’re already seeing more interest from institutional players in this market, which comes even amid expansion of some exchanges in terms of volume ability, transparency and a range of tradeable crypto-choices.
As many as 20 percent of financial firms surveyed by Thomson Reuters said they are mulling trading cryptocurrencies through the next months. The timeframe may be accelerated, as 70 percent of those companies are looking to trade in the next three to six months.
Bitcoin as the (literal and analogous) gold standard in crypto? A finite entity with some volatility backstop among a diverse population of traders, small and large? It might happen, though time, as in all things, will tell.