An enormous milestone in the 10,000 year history of currency is upon us. Ever since the unprecedented creation of Bitcoin in 2009 and its recent rise to power, the world has set its eyes on a digital future for currency. Entire countries, governments, businesses and the general public now not only tolerate but embrace the usage and exchange of cryptocurrency. Understanding the nature and impact of this phenomenon as it dominates the globe is crucial for the next generation.
A concept that was scoffed at a mere generation ago has been adopted by over 300 million. The fact that Gen Z and Millennials make up 94% of cryptocurrency owners outlines how heavily the situation affects and will affect current miners who will soon be making financial choices.
In 1994, the first virtual transaction of digital currency was made by DigiCash. The entity transferred was electronic cash, a trademark of the modern age. Although the company went bankrupt within the decade, the world of intangible money has since expanded in an explosion of revolutionary creations.
There are around 9,000 cryptocurrencies today, but only 10 make up the top 88% of the market. On top of this, 65% of crypto investors are bitcoin owners.
Bitcoin went from the useless manifestation of a doomed concept being kept alive in one man’s basement to being the poster-child for one of the most influential movements of our time. Since 2012, the crypto has increased by over 540,000%. Bitcoin exists independently of any financial institution or government, making it unique but also dangerous.
In September of 2021, the country of El Salvador became the first to announce Bitcoin as its national currency along with the US dollar. The endeavor began with the purchase of 400 Bitcoins, or 21 million U.S dollars, which was introduced into the market as legal currency. Although the country is currently crumbling around the currency they gambled on, El Salvador just might be the first of many to take this financial leap of faith.
All signs point to NFTs as the next global phenomenon regarding virtual transactions. Short for Non-Fungible Tokens, NFTs are digital images or items which exist on a blockchain in order to prove who holds ownership. An example of this would be a unique appealing effigy like a painting, which would be obtained or created by someone and sold for an agreed on price. As of now, NFTs exist for the uber rich and the curious class of society.
Although it can be assumed that virtual is the future, Gen Z has its doubts about these trends. According to pcmag.com, 82% of Gen Zers believe that NFTs are a scam, and only 41% plan on investing in cryptocurrency. Despite its dramatic rise to precedence, there is no truly stable version of cryptocurrency. Investing in digital currency is a gamble, but it is one that is becoming more and more commonplace in the modern world.