Cryptocurrency, the innovation once hailed as the future of finance, has witnessed a steady decline in the past two years. Bitcoin might have rallied slightly in the past twelve months, but the wider cryptocurrency market is in a deep depression. Investor confidence has waned, and many sceptics now question whether the cryptocurrency market will ever regain its former glory. In this article, we’ll explore the underlying reasons behind the declining state of cryptocurrency and discuss why its best years may already be behind it.
Lack of Regulation
One of the key factors contributing to the downfall of cryptocurrency is the lack of comprehensive regulation. While its decentralised nature was once celebrated as an advantage, it’s proven to be a double-edged sword. The absence of regulatory oversight has led to rampant scams, fraud, and market manipulation, eroding public trust. Without proper safeguards, it’s difficult for the average investor to feel confident in entering the cryptocurrency market. The irony here is that it was once thought that it would be the introduction of regulation that would bring about the downfall of cryptocurrency. In the long run, the opposite might turn out to be true.
Volatility and Market Manipulation
Cryptocurrency markets have been plagued by extreme volatility and manipulation since day one, but never more so than during the past few years, further deterring potential investors. Wild price swings and sudden market crashes have become the norm, making it difficult for the kind of wealthy individuals who might make further meaningful investments to view cryptocurrencies as a stable and reliable investment option. Moreover, the presence of big players (or sharks, to use a less friendly term) who can manipulate markets with significant holdings creates an environment of uncertainty and distrust.
Lack of Real-World Use
Despite initial promises of revolutionising almost every industry you could name, cryptocurrencies have struggled to deliver widespread real-world utility. While some businesses and platforms accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, adoption remains limited, and many businesses that accept it do so as a gimmick. The lack of practical use cases for cryptocurrencies beyond speculative trading undermines their long-term viability. Far from spreading into new frontiers in the past twelve months, cryptocurrencies are being kicked out of places that used to accept them. You can’t even give Bitcoin away in some parts of the internet – Wikipedia no longer accepts donations made via that method.
Energy Consumption and Environmental Concerns
The environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining has also played a role in its decline. The most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, relies on energy-intensive mining processes that consume significant amounts of electricity. This has led to concerns about carbon footprints and sustainability. As environmental awareness grows, investors are becoming more hesitant to support a technology that contributes to climate change and ecological damage. Again, this is a downside to cryptocurrency that’s always been present, but complaints about the environmental harm caused by cryptocurrencies have grown louder in recent years. Even Elon Musk, the patron saint of crypto, briefly stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment for Tesla cars in 2021.
Comparisons to Gambling
The ongoing instabilities of the crypto markets have meant that money put into trading crypto is no longer considered safe. There are people who bought Bitcoin at more than £40K per coin who are still holding onto their investments in the desperate hope that the currency ever reaches those heights again. That’s the same attitude that gamblers on a losing streak have. These days, it feels like there’s very little difference between investing in crypto and spending money at online casinos. In fact, you could argue that gamblers have better sources of reliable information to turn to. If you wanted to know how all the Pink Casino sister sites compare to Pink Casino itself, for example, reference websites like Sister Site will tell you in unambiguous terms. If you want to know how one new coin compares to another and who’s behind the coin, it’s far harder to find that information.
Competition from Central Bank Digital Currencies
The rise of central bank digital currencies (we’ll call them CBDCs for convenience) poses a significant challenge to the future of cryptocurrencies. CBDCs, backed by national governments and central banks, offer a digital alternative to traditional fiat currencies. Unlike cryptocurrencies, CBDCs come with the reliability and stability associated with government support. As CBDCs gain traction, they threaten to overshadow and potentially replace decentralised cryptocurrencies. It wouldn’t be cynical to suggest that this is, in fact, precisely what they were designed to do. Central banks and governments – with a few notable exceptions – have never been thrilled about the rise of crypto. CBDCs are the weapon they’ve designed to combat it.
Lack of Scalability and Technical Challenges
Cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, have faced scalability issues and technical challenges that hinder their adoption by mainstream entities. Slow transaction speeds, high fees, and limited capacity to handle a large number of transactions simultaneously have frustrated users and impeded the growth of cryptocurrency networks. As alternatives like blockchain technology continue to evolve, cryptocurrencies may struggle to keep up and remain relevant.
The Failure of NFTs
The complete and total failure of NFTs to find an audience has had an enormous impact on the public’s confidence in cryptocurrency and, in broader and more general terms, web3 as a concept. Due to a generally poor understanding of how cryptocurrency works among the general public, when NFTs came along, they were seen as “the same thing” as crypto. Predatory behaviour by NFT scammers, including “rug pulls,” has turned NFTs into something of a joke. Two years ago, NFTs were presented as the next big thing after Bitcoin. Today, the phrase has become synonymous with scams, and the damage they’ve done has affected the standing of cryptocurrency.
While cryptocurrency once held immense promise, the combination of all the factors we’ve identified above has severely undermined its prospects for recovery. The decline in investor confidence and the scepticism surrounding cryptocurrency make it increasingly unlikely that it will ever regain its previous levels of popularity. As the global financial landscape continues to evolve, it’s essential for potential investors to consider the risks and limitations associated with cryptocurrencies before making any investment decisions. The more they do so, the fewer compelling reasons to invest they’re likely to find.