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What is the Current State of Bitcoin in 2017?

Bitcoin doubled in 2016 — but where is it headed in 2017? The technology is always changing — and financial institutions might try to keep up.

Bitcoin began in 2009, but it wasn’t until recently that the traditional financial sector took notice. You see, Bitcoin isn’t a corporation: it’s actually a form of open source software that is changing the way consumers use, send, and store money. Continue reading to find out how Bitcoin is doing now, and what it might be like in the future.

What is Bitcoin Like Today?

In many ways, Bitcoin is much like those early ways of keeping track of money and goods with ledgers. Susan Athey, Economics of Technology Professor, Stanford GSB, compares Bitcoin to a spreadsheet — a more modern form of a ledger. No one computer is holding the ledger, but copies are located all over the world. Bitcoin is an interesting subject: what makes Bitcoin secure is the way no one computer can be hacked to change what’s inside the spreadsheet.

Read More: What is the Future of Credit Card Security?

Bitcoin enables its users to change the entry on the spreadsheet to reflect a gain or loss in funding. To do so, you need a “key,” or password, that allows access. You must have the password to authorize the movement of your Bitcoin to someone else. Unlike other forms of payment, however, the Bitcoin’s value fluctuates.

How to Send Funds with Bitcoin

On Bitcoin’s exchange, you can view how many Bitcoins you may receive for a dollar. In a matter of minutes, you can use a service to complete your transaction. When you send your Bitcoins, the end user can then exchange those received Bitcoins quickly to receive the same amount in return, in whatever their home currency is.

It is no more difficult than sending an email — it’s also just as fast as sending an email. There’s currently no faster way to move money from one person, especially in small amounts, to another person than with Bitcoin. You can bet that financial institutions are taking note. Bitcoin may be what spurs these slow-to- change behemoths to find ways to move money faster.

What Will the Future of Bitcoin Be Like?

No one is exactly sure what the future of Bitcoin will look like, but there’s talk of research about creating government-sponsored digital currency. There’s also talk of the US government trying to identify users taking part in Bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin may have recently dropped, but it more than doubled over the course of 2016. As to where Bitcoin will continue to head in 2017, only time will tell.