Predictions 2017: Bitcoin hits $3,000, blockchain rules the world

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As if 2016 weren’t volatile enough for the technology industry, the coming year is likely to be even more interesting, thanks to everything from an unpredictable new U.S. president to a confluence of trends ranging from artificial intelligence to virtual reality to the continued rise of the cloud. This is the latest in a series of predictions by SiliconANGLE’s staff on what’s coming in 2017 in the enterprise, emerging technologies and tech at large.

Bitcoin’s value will hit $3,000

Despite another year of headlines from the mainstream media suggesting that yet again bitcoin was dead, 2016 saw quite the opposite occur. Investors across the globe flooded into buying the cryptocurrency and interest in bitcoin-related startups picked up throughout the year.

Much of the renewed interest in bitcoin was driven by global uncertainty around fiat currencies, from the demonetization of high-value notes in India to the Chinese government continuing to devalue the yuan against the U.S. dollar. With the outgoing United States government ending the year punishing the Russian government over alleged hacking events and terrorist attacks continuing in Europe, global uncertainty looks set to continue in 2017 particularly given that a new U.S. administration has promised to restrict free trade, potentially deeply upsetting the global economy.

While it’s always possible governments will push back against bitcoin, as the Chinese Government did in early December 2016, bitcoin will not only maintain its positive outlook as an alternative safe haven to fiat currencies but is likely to thrive in the likely uncertain times ahead. Bitcoin closed the 2016 at $968.04, up from $460 at the beginning of the year, and I predict bitcoin prices will peak at $3,000 in 2017.

Blockchain will rule the world

2016 was a huge year for the blockchain, but 2017 will be different as the development of blockchain-based technologies in different markets progresses from experimentation to real-world use.

One remarkable aspect of blockchain development in 2016 was just how many different markets are looking at using the technology, from the government’s looking at using the blockchain to manage land records to banks looking to facilitate cross-border transactions, as well as its use for retail supply chain management, writer and photographer attribution, equities trading, global shipping and farm to supermarket food tracking. And that’s just a taste of stories from the last three months of the year.

Most of those projects are in an experimental or trial stage, but presuming the tests go well, 2017 will be the year the blockchain goes mainstream and starts to take over markets of all shapes and sizes. In particular, blockchain looks set to alter the financial industry, powering everything from everyday banking transactions to perhaps even the Nasdaq stock exchange itself.

Image credit: Pixabay/Public Domain CCo.