The digital currency Bitcoin has a dedicated following, regularly makes headlines and inspires countless investors to consider making digital currency part of their portfolios. Yet it enjoys the backing of no government or third-party entity like a bank, and it can be hard to understand where its perceived value comes from. So, you may be asking, what makes bitcoin valuable?
Fundamentally, bitcoins derive their value just as anything else does: because people want them. Like any other currency, bitcoin follows the basic rules of supply and demand. Currencies have always been useful tools to make trade easier, enabling holders to convert goods into a widely tradable commodity through sale, then use the proceeds of that sale to purchase nearly anything they wish.
While fiat currencies derive value from the governments that back them, currencies like gold are valuable in and of themselves. Currently, bitcoin isn’t like other currencies in that it is not universally accepted. There are limits on what it can be used for. While not backed by a government or valuable by themselves, bitcoins are still used as a store of value, a placeholder for the goods and services that they can be exchanged for, as with traditional currencies.
Bitcoin derives its unique value from the fact that despite its lack of official backing or wide acceptance, it has generated an ecosystem in which many people are willing to trade and accept it. In fact, some perceive bitcoin to be more valuable, or more useful, than other currencies in that it is a better option for certain purposes, such as seamless digital transfers and use across borders. Also, because there is a cap set on the total number of bitcoins that will ever exist, the currency cannot be devalued through inflation as others can. Finally, a key benefit of bitcoin is known as “censorship resistance,” its ability to be used for transactions that could normally be censored by other payment networks.
So, in short, the answers to the question of what makes bitcoin valuable are some of the things that make every currency valuable and some that make bitcoin different from others.