Bitcoin is off to a rough start in 2018. Both its value and market capitalization are down sharply and its once formidable market share continues to shrink. Meanwhile, other currencies are gaining in stature because of the commercial potential of their blockchain technology.
If that wasn’t enough, Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor, recently said he is almost certain bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will “come to a bad ending.”
Given recent developments, it is not out of the question to look at bitcoin’s survival prospects. Here are the five biggest threats.
1. Slower transactions.
It currently takes about 200 minutes to confirm one bitcoin transaction. Other cryptocurrencies are much faster. It takes 20 seconds for one Ethereum transaction. Ripple‘s take a split second.
2. Higher fees
Bitcoin’s popularity is making it hard for the network to cope with demand. Transaction fees were once under one dollar. Now they average around $25.
Number 3. More regulation
Bitcoin, like all digital currencies, is facing tougher regulation and more of it, whether it is South Korea, China or Europe. Some countries are considering bans, others restrictions. That’s scaring away investors.
4. Mining slowdown
Bitcoin mining is not as productive. The average mining session once produced 50 coins. Now it is about half that. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is threatening to shut down mining operations there, where 60% of all activity takes place.
Number 5. Loss of anonymity
Cryptocurrencies are becoming less anonymous, which was a big part of their original allure. More governments are requiring traders to identify themselves, partly to crack down on fraud and tax evasion.