Bitcoin is at the doors of mainstream adoption, according to research conducted by major American investment bank Citi.
In its March 1st report, Citi suggests that Bitcoin is at the “tipping point” of either “mainstream acceptance or speculative implosion.” The bank's researchers explain that adoption of the world's first cryptocurrency grew at an astonishing rate, but one that was to be expected:
The time it takes a new product to become widely used by global customers has decreased dramatically. According to Visual Capitalist, it took the telephone 50 years to reach 50 million customers, 22 years for television, seven years for the Internet and just 19 days for Pokémon Go. So it's not a surprise the uptake of Bitcoin in the past almost 7 years has been nothing but extraordinary.
Citi researchers highlight how much Bitcoin's usage and value increased inception and how it has been able to attract enough attention and investment to kickstart a whole ecosystem of companies and services that leverage its network. According to the bank, large-scale adoption could be the next step forward:
Where could Bitcoin be in another seven or so years? The report notes the advantage of Bitcoin in global payments, including its decentralized design, lack of foreign exchange exposure, fast (and potentially cheaper) money movements, secure payment channels, and traceability. These attributes combined with Bitcoin's global reach and neutrality could spur it to become the currency of choice for international trade.
The authors of the report note that Bitcoin changed from “being primarily a retail-focused endeavor to something that looks attractive for institutional investors.” Recent reports back this statement. One example is financial intelligence firm MicroStrategy, which by itself owns over 90,000 bitcoin—nearly $4.4 billion at press time.
Another example is presented by Square, which recently bought an additional $170 million of bitcoin, building its holdings up to $225 million. Giants from traditional finance also joined the party, with an executive of the world's top asset manager BlackRock, which manages $7 trillion, recently sharing that the company "started to dabble in" Bitcoin.