When the first Bitcoin was created many years ago, most people ignored it. It was viewed as a kooky idea dreamed up by people who spent too much time on the internet and doomed to failure. As we all now know, that hasn’t been the case. It’s become a legitimate currency, and it’s accepted in more places with each passing month. Despite that, and despite the fact that a single Bitcoin is now worth several thousand dollars, there are still people who view it as a fad, and one that will eventually disappear.

These days, the doubters are in the minority. The reality is that Bitcoin is well-established, extensively traded, and viewed as a legitimate currency by almost every bank in the world. PayPal processes payments with Bitcoin. Online slots websites have started accepting Bitcoin, and that’s a more significant development than most people realize. The casino sector is enormous, and online slots websites alone make billions of dollars each year, with every year seeing more money spent than the last. When a currency becomes acceptable for playing online slots, it can officially be classed as mainstream.

Although the currency has (mostly) gone from strength to strength every year, it’s also encountered challenges and bumps in the road on the way. With that in mind, here’s what we see happening with Bitcoin during 2021.

More Regulatory Action

While banks recognize that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency, they don’t necessarily like it. National and international authorities like it even less. They see the anonymity of the currency as a risk and its lack of centralization as a liability. To state it plainly, they see Bitcoin as a currency that criminals can use to launder their cash and hide the true origin of funds. Even the currency’s most staunch defenders have to accept there’s some truth in that argument, and the bigger Bitcoin gets, the more regulators are likely to push back against it. The value of a single Bitcoin passed the twenty thousand dollar mark for the first time during 2020, and that appears to have put it on the radar for politicians – especially those based in the United States of America. Attempts to police and regulate Bitcoin have been discussed for years, but it looks likely that stronger attempts will be made during 2021. Nobody knows what that might look like or what impact it might have on the coin’s value.

More Competition

Bitcoin might be the ‘original’ cryptocurrency, but it’s far from the only one. Ethereum is probably the largest and most well-known of the ‘other’ cryptocurrencies, but it’s one of hundreds. That might soon turn into thousands. The overwhelming majority of these other currencies will never grow to the point where they’re a threat to Bitcoin, or even to the point where they have significant value, but some of them will. Those that are backed by major entities and tech companies have the best chance of doing so. Facebook is still trying to get its “Libra” cryptocurrency off the ground (apparently under the new name of “Diem”), and it will probably succeed in doing so eventually. There are also signs that some of the traditional banks have decided to dip their toes in the water, too. Some of these currencies will have enormous backing, and they’ll do what they can to blow Bitcoin out of the water. It will be interesting to see what impact – if any – they can have on Bitcoin’s prospects. Keep an especially close eye on any new cryptocurrencies that come from China.

More Volatility

Bitcoin is viewed as a volatile coin, but that might not be fair. It’s true to say that Bitcoin has been volatile in the past and will be volatile in the future, but every currency in the world has been volatile to some extent in the past year. These are challenging times for the global economy, and no currency is safe from its effects. The longer Bitcoin exists for, though, the more we learn about the things that do and don’t affect it. Volatility isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long as that volatility can be predicted or understood. If you spend a few minutes searching the internet, you’ll find as many people predicting that Bitcoin will double in value during 2021 as there are people predicting that it will tank in value and shrink by half or more. All we can say for sure is that 2021’s financial markets will continue to be challenging for everybody and because they’re challenging, Bitcoin’s price will go up and down. That’s likely to result in some white-knuckle moments for investors, but anybody who goes into Bitcoin investments without knowing that hasn’t done their research correctly.

More Acceptance

No matter what happens, Bitcoin will be accepted as a form of payment in more places at the end of 2021 than it was at the end of 2020. The genie is out of the bottle, and it’s not going back in now. Online slots websites, which we mentioned earlier, are just the tip of the iceberg. We know of some bars and restaurants that accept payment by Bitcoin. Some mail-order websites allow you to pay by Bitcoin yet. Amazon doesn’t technically allow Bitcoin payments at the time of writing, but you can use a Bitcoin-funded PayPal account to buy things through Amazon, and that’s technically the same thing. Once one big company shifts its position and starts accepting Bitcoin (or other crypto) payments, others will follow suit. That’s the way business works, because no company likes to be seen as out of touch or behind the times.

Anybody who claims to be able to tell you exactly what will happen with Bitcoin during the year ahead is a liar. It’s an unpredictable currency, and that unpredictability is all part of the fun for at least some investors. It might be harder to become a Bitcoin millionaire for new investors than it was during the time of the first boom, but it’s still possible if you invest smartly and money is on your side. This article might make it sound like what to expect from Bitcoin in 2021 is ‘more of the same,’ but ‘more of the same’ in a Bitcoin context is never a dull thing.