Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 8

Cryptocurrency’s Evolving Influence

By Eric Khodorenko

Graphic By Yiying Zhang

Cryptocurrency took the world by storm in 2017 when a single Bitcoin cost up to $20,000. It quickly plummeted around 50% within two months and it bottomed out at around $3,000 in December, 2018. Since then, crypto has made a major comeback with hundreds of new cryptos. Bitcoin was worth around $60,000 as of April 13th. More and more investors and companies are seeing cryptocurrency as a viable investment opportunity. Electric car company Tesla has invested $1.5 Billion into bitcoin and has begun accepting Bitcoin as a way to pay for their cars. Paypal has begun to let you buy and sell cryptocurrency from its app and also send and receive. Retail traders have also contributed to the crypto boom as newly minted traders are using the popular cryptocurrency investment app By Coinbase to get in on the excitement. Bamboo Asia, a restaurant in San Francisco has begun accepting Bitcoin as a way to pay for food. Similarly, Easy Breezy, a chain of stores in San Francisco, has also begun to accept crypto. As Bitcoin becomes more of a mainstay, businesses will begin to adopt crypto as a legitimate way to pay for services and products. However, the crypto boom has had some collateral damage; a popular way of obtaining crypto is by mining it, which is basically making your computer do complex problems and then be rewarded with small fractions of various cryptos, with the most popular being Ethereum. The boom has created a graphics card shortage as people rush to buy powerful computer components in order to begin generating currency passively. Furthermore, crypto mining uses up lots of energy, which has led Bitcoin to have an energy footprint comparable with New Zealand which produces 39.65 megatons annually sparking environmental concerns about the digital currency.