An in-depth look at the key factors that could impact the value of Bitcoin Gold.
2017 was a big year for bitcoin forks, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and Bitcoin Diamond (BTD) all forking from the world’s best-known cryptocurrency. For its part, Bitcoin Gold was created with the goal of making bitcoin decentralized again, giving ordinary users the opportunity to mine this new cryptocurrency.
It’s an approach that aims to address one of the key criticisms leveled at bitcoin, but will it be a recipe for success? To find out, let’s examine the challenges and opportunities that could impact the price of Bitcoin Gold in the weeks and months ahead.
|Coin name||Bitcoin Gold|
|Launch date||November 12, 2017|
Bitcoin Gold price prediction
Trying to predict the price fluctuations of any cryptocurrency is a complicated business. Known for their volatility, crypto coins are also influenced by an extensive range of factors, so forecasting future price increases or dips is extremely difficult.
However, by examining the key factors that affect the value of Bitcoin Gold, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about where you think the price of this digital currency could be headed. The issues you’ll need to take into account include:
What could drive Bitcoin Gold’s growth?
- Supply. The maximum supply of BTG is capped at 21,000,000. According to CoinMarketCap at the time of writing (3/9/18), the circulating supply of the currency was 16,869,299 BTG.
- Accessibility. By mid-January 2018, just two months after its launch, Bitcoin Gold was listed in 46 markets on 26 exchanges and was also supported by exchange platforms ShapeShift and Changelly. This availability makes it easy to access for a wide variety of buyers and also increases its credibility in the eyes of the public.
- Mining decentralization. The centralization of mining among specialized and expensive ASIC hardware operators has been a key criticism of bitcoin in recent years and a topic of much debate in the bitcoin community. By giving ordinary users the chance to mine BTG with GPUs, the coin’s developers are well placed to achieve their goal to “make bitcoin decentralized again”.
- Lightning Network integration. Lightning Network is scheduled to be fully implemented on Bitcoin Gold in Q2 2018. This is designed to enable near-instant payments and reduced fees through dedicated side channels, as well as to enable a much greater number of transactions between large entities at minimal costs.
- Wide distribution. Everyone who held bitcoin before the fork received BTG at a ratio of 1:1. This distribution among the cryptocurrency community could increase the chances of Bitcoin Gold achieving widespread adoption.
What could hold Bitcoin Gold back?
- It’s new. Bitcoin Gold was launched in November 2017, so it’s still a relatively new arrival on the cryptocurrency scene. Compared to bitcoin and many other rivals, it’s got a long way to go to become an established player and attain the same level of credibility in the eyes of the wider public.
- Competition. As well as bitcoin, Bitcoin Gold’s level of success could also be affected by how it stacks up against other competitors. For example, it will need to compete for mining power with other anti-ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, and other peer-to-peer currencies like Bitcoin Cash.
- Too many forks. There have been multiple forks of bitcoin, which is not only confusing for anyone new to the world of cryptocurrency but also runs the risk of impacting the level of recognition and credibility each of those new currencies is able to achieve.
- Criticisms of forks in general. Any fork of bitcoin is met by suspicion and skepticism by many within the cryptocurrency community who see these new currencies as confusing to the general public and basically a way of capitalizing on bitcoin’s name and brand recognition.
- Pre-mining. Though BTG is built on the basis of decentralization, the Bitcoin Gold team pre-mined 100,000 coins before launching the currency. This has led to criticism of what some see as a centralization of funds.
Where to buy Bitcoin Gold
What’s coming up in Bitcoin Gold’s roadmap
Before deciding what the future holds for the price of Bitcoin Gold, it’s important to look at what upgrades and developments are planned in the coming months. Bitcoin Gold’s roadmap reveals the following key goals for upcoming timeframes:
- Q1 2018
- The integration of the BitcoinJS, BitcoinJ and CoPay open-source libraries.
- Design and rebranding.
- Refreshed website.
- Q2 2018
- Lightning Network integration to allow faster transaction speeds, greater transaction processing power and reduced fees.
- Support for P2Pool (a decentralized approach to mining pools).
- Integration of payment systems.
- Q4 2018
- RSK sidechains with smart contracts.
- Cross-chain atomic swaps, allowing users to perform a coin swap between two different cryptocurrency chains without using a third-party exchange.
- Schnorr Signatures to allow frequent senders (for example a bank or exchange) to sign a hundred transactions in one batch rather than putting a hundred signatures on the blockchain.
- Merkelized Abstract Syntax Trees (MAST) to increase privacy levels and reduce the load on the blockchain.
- The creation of a decentralized fiat-crypto brokerage network.
Bitcoin Gold’s competition
It’s also important to consider the challenges that Bitcoin Gold will face from other digital currencies. Developments, news and upgrades from these competitors could potentially have a positive or negative influence on the price of BTG.
Other cryptocurrencies to consider include:
- Bitcoin (BTC). The original and best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin is also the largest crypto in terms of market capitalization. As BTG is a hard fork of BTC, it will always be compared to the original.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Forked from bitcoin a few months prior to the creation of Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Cash aims to solve bitcoin’s scalability problems by offering faster and cheaper transactions.
- Ethereum (ETH). Another anti-ASIC cryptocurrency, Ethereum will compete with Bitcoin Gold for mining power. It’s also the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
- Vertcoin (VTC). Another coin designed to resist mining centralization, Vertcoin was created in 2014.
Beyond 2018: What does the future hold for Bitcoin Gold?
To fork or not to fork? This question has caused plenty of debate among crypto enthusiasts, with some viewing forks as a legitimate way to overcome a problem with an existing coin and others viewing them as little more than over-hyped cash grabs.
As a result, one of the main challenges facing Bitcoin Gold in the next couple of years is the battle for legitimacy. Bitcoin forks have something of an image problem they need to overcome, so the issue for Bitcoin Gold is whether or not it can demonstrate that Equihash is a viable alternative proof-of-work algorithm.
Bitcoin Gold will need to compete with other anti-ASIC cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Monero (XMR) and Vertcoin, for mining power. Many of its competitors are well established and can provide predictable returns for miners, so whether or not enough miners can be encouraged to switch to BTG remains to be seen.
Another key upcoming milestone is the integration of Lightning Network on Bitcoin Gold. If this can be successfully completed on schedule with the second quarter of 2018, this could potentially attract interest from large entities that are as yet unconvinced of BTG’s ability to scale.
The bottom line
The Bitcoin Gold project is still in its early days. Its biggest advantage is that it has been widely dispersed to bitcoin holders and is available on a wide range of exchanges, while simply being associated with bitcoin could also be a helpful factor.
However, there have been some valid criticisms leveled at this new currency, and the battle to be seen as a credible and legitimate alternative (and not just trying to capitalize on the bitcoin name) is a crucial challenge.
With this in mind, do your due diligence before you buy. Carefully assess all factors that could affect the price of BTG so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase.
At the time of writing, the author holds IOTA and XLM.