After Bitcoin exploded onto the financial world last year, it immediately became enveloped in controversy, with just as many predicting its imminent doom as were declaring it a revolutionary form of money.
The Bitcoin news in 2014 will have less drama but will be far more important to the fate of the digital currency.
Last year Bitcoin prices endured not one but two crashes, in April and again in December, in gaining a reputation as an uncommonly volatile investment.
And Bitcoin shed some guilt by association when the U.S. government in October shut down the underground web site Silk Road, which allowed people to use Bitcoin to buy and sell illegal drugs.
While its growing pains are far from over, 2014's Bitcoin news will be mostly about the world coming to terms with the cryptocurrency as it gains wider acceptance.
Bitcoin News 2014: Five Predictions
- Bitcoin News Prediction No. 1: Merchant Acceptance Reaches Critical Mass
We saw several prominent merchants announce in 2013 that they would accept Bitcoin as payment: online retailer Overstock.com Inc. (Nasdaq: OSTK), game company Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), dating website OKCupid, and blogging platform WordPress. In 2014, that trickle will become a flood as merchants realize the benefits of Bitcoin, such as more affluent techie customers as well as lower transaction fees compared to credit cards. Once the trend starts to accelerate, no one will want to be left behind.
- Bitcoin News Prediction No. 2: Third Parties Make It Brain-Dead Simple to Use
One of the primary issues holding back more rapid adoption of the digital currency is that anyone who uses Bitcoin needs to be technically savvy. But such a problem invites innovation, and we're sure to see a lot of companies in 2014 coming up with ways to make Bitcoin easy and intuitive. We've already seen such companies as Coinbase and Robocoin (which has built a Bitcoin ATM) take the first steps in this direction.