Cryptocurrency, quite simply, is changing the financial face of businesses and even individuals. It is the revolution in the way we perform transactions, invest and raise capital. It is replacing the need for physical money, and in some cases, it is replacing the need for banks and high-interest loans. Therefore, as more and more of us turn digital, what does this mean for the financial future in the world of business? Below we delve into the world of cryptocurrency.
Blockchain & Bitcoin
The rise of cryptocurrency has allowed new, innovative internet technology known as ‘Blockchain’ to develop. This breakthrough technology was originally created for bitcoin transactions, as it cleverly lets digital information be transferred and distributed, but not copied. It means that when businesses and individuals trade using bitcoins, they can use the digital Blockchain virtual currency exchange. The database is a public ledger which has no location and isn’t stored in one place. Therefore, it is easily accessed by the public, and a hacker cannot corrupt the files as millions of computers are hosting it. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is a digital cryptocurrency which can be used to pay for items electronically through a peer-to-peer network.
Cryptocurrency may be the newest digital financial trend but why are more businesses turning to this method?
- Investment Opportunities: When you are looking to expand and grow your business, bitcoins pose the perfect investment opportunities for fellow startups and established companies. Bitcoin is often referred to as ‘digital gold,’ which means that the value has steadily risen in recent years. The total value of all bitcoin ranges into billions, and at the end of April 2017, the price per bitcoin was a record high of $1,343.
- No Banks: As mentioned above, bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, which means that any transactions aren’t processed through banks. It allows payments to be processed much quicker and in one currency. It means for your business that you can raise capital quicker and cheaper and it cuts out the drawn-out process of visiting banks for loans.
- Anonymous Transactions: Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, and when you trade using your wallet, all that is revealed to the vendor is your wallet ID. This protects your identity, your business identity, and the vendor’s identity.
- International Payments: As it is one centralized currency, bitcoin means you don’t have to worry about exchange rates when you are trading and buying Bitcoins feature no credit card fees, and they aren’t tied to any current regulations. You also don’t need to wait for payments as they are instant.
- Easy To Use: Unlike having to visit a bank to transfer money, with using the digital wallet, you can transfer easily using your computer or an app on your device. There are even complex puzzles you can complete to “mine” bitcoins which are growing in popularity. On average, every 10 minutes, the winner of the puzzle is awarded5 bitcoins.
As with every piece of technology, cryptocurrency does come with its fair share of downsides.
- No Regulations: As mentioned, currently bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency aren’t imposed by regulations within countries. It means that the threat of fraud and price manipulation is significantly higher than with traditional currency. Without regulations, it has also meant that investors are using the money they don’t possess to gamble on bitcoins. Financial investors have called upon governments to impose regulations, but the absence is a large reason why investors turn to cryptocurrency. However, there are governments across the globe considering regulating their countries bitcoin markets.
- Cybersecurity: Unfortunately, using a digital wallet means you aren’t only not insured by FDIC, but hackers and cyber threats can be present. The cryptocurrency market is hosting on a vast number of computers, which means there isn’t one central location where you can use anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
- Anonymity: While keeping your identity private can be an advantage, cryptocurrency has become the chosen transaction method for those using it for illicit purchases, such as buying drugs online. The anonymity means transactions cannot be traced back to the individual, which in future police cases, may pose an important issue.
- Uncertain Future: Cryptocurrency may be highly popular at this However, no one can be sure whether it will rise in popularity or it will crash and burn. It means that investment businesses choose may fall foul and lose valuable money. On the other hand, it also has the scope to become the currency of choice in years to come.