With cryptocurrency’s recent fall in value, as well as the ten year anniversary of Bitcoin, opinions and questions about the future of cryptocurrency are flying. Will they grow in value or be worth nothing? Will they replace traditional currency or become irrelevant. People seem to be torn.
At a tech conference in Davos, Switzerland, founder of BCG Digital Ventures, Jeff Schumacher stated that, “I do believe [cryptocurrency] will go to zero. I think it’s a great technology but I don’t believe it’s a currency. It’s not based on anything.” His hesitations echo those of others; while the idea of cryptocurrency is groundbreaking and transparent, many feel that the investment isn’t worth the risk. Without the normal financial safeguards, some investors feel that the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies don’t make for safe or smart investments.
Furthermore, due to a lack of regulation, many countries, like Venezuela and China, have banned ICOs (initial coin offerings). Without mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, can the technology have a future?
Due to the anonymous nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, individuals feel safer making purchases. The technology is especially useful to those who live in countries with repressive governments. Since users have anonymity, they do not have to worry about their purchases or investments being seen by government officials. Additionally, cryptocurrencies are separate from the government, meaning that they are free from the possibility of being frozen or seized.
Equally compelling, transaction fees by retailers who accept cryptocurrencies are significantly lower than those that come along with traditional forms of payment. Wire transfers are another area where those paying in cryptocurrencies can see savings.
Both those who believe cryptocurrencies are the future and those who think its value will disappear agree that the technology behind them, blockchain, is going to be the next wave in innovation. With a decentralized, public ledger, companies and governments see blockchain as an opportunity to be transparent and more efficient in their dealings.
Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, cryptocurrencies and blockchain are certainly having a moment – and they have been for years. The continued conversation around these technologies indicate that the interest is there and tangible, that it could be useful, and that we’re only in the early stages of what could be an incredible shift in technology as we know it.