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Cryptocurrency is Here - And It's Frightening


Dec 09, 2017 Posted /  14286 Views


Cryptocurrency is Here - And It's Frightening

Most people who purchase a home or a car, or purchase things on Amazon, never think about “paying” with the digital currency. Most people have no awareness how many digital currencies there are (over 1,000), though a lot of people have heard some information about Bitcoin.

Very few people comprehend that cryptocurrency is an instantaneous currency, a speculation and a technology: you can buy a house with digital currency, speculate with some of your retreat money in digital currency (and eventually invest in cryptocurrency ETFs), and capitalize in cryptocurrencies primary technology (blockchain).

Amazingly, banks are cleverer than politicians about digital currency, and many individuals and startups are keen than the banks. The rise of digital currency is incompletely analogous to the rise of medical and recreational marijuana. How long will it take “authorized institutions” – banks, companies and the government – to discover cryptocurrency chances – and threats? Their finding journey is already well underway.

What do you need to know about cryptocurrency?

Identify theft is principally impossible with cryptocurrency.

It’s possibly nefarious: money make legal, among other transactions, is easy.

Governments cannot control it – though they can – and will – regulate and tax it (principally through investment instruments).

It’s available and immediate.

More and more businesses will accept it – because they will have no choice.

It’s volatile: the value of Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, have swung wildly over the past couple of years.

It’s facilitated by a technology named blockchain, which according to Portia Crowe provides an alternative to traditional deal processing: “Blockchains are ledgers (like Excel spreadsheets), but they receive inputs from lots of diverse parties. The ledger can only be altered when there is a consent among the group. That makes them more protected, and it means there's no need for a central authority to support transactions.”

What should you do?

Play with digital coin or Ripple, and research with how it works. Consider sites like Coinbase to get started. There are others.

Track the investment implements beyond independently buying/selling digital currencies online. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) will arrive soon, after some hitches with the US SEC. There are other asset options including widely traded funds, hedge funds, and secluded buy-and-hold funds, according to Kevin Gao. They all come with opening and risk.  (You should speak to investment professionals before risking meaningful money.)

Assess your industry’s appetite for alteration, experimentation and substitute payment systems; track industry progress as well as the technical infrastructure required to increase the use of cryptocurrency.

Why is cryptocurrency “here” and “frightening”?

It’s here because it offers a safer, quicker and inexpensive way to transact.  It’s also here because actual growth will stimulate massive official interest and offerings.  Even the payment officials will come around and proactively champion their cryptocurrency gifts. It’s inevitable because it’s anonymous and private.

Which gets us to “frightening.” Any time an established process – in this case, payment systems can be replaced by another better/faster/cheaper one there are repercussions. Amazon’s nonstop assault on brick-and-mortar retail, Uber/Lyft substitutes to taxis, and Airbnb as replacements for hotels are just a few examples of how disruptive alternatives can be – especially if they’re measurably better/faster/cheaper.

Why would anyone laundering money, stealing/selling data, or just hiding financial activity of all kinds (for whatever reasons) not use cryptocurrency?

The future of cryptocurrency is well underway.  It will continue to grow both as an investment instrument and a currency.  Everyone should accept its inevitability but be cautious about its use. With a burner phone and some cryptocurrency, there’s not much people can’t do. It's also frightening because it enables the bifurcation of Internet transaction processing. Some transaction processing -- the bulk of today's transactions -- will occur in an open world, while an increasing amount will occur elsewhere. "Elsewhere" in this context means we'll never know?

The implications of this split are wide and deep. Will Amazon offer cryptocurrency-based anonymity where buyers are sent to another site to execute transactions? Will competitors to Amazon and other online retailers offer anonymity as a differentiator?  Will cryptocurrencies command a large transaction premium? Will investments in cryptocurrency ETFs be made with cryptocurrencies making it impossible to know who is invested in the funds? There are hundreds of these questions. Time will tell how it all jiggles out, but digital currency is here to stay.


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