Monday, April 19News For London

Cryptocurrency: Dawn of a new economy?

The rise of cryptocurrency has become a popular method of payment as it’s growingly accepted across London.

Imagine a time where carrying a wallet of cash is rendered useless, where figuring out what to do with all that change the cashier gave you isn’t an annoyance. Transferring funds worldwide instantly becomes as easy as a tap of the screen. There is a new age on the horizon ‘a cashless society’ and its increasingly becoming popular capturing the imagination of some, striking fear among others, and confusing the rest of us.

Today, London is a recent addition to the ever-growing list of destinations where retailers and traders have began accepting bitcoin. The enthusiasm and fascination of cryptocurrency provoked a massive increase in users. until recently users were quite limited to spending their funds to a few online retailers. but it continues to grow as many merchants aim to capitalise on the digital economy by incorporating Bitcoin ATM’s and acknowledging it as a method of payment.

The currency aims to become part of the main financial system (image via Zach Copley)

“These alternative payment systems are popular as they are quick, cheap and convenient, I want to see if we can make more use of them for the benefit of the UK economy,” George Osborne, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer said during his speech at the launch of Innovative Finance.

Who is Using it?

Sawmill Cafe and Bakery, located on West Ham Lane, South East London. A small establishment which sells homemade baked goods and assures its customers a great coffee with different blends. Owners took the decision to accept Bitcoin as a payment option almost immediately. They took the opportunity to share their story and why it was such an important decision to them.

Why Is it Good For Business

So what’s the big fuss, cryptocurrency is a form of digital money designed to be secure, anonymous, without any fees and decentralised from any central bank. with the first and still most popular being bitcoin, it was created in 2009 within their past decade there are now up to 900 different currencies available on the internet.

With its significant increase in value over the years bitcoin is now worth over £10,000 per coin compared to under £1 when it first came out according to CoinDesk’s Price Index. it is notoriously volatile as Prices continuously fluctuate over short periods of time so it would be like watching the stock market if you tried to pinpoint its exact value.

While only a small amount of people use bitcoin, it’s still a growing demographic the number of users in the future could be substantial. it’s a great opportunity for business to become a leader in their respective field of business and identify the competitive advantage accepting bitcoin payments would entice bitcoin enthusiasts to spend the coins as their choices have already been limited but it can help lower transaction fees and save a business money through quick and easy payments without the need for transaction fees.

Bitcoin’s benefits of decentralisation and transaction anonymity played against it as it was a favoured currency for a host of money laundering and illegal activities. it raised alarms over the security of the virtual currency on how it might in ensure consumer protection.  Government bodies are aiming to introduce methods to regulate the currency within their countries.

How it works?

Bitcoins virtual coins that are designed to be ‘self-contained’ for their value, with no need for banks money can be moved and stored freely. it’s as if they were golden nuggets in your pocket. So how do you go about acquiring them?

Firstly, users will require a wallet where the bitcoins are stored which is similar to a bank account. A small database stored on your computer, smart phone or on the cloud. there bitcoins are traded from one personal ‘wallet’ to another.

Users are able to purchase bitcoin through bank transfers, credit or debit cards depositing in GBP although these methods will incur charges and fees there are a number of methods you can buy and sell coins credit cards or debit cards will incur charges and fees and not all companies will accept them due to the risk of fraudulent chargebacks.

A great alternative is purchasing bitcoin from a Bitcoin ATM, which allows a person to purchase as well as exchange bitcoins for cash free of charge. London now has a number of ATM’s across the city which encourages users to invest in the growing currency.

Bitcoin ATM source: Maksym Kozlenko

What is the future of Cryptocurrency

The emergence of Bitcoin sparked a debate surrounding its future, Despite its recent issues, its seen huge success since its launch in 2009. The rise in popularity of bitcoin has peaked the interests of many investors.

the cryptocurrency that aspires to become part of the financial system would have to satisfy very divergent criteria. businesses are keeping a steady eye on the growing trend as the number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies has steadily increased, retailers across London are keen to capitalise on the digital currency as a new method of payment and transactions.

However, their relative complexity compared to conventional currencies will likely deter most people, they have to first gain widespread acceptance among consumers. For cryptocurrencies to become more widely used