Cryptocurrency has been a source of excitement and trepidation since its inception, and all the way through its turbulent journey to mainstream acceptance. It has been unfairly battered over the years and now it is time to defend digital currencies.
First impressions are important for crypto. Bitcoin (BTC), initially enjoyed a bad reputation as the currency of illicit activity — it was favored by ransomware hackers and drug traffickers worldwide.
Since January 2009, when the first Bitcoin was mined, things have changed. According to Bitinfocharts, there are more than 18,000,000 of them and more than 90,000. People have $1 million or more in Bitcoin.
There are signs that crypto is finally gaining mainstream acceptance. El Salvador made Bitcoin a legal tender last September, and the first Bitcoin futures-linked, exchange-traded fund in the United States (ETF), began trading on New York Stock Exchange in October. In December, payments giant Visa launched a Global Crypto Advisory Practice to assist financial institutions in their crypto journey.
Even talk of crypto being used as a means of exchange in Afghanistan is on the horizon. This would be a real example of crypto enabling financial transactions even in a world where the monetary system is in decline.
Related: How do Afghans use crypto under the Taliban government
Obstacles and barriers
Despite all these successes, there are still doubts among the public. Politicians have raised objections to a decentralized currency that would allow the general public to manage their money. China declared crypto transactions illegal in September due to concerns over gambling and money laundering. It has been condemned by politicians around the globe as a potential threat to the financial system.
Fear is the root cause of all this, and research has suggested that it may be fear of the unknown. A survey by money app Ziglu found that almost three quarters (31%) of British citizens are interested in investing in crypto. However, 62% of those surveyed have resisted buying any cryptocurrency because they don’t understand the market. The survey found that crypto is growing in legitimacy among the public.
Bitcoin is now considered a better investment than real estate.
It is time to realize that although there are inherent risks, crypto is also a force for good. This relatively new asset class is a great opportunity for everyone to invest in cryptocurrency in an age of falling savings rates.
Related: Stablecoin adoption, the future of financial inclusion
Many people don’t even have safe places to keep their hard-earned money. According to World Bank data, nearly 1.7 billion people worldwide do not have a banking account. We take it for granted that we can transfer money through bank transfers and credit cards — and send large amounts to our friends and loved ones with just a tap on our smartphones. But this is not the case for the unbanked.
However, more than 80% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. This allows them to send cryptocurrency remittances over international borders. Crypto allows millions of people to send money for pennies, thereby promoting financial inclusion. This is a great alternative to high bank fees because the new infrastructure is not limited by profit motivation.
Smart contracts can replace the services of banks, money transfer firms, or legal services. However, cryptocurrencies and digital wallets are able to provide flexibility, such as credit for customers, and financial sovereignty without a centralized entity.
Crypto can be used to protect citizens from economic turmoil. Venezuela is an example of a country where citizens are already experiencing high inflation and the effects of US sanctions on their banks. They are increasingly using crypto to convert their wages and use the blockchain to make money transfers and payments.
Bitcoin can be a great way to eradicate corruption in developing countries. The community can track every Bitcoin transaction that is made using the cryptocurrency to send money.
Crypto is also opening up finance to the masses. It is easy to get started, and you don’t need a broker. Anybody can invest in order to create wealth. People are now learning about concepts like annual percentage rates, borrowing and lending, as well as the history and purpose money.
However, crypto defense cannot ignore the problem of crime. Although crypto has been associated with ransomware and fraud, blockchain is the ideal system to stop such criminal activity.
Related: Bitcoin cannot be considered an untraceable “crime coin” anymore
Cryptocurrencies can be anonymous but they are pseudonymous. Law enforcement can track the movement and flow of crypto funds through an open ledger, giving them unprecedented visibility into financial flows. The criminals must also convert crypto to fiat currency. This gives them the opportunity to not only blacklist their wallet addresses, but also to proactively catch them.
This is why law enforcement was able track the ransom payments and eventually seize them, just like in the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attacks in the U.S. in June 2021. This was possible because cryptocurrency was used as the payment medium.
Related: Crypto is not to blame for ransomware
Blockchain has the advantage of being tamper-proof. Each transaction is independently verified through a process called consensus. The entries are irreversible, which means they cannot be changed and can only be updated with an addendum.
We advocate for a cybercrime law enforcement specialist unit. Why is this necessary? It is necessary to have the technical and human resources to work with corporations breached by ransom requests in crypto. It would be able communicate with all crypto exchanges and notify them so they can determine when and if the criminal is trying to cash out.
A second issue that is rightly raised regarding crypto is its environmental impact. To mine proof-of work currencies like Bitcoin, it requires large warehouses with powerful computing rigs.
This is changing, however. More than half of Bitcoin miners currently use sustainable energy. Northeast of Niagara Falls, a Bitcoin mining operation was established. It uses cheap hydroelectric power to power its rigs. Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, has announced a more innovative plan to harness the geothermal energy of Conchagua volcano for its Bitcoin City project.
The journey of cryptocurrency to mainstream acceptance has almost been completed. Now is the right time to forget about our fears and embrace the financial freedom and security it provides.
This article is not intended to provide investment advice. Every trade and investment involves risk. Readers should do their research before making any decision.
These views, thoughts, and opinions are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Cointelegraph.
Ian Taylor is the executive Director of CryptoUK. This independent industry body exists to provide a consistent, credible voice for the growing UK crypto industry. After 20 years of experience in investment banking, Taylor has held various senior positions across trading, risk management and treasury. He is also still involved with a large global bank. He is the executive director of CryptoUK and has helped to build a network of over 100 industry leaders and campaign for a unified regulatory framework in the U.K. and Europe.
Eileen Wilson –Technology and Energy
My Name is Eileen Wilson with more than 5 years of experience in the Stock market industry, I am energetic about Technology news, started my career as an author then, later climbing my way up towards success into senior positions. I can consider myself as the backbone behind the success and growth of topmagazinewire.com with a dream to expand the reach out of the industry on a global scale. I am also a contributor and an editor of the Technology and Energy category. I experienced a critical analysis of companies and extracted the most noteworthy information for our vibrant investor network.