The future of Bitcoins

Bitcoins are fast becoming the trendy way to pay for goods – expect to have your own digital wallet in 2014…

“2014 could see the [Bitcoin] currency gain substantial adoption – which will likely yield regulation by government bodies.”

The hype around virtual currency Bitcoin has steadily grown over the last few months but in 2014 it looks to gain traction as a viable way to pay for goods and it’s predicted businesses across Britain, both online and on the high street, will begin to accept and operate the technology.

The marketplace is complicated at the moment and this has a lot to do with the fact that it’s not regulated by UK authorities but the use of Bitcoins and the cost of purchase look to become a lot clearer in the coming months.

How it works

Launched in 2009, Bitcoins are a digital currency which use a sequence of cryptography (crypted keys) to secure funds and this “virtual money” is then able to be transferred through the internet to buy goods. Someone looking to purchase a product using Bitcoins must enter a payment message which is digitally signed with that person’s specific private key. Your keys (your digital money) can be stored online, on your personal device or on paper-print outs.

The currency has begun to be used as a payment method and has even attracted high street merchants; one East London burger vendor, Burger Bear, recently lead the way selling its burgers for 0. 0131 Bitcoins (£7.50). It seems inevitable that Bitcoins will be adopted by businesses across the UK in 2014 so you’ll need to make space in your digital wallet!

John Elkaim, vice president of marketing at brand management firm Gigya:

“Bitcoin is an experimental online currency that has been garnering much media attention recently. New ways to use Bitcoin are starting to be explored, such as its use by a start-up called BitWall to have users pay for article access with Bitcoins, or by tweeting the article out.

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“While the currency has come under scrutiny for being used in the Silk Road; a ‘digital black market’, 2014 could see the currency gain substantial adoption – which will likely yield regulation by government bodies.”

However, PayPal president David Marcus urged caution. Speaking at the December 2013 LeWeb conference in Paris, he said. “People are confused. They think because it’s called cryptocurrency it’s a currency. I don’t think it is a currency. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger.

“It’s a great place to put assets, especially in places like Argentina with 40% inflation, where $1 today is worth 60 cents in a year, and a government’s currency does not hold value. It’s also a good investment vehicle if you have an appetite for risk. But it won’t be a currency until volatility slows down. Whenever the regulatory framework is clearer, and the volatility comes down, then we’ll consider it.”


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