Cryptocurrencies have significantly grown in value in the past year, and the total market capitalisation is approximately $500billion. This is a significant amount of money, yet we are still not viewing them as part of the mainstream investment, and this is simply because they are so volatile and unregulated and therefore are full of risks.
They have huge price changes overnight, and there are over 1,500 coins to choose from, all which have no real regulations surrounding them, which make them very tricky to invest in. They face major challenges, some which are really problematic, such as security flaws at cryptocurrency exchanges. Because they are so volatile, it makes valuation very difficult.
Despite all of the flaws, the market on the whole really is evolving, for example; established exchanges have recently launched cash-settled Bitcoin futures, although the reception has been somewhat rocky up until now. This could be down to a number of different reasons – high margin requirements and global regulatory framework for two.
The blockchain technology has some really great features. It is constantly evolving, and it first and foremost enables secure peer-to-peer transactions. However, with this comes no trusted centralised authority. Many industries are looking into including blockchain technology into their sector, but are also concerned about the disruptive potential that comes with it. Let’s use the financial sector as an example. A financial database that is based on blockchain could essentially eliminate inefficiencies and human error risks, but in order to adopt this on the scale that would be needed, it would require a huge shift in software development, along with a well-constructed maintenance model, with banks and regulators playing a huge role.
That said, this only highlights the huge potential that cryptocurrencies have, and at the moment they are only scratching the surface.
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