The days when businesses could afford to keep their heads in the sand about the latest cryptocurrency-related developments are long gone. These days, it seems like barely a week goes by without crypto making the news cycle for some reason. Whether they have been tied to a recent social or political event or they have been sent skyrocketing in value thanks to a tweet from a tech maven, crypto is so ingrained in the fabric of the modern business landscape that it is hard to remember a time when this was not the case.
However, one the of the consequences of this is that the landscape continues to change at a staggering pace. It can be hard to know where to start if you are just taking your first steps into the world of cryptocurrency. It is perfectly understandable that you may feel like you have just got a firm handle on the basics when someone tells you that everything that you have learned is now barely relevant to what is currently going on. If you are hoping that a quick primer from an article from a few years ago will be enough to prepare you for the constant churn of the latest news, then you are sorely mistaken.
It is a fact that business owners are going to need to think about how they are going to incorporate cryptocurrency into their strategies going forward. It is also a fact that many people out there are wondering if they should add cryptocurrency to their investment portfolios. If you need a primer on the biggest forces that are creating change in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the year ahead and beyond, here are the most important things that you need to know.
Cryptocurrency is only going to get more mainstream
In some ways it is amazing to think about how long cryptocurrency stayed on the fringes. For years and years, crypto has been referred to as an extreme niche interest. It was seen as something that was only used by professional IT experts and, by a small but vocal minority, the kind of thing that shady people used to avoid being noticed. These days, everyone has a pretty firm grip on what cryptocurrency does and even your grandparents, or grandchildren for that matter, have heard of Bitcoin. Even as some so-called experts continue to predict that cryptocurrency is a passing craze, it is only becoming more mainstream.
As we head into the spring and beyond, we should expect to see more and more stories about how many different companies and businesses are accepting cryptocurrency payments. We should expect to see more and more people adding cryptocurrency assets to their investment portfolios as more and more people get the hang of how to invest in it. This is not going anywhere. What’s more, we are going to see major financial institutions getting involved with cryptocurrency. The process has already begun, most notably with PayPal deciding that the time had finally come to allow its users to trade crypto on their platform. It goes without saying that the ability to use one of the most renowned and respected payment platforms out there to buy and sell cryptocurrency led to a massive increase in transactions. We are also starting to see companies and trusts converting some of their assets into cryptocurrency. These are the kinds of changes that demonstrate a sea change in the way that we see and use crypto.
Blockchain technology will continue to evolve
One of the most frequently asked questions by people who do not understand how cryptocurrency is “are cryptocurrency and blockchain the same thing?” Now, for anyone reading this who does not have a firm grasp on what blockchain is, it is the technology that records each and every transaction that a cryptocurrency coin goes through. The details of the transaction are coded into a block, and when the block is full of data a new one on the same string is begun.
Blockchain is so valuable for cryptocurrency users because it cannot be altered once it has been written. What’s more, it is available for everyone to look at, creating a completely transparent log of information that makes it very difficult for anyone to plan any kind of deception. When businesses talk about being excited about the opportunities that cryptocurrency provides, they are often talking about how excited they are about the huge leaps forward that blockchain technology is creating. For example, blockchain tech is currently being used by industry giants as a way to crack down on piracy. This is only going to continue.
More and more currencies will emerge as contenders
There are still some people out there tend to assume that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are one and the same thing. Of course, the truth is that there is a huge number of different currencies on the crypto market. It is also true that relatively few of them reach the kind of value or importance that you would need to make an impact on popular consciousness. Bitcoin remains way ahead of the rest of the pack at the moment, but Ethereum has been vying for its dominance over the last couple of years.
What’s more, some cracks are starting to emerge in Bitcoin’s armour. For example, while it continues to rise in the stock market, the technology behind it is starting to show signs of aging. There have been mounting criticisms of Bitcoin’s speed and cost, and specifically that they amount of energy used to mine Bitcoin is vast (more on this in just a moment). It only makes sense that we are going to see more contenders emerge, and one of the most popular right now is Cardano. Cardano is the brainchild of one of Ethereum’s co-founders that takes that cryptocurrency’s mission to the next level. If you want to know how to buy Cardano in Canada, then visit Wealthsimple. They offer a detailed breakdown of Cardano, other cryptocurrencies and have a wealth of resources available to help you to do more with your money.
Users are going to demand more security
It will not have escaped your attention that the world has been going through something of a cybercrime pandemic over the last couple of years. Even though world leaders have announced grand sweeping measures to crack down on the rash of ransomware attacks and other cybercrime activities, the experts are predicting that we are in for much more in the way of this crime yet. A lot of people are still operating under the misconception that buying and selling cryptocurrency is inherently unsafe. In fact, it is worth remembering that the blockchain technology actually makes it harder to get up to no good with cryptocurrency.
However, there is no getting around the fact that cryptocurrency assets are valuable commodities and there are people out there who want to get their hands on them by any means necessary. As we see crypto becoming more and more mainstream, we should expect to see more announcements regarding safety and security for these users. Of course, anyone trading crypto who has done their research will have a hot wallet and a cold wallet ready to go. If you have not yet invested in these then they are highly recommended.
There will be a greater environmental focus
We have all been made brutally aware of the need for urgent action when it comes to climate change in recent months. We have witnessed the extreme weather events and shocking temperature rises, and we are all starting to hold big businesses and ourselves accountable for creating unmanageable carbon footprints. With that in mind, it is hard to get around the fact that Bitcoin has come under a lot of scrutiny for the amount of energy involved in its mining. Cryptocurrency’s impact on the planet is going to be one of the biggest talking points in the months ahead, and it seems likely that any company that can find a way to go green with their creation could see a drastic rise in its stock value.
Regulation may be coming
One of the major attractions for so many people when it comes to cryptocurrency is that it is decentralised. There is no bank charging exorbitant fees for processing payments, no local government telling you what you can and can’t do with it. However, greater government regulation has long been on the agenda for countries around the world and it has long been one of the greatest fears for those who enjoy using cryptocurrency for its inherent freedom.
We are seeing more and more of a push, especially in the United States and Canada, for the government to step into the high seas of crypto trading and create a framework that businesses and trading platforms will have to abide by. The reasons that have been given is that there is a perceived lack of protection for consumers, and the old ideas about cryptocurrency being used for money laundering. Of course, if there is a large-scale intervention then we could start to see innovation start to move away.