Governments and organizations around the world are paying more and more attention to Crypto Currencies (CC) and the technology that underpins them all – Blockchain. Some of the attention is negative, but on balance, it is clear that more and more attention is positive, supportive and exploitative. As the world of business and investment realizes a disruptive force, it is essential to analyze business processes in this new frontier and compare them to the relatively old, slow and expensive processes they have now. New technologies require new investment capital to grow, and with that growth comes leaps, false starts, and controversy.
Developments in the CC and Blockchain world are coming fast and furious as governments and organizations strive to harness the technology, tax all profits, protect investments, and protect constituents and customers. Many seem to go in different directions when explaining why, and change direction frequently. Here are some recent developments that indicate that CCs and Blockchains are gradually gaining mainstream acceptance, but still struggle with regulation, control and stability:
- Uzbekistan will publish plans to regulate Bitcoin in September 2018, with a Blockchain “skill center” set to begin operations in July.
- Kazakhstan has expressed its desire to copy Singapore’s Blockchain permit.
- Belarus has announced that it wants to create a welcoming environment for Blockchain as an innovative financial transaction technology.
- Venezuela has created “PETRO”, a CC created to raise money as Venezuela approaches economic collapse. The hope is that it will be a way to deal with sanctions that prevent Venezuela from raising money in global bond markets. President Nicolas Maduro claims that PETRO raised $735 million on its first day, which is unproven. Maduro sees the PETRO as “the perfect kryptonite to defeat Superman” – an analogy to the sanctions imposed by the US, which he believes will free his country from the control of banks and governments. Perhaps he doesn’t see that PETRO was started by a government – his own.
- TD Canada Trust has become the first Canadian bank to join a number of UK and US banks in banning the use of credit cards to purchase CCs.
- South Korea is moving towards legalizing Bitcoin, stating that it will consider Bitcoin as a liquid asset. With South Korea at the forefront of the CC market, the impact of their decisions will be significant and global. Japan has already taken these steps, making Bitcoin trading more transparent, regulated and 100% legal.
- BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, continues its positive predictions for CC, saying it sees “broader use” in the future.
- Romeo Lacher, president of the Swiss stock exchange, believes there are many advantages to releasing a cryptographic version of the Swiss franc, and his organization would be helpful, adding that he “doesn’t like money”.
- China’s largest online and brick-and-mortar retailer JD.com has announced the first four startups for its Al Catapult Blockchain incubation program. The Beijing-based program, which has seen candidates from as far afield as Australia and the UK, aims to use the company’s extensive Chinese infrastructure to develop new Blockchain and artificial intelligence applications.
With all the global activity going back and forth, it’s clear that Blockchain is the disruptive technology of this age, and CCs are just one aspect of the possibilities enabled. Just like the Internet investment boom of the 90s, Blockchain and CC investments will have winners and losers, however, we do not want this to become the giant bubble that so destructively burst with many early DOT COM investments in the 90s. What we want to see is a well-reasoned approach to Blockchain development and investment.
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Volatility will continue to be the norm in this market space for a long time as we see increasing adoption, innovation and regulation. Failures will happen and successes will emerge, forcing governments, organizations, investors and innovators to constantly adapt their processes and thinking. Volatility is normal and healthy at this stage.