Global Trend: Cryptocurrencies Are Going Mainstream
In spite of China and South Korea cracking down on ICOs and other countries announcing plans to regulate the crypto market, digital currencies are becoming increasingly popular. Not all governments see it as a threat; even more, there are some looking at how to use blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to innovate key sectors of their economy.
From businesses to central banks, entities are well aware of the benefits crypto market can unfold to the mainstream. From small businesses to large corporations, everyone is trying to gain a competitive advantage of lower fees and opening up to the future.
Among the big brands to embrace the new trend, is Starbucks, making a clear statement about the plans of going crypto. The chairman, Howard Schultz, said in a statement there is a mobile payment digital platform that will soon be in place and customers can use certain (to be announced) digital currencies to pay for their purchase.
South Korean merchants took it one step further. One of the biggest online shopping malls has plans to add 12 digital currencies as a payment option. The competition, TMON, quickly followed by suggesting similar strategy. Naver also.
At a government level, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) submitted a statement revealing that 11 companies are now registered as cryptocurrency exchange operators. The legislation for such a license obligates the business to build an efficient technological infrastructure and conduct KYC procedure in order to verify the identity of users to prevent money laundering. These statutory requirements are intended to protect investors from fraud, while supporting financial technology innovation.
Earlier this month, the government of Antigua and Barbuda gave permission to a state company to run its Ethereum-platform ICO in an attempt to raise funds for energy development, community enhancements and local charitable causes.
Lichtenstein’s lending institution, Bank Frick, announced that as of late February, it offers services such as storage of cryptocurrencies (5 major ones so far) and direct crypto investment. In Switzerland, Vontobel and Falcon Private Bank have been offering crypto investments since 2016. Rabobank, one of the Netherlands’ largest banks, has plans to offer digital currency storage for customers via a new product named “Rabobit”.
Finally, blockchain-based services are swiftly becoming the product of increased demand from all over the world; businesses, consumers and institutions start to see the benefits of having an alternative system in place. It is expected that more and more banks and financial institutions will embrace the idea of incorporating cryptocurrency services in their portfolio while crypto payments will gradually become a normal part of daily life.