Cryptocurrency: The Fintech Disruptor

Blockchains, sidechains, mining – terminologies in the clandestine world of cryptocurrency keep turning up by minutes. Although it sounds unreasonable to introduce new financial terms within an already intricate world of finance, cryptocurrencies offer a much-needed solution to one of the biggest annoyances in the current money market – security of transaction in an electronic world. Cryptocurrency is really a defining and disruptive innovation in the fast-moving world of fin-tech, a pertinent reaction to the need for a secure medium of exchange in the times of virtual transaction. In a time when deals are merely digits and numbers, cryptocurrency proposes to accomplish exactly that!

In the most rudimentary type of the term, cryptocurrency is really a proof-of-concept for alternative virtual currency that promises secured, anonymous transactions through peer-to-peer online mesh networking. The misnomer is more of a property rather than actual currency. Unlike everyday money, cryptocurrency models operate with out a central authority, as a decentralized digital mechanism. In a distributed cryptocurrency mechanism, the money is issued, managed and endorsed by the collective community peer network – the continuous activity which is recognized as mining on a peer’s machine. Successful miners receive coins too in appreciation of their own time and resources utilized. Once used, the transaction information is broadcasted to a blockchain in the network under a public-key, preventing each coin from being spent twice from exactly the same user. The blockchain can be thought of as the cashier’s register. Coins are secured behind a password-protected digital wallet representing an individual.

Supply of coins in the digital currency world is pre-decided, free from manipulation, by any individual, organizations, government entities and finance institutions. The cryptocurrency system is known because of its speed, as transaction activities on the digital wallets can materialize funds in a matter of minutes, compared to the traditional banking system. It is also largely irreversible by design, further bolstering the thought of anonymity and eliminating any further chances of tracing the amount of money back to its original owner. Unfortunately, the salient features – speed, security, and anonymity – also have made crypto-coins the mode of transaction for numerous illegal trades.

Similar to the money market in the real world, currency rates fluctuate in the digital coin ecosystem. Due to the finite quantity of coins, as demand for currency increases, coins inflate in value. Bitcoin may be the largest and most successful cryptocurrency so far, with market cap of $15.3 Billion, capturing 37.6% of the market and currently coming in at $8,997.31. Bitcoin hit the currency market in December, 2017 by being traded at $19,783.21 per coin, before facing the sudden plunge in 2018. The fall is partly due to rise of alternative digital coins such as Ethereum, NPCcoin, Ripple, EOS, Litecoin and MintChip.

Due to hard-coded limits on the supply, cryptocurrencies are considered to follow exactly the same principles of economics as gold – price is determined by the limited supply and the fluctuations of demand. With the constant fluctuations in the exchange rates, their sustainability still remains to be seen. Consequently, the investment in virtual currencies is more speculation right now than an everyday money market.

In the wake of industrial revolution, this digital currency is an indispensable part of technological disruption. From the point of an informal observer, this rise may look exciting, threatening and mysterious all at once. Although some economist remain skeptical, others see it as a lightning revolution of monetary industry. Conservatively, the digital coins are going to displace roughly quarter of national currencies in the developed countries by 2030. It has already created a fresh asset class alongside the original global economy and a new set of investment vehicle will come from cryptofinance in the next years. Recently, Bitcoin could have taken a dip to give spotlight to other cryptocurrencies. But this will not signal any crash of the cryptocurrency itself. While Spice over governments’ role in cracking down the clandestine world to regulate the central governance mechanism, others insist on continuing the existing free-flow. The popular cryptocurrencies are, the more scrutiny and regulation they attract – a standard paradox that bedevils the digital note and erodes the primary objective of its existence. Either way, the lack of intermediaries and oversight is making it remarkably attractive to the investors and causing daily commerce to change drastically. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fears that cryptocurrencies will displace central banks and international banking soon. After 2030, regular commerce will undoubtedly be dominated by crypto supply chain which will offer less friction and much more economic value between technologically adept buyers and sellers.

If cryptocurrency aspires to become an essential part of the existing economic climate, it will have to fulfill very divergent financial, regulatory and societal criteria. It’ll need to be hacker-proof, consumer friendly, and heavily safeguarded to provide its fundamental benefit to the mainstream monetary system. It should preserve user anonymity without having to be a channel of money laundering, tax evasion and internet fraud. As these are must-haves for the digital system, it will take few more years to comprehend whether cryptocurrency can compete with the real world currency in full swing. Although it is likely to happen, cryptocurrency’s success (or lack thereof) of tackling the challenges will determine the fortune of the monetary system in the times ahead.