When the first time I heard about “Bitcoin” I was sitting in the middle of a LIVE news show at my previous place of work. CNN was doing an elaborate show on it. It was of the few who had then done some payment using some sort of digital currency. I laughed it off as another FAD which will fall prey to hackers soon and result in doom.
Years later, that so-called FAD has been adopted by major online brands and platforms.
Digital currencies came into being as dream of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, who wanted to create a digital form of cash flow for the ease of the masses across the globe. Consider the example of your own bank. You can withdraw only a limited amount per day/month. And this money now post the Digital Initiatives, is about a verified entry in some kind of database of accounts, transactions, and balances.
Similar is the case of a BITCOIN, but here only “miners” can confirm transactions. And in principle, everyone can be a miner. And how do they do it? By taking on transactions and verifying them. And in turn, miners get rewarded with digital tokens. If we go by the rules then everything is positive most searched keyword “Bitcoin” as per Google trend in 2017. The buzz created enough curiosity for people to search and consume information about the market.
The growth story of cryptocurrency surged as much as 1200% this year beginning with the market capitalization of $17 billion rose to $230 billion as of today. Initially traded by the retailers and later on, institutions trading started around mid-year. So lot of fund infusion and became a favorite hunting ground for all fund managers across the globe.
Cryptocurrencies are a speculative investment. But thanks to the blockchain technology which underpins it, these have crayon risks as well as benefits. And being a woman who has had the least knowledge about Digital Currency, I decided to get deeper into it with the help of an expert– Surojit Bose, technology & product evangelist and Founder of WebWork Solutions in Delhi-NCR.
Surojit will help fellow women and me get the hang of “Risk & Benefits of Digital Currency for the Women Out There.”
He says,” The era is about disruption, just think how Amazon disrupted traditional brick-n-mortar markets; Uber disrupted the taxi industry; Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry. So is the digital currency, not only people but institutions and governments are willing to listen and accept them as the force to reckon with. Adoption is far more on the card as individual, institutions, and government are recognising the present and future potential.” Thus he enlightens us with the following in detail, one by one…
BENEFITS OF DIGITAL CURRENCY
1. Fraud Safe
Being digital, the cryptocurrency cannot be counterfeited or reversed arbitrarily by the sender, as with credit card charge-backs.
2. Identity Theft Protection
Credit card fraud is the most common these days. Moreover, it gives a merchant the access to your full credit line, even if it is a meager amount. On the other hand, Cryptocurrency allows the holder to send exactly what the customer has to supply without any further information
3. Immediate Settlement of Payment
We explain it with the example of a propriety deal wherein a lot of factors like Lawyers, Notaries, delays, and payment of fees etc in involved wasting a lot of time just to ensure your payment is in safe hands. On the other hand, cryptocurrency blockchain is like a “large property rights database.” says Gallippi. Bitcoin contracts can be easily set up and enforced by eliminating or adding a required legal approvals as well as the reference external facts. And it can be completed in much lesser time and expense without a third party fee.
4. Access to Everyone
More than 50 million women in the world still rely on traditional exchange systems. These women are primed for the Cryptocurrency market, and not just those who use the digital podium already.
5. Lower Fees than Online Traditional Transactions
As of now, you have to pay a fee for an online transaction in the form of interest if it exceeds a limit. We aren’t saying cryptocurrency exchanges are not free from fees since the miners are compensated by the network so far. What we are saying that with rising demand, digital currency users will engage a third-party service, such as Coinbase. This will be to create and maintain own bitcoin wallets. Similar to say PAYTM, which provides instant online transaction charging a nominal fee. Similarly, digital currency will soon charge a fee if it operates through a third party. Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that this parties like Paytm or Paypal do not accept or transfer bitcoins so far.
6. You & Only You Own It
Yes, there is no other digital cash transaction system in the world where your account isn’t owned by someone else. Say for instance when demonetisation happened, despite transferring funds to Paytm and even after its deduction from the bank account, due to server overlaid, the amount would reach your wallet in several days…thereby leaving you in a panic state. With cryptocurrency, you have the key in your hands a private as well as a corresponding public key that is your and just yours cryptocurrency address. No one can take it away unless you lose it or host it with a web-based wallet service that loses the data.
Here Surojit Bose adds the benefits to the industry as well, “The most accepted cryptocurrency is Bitcoin and Etherium among retailers which in turn brought a lot of organic growth which in turn is stimulating massive institutional interest. So in a nutshell, the digital currency industry is getting the recognition among the progressive business fraternity. The market on the other side also has seen the volatility with Bitcoin and Etherium tradings.”
But then every technology comes with its RISKS.
1. Lack of 100% Security
There is no fool-proof safety to protect your cryptocurrency from human error (passwords), fiduciary fraud or for that matter technical glitches (hard drive failures, malware). And since it is not recognised by the governments across the globe, there is no complaint redressal system in place in cases of fraud.
2. Increased Regulation
Soon the law enforcement agencies and infant the country’s governments could decide that bitcoins are simply a “giant money laundering scheme.”
3. Limited Scaling can’t replace Credit Carts or Online Wallets
The crypto current design system has its limitations in matters of speed and number of transactions processed. So it is highly unlikely to believe that it will completely replace conventional credit card transactions.
4. Still a Black Money Haven
Due to lack of legal applications (like linking to PAN card or AADHAR as in case of India); absence of electronic contracts, etc there are no guarantees that your account cannot be seized calling it illegal, even if you have a bare minimum amount stashed there our of your hard earned money.
Derived from the above, my understanding says, people are neither fully aware of Digital currency nor educated enough about it to be able to apply it to their lives. Moreover, even if we women take it, businesses still have to start accepting it in totality. And for this, the developers have to make all the cryptocurrencies easier to sign up and get started.
Thus, Surojit Bose sums up with his final advice, “So the lady of the house has to decide on using the digital currency based on two questions: “what’s is my risk appetite” “how deep-pocketed I am”. Once convinced go out and make some money but put your thoughts together since the market is unregulated and highly speculative. Be watchful. Wind of caution: If I had to lean on the forecast by experts then a high portion of 2017 gain will go as the market correction, remember the bubble burst, as against the phenomenal growth story followed by further scaling the height in future.”