Released in 2009 by an unknown inventor who went by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that operates similarly to any given country’s currency, with a few exceptions. For example, users of bitcoin can easily transfer currency to and from each other via mobile devices, just as Americans can transfer money between bank accounts and other devices.
The biggest difference between traditional currency and cryptocurrency is that bitcoin promises its users anonymity in all of their purchases and trades. It is for this reason, combined with how easy it is to process and record bitcoin payments, that so many small businesses have been incorporating bitcoin into their business models — a move that may be detrimental to both the finance and insurance industries.
However, in spite of the perceived benefits of adopting bitcoin technology, recent market downturns have shaken consumers’ confidence, leaving them questioning whether or not it is safe to even invest in this cryptocurrency.
Here are some reasons why it may be best to avoid integrating bitcoin into your business model for the time being:
Bitcoin is largely unregulated. Seeing as its main advantage over traditional currency is that it provides users with anonymity, Bitcoin is almost entirely unregulated by the United States’ government, as well as other international governments. If bitcoin gains enough popularity and a form of physical backing, then it is possible that governments will begin experimenting with taxation and other tactics that could decrease the overall desirability of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin may be in a bubble. When one hears stories of high school dropouts stating that bitcoin was the catalyst behind their newfound fortune, red flags ought to rise. Billionaire Mark Cuban was one of the first to mention this concern, stating in a tweet, “I think it’s in a bubble. I just don’t know when or how much it corrects. When everyone is bragging about how easy they are making $=bubble.”
Cuban made this point just a few weeks before Bitcoin and its competitor Ethereum crashed. Although each cryptocurrency has managed to regain its proverbial footing, consumers are still feeling wary — and rightfully so.
The future of bitcoin is unknown. Between its shaky market standing, the lack of governmental regulation, and the sheer pace at which technology is changing, it is unknown how long the unstable bitcoin will remain relevant.
Given these circumstances, it would be wise to watch the life of this new currency unfurl from a distance, rather than jumping onto the bitcoin bandwagon. If bitcoin is eventually successful, you may kick yourself for not adopting it — or even investing in it — sooner. However, if it crashes and burns, you will be thankful you did not associate it with your growing business.