01 Nov 2017

Bitcoin for business

Chris Becker

Investec Economic Strategist

While bitcoin may not be ready for businesses to use yet, the pace of innovation means it will soon be a potential replacement for other payment systems, says Chris Becker, Investec Economic Strategist, in the final instalment of our podcast series on cryptocurrencies.

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Cryptocurrencies podcast series

While bitcoin is rapidly being adopted by individuals worldwide, it has still not reached mass-market penetration and it is still too early for it to be used by businesses, according to Chris Becker.

“Email and Internet in the 90s is what Bitcoin is today,” explains Chris. “Visa and MasterCard process something like 250 million transactions a day whereas Bitcoin does 300 000 a day.”

It may not be ready for businesses yet, but with the pace of innovation taking place in the cryptocurrency space, it could be a matter of time before bitcoin rivals established payment systems, says Chris.

Listen to podcast: Is bitcoin ready for business use?

Jump to the topics you're interested in by using the time codes below

00:30: How do online businesses move away from Visa and Mastercard to accept Bitcoin

03:06: When can businesses start using Bitcoin?

04:00: The network effect

04:40: Ease of use - the biggest threat to crypto?

06:03: The case for and against regulation

07:00: Younger generation are looking towards permission-less tech.

Chris Becker
Chris Becker, Investec economic strategist

Bitcoin today is what internet was in the 90s, so it will take a while to gain mass market adoption, but it is growing exponentially.

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Ease of access threatens bitcoin adoption

One of the threats to the mass adoption of bitcoin is if it doesn’t get easier and easier for people to use it. “If there aren’t more and more ways for people to sell their currencies or other assets for Rands or Dollars in order to buy cryptocurrency, it will delay its adoption,” says Chris.In order to succeed, bitcoin needs to become part of our daily lives and be there on online banking when you log in for example.

 

Bitcoin regulation

The question of regulation is also hanging over cryptocurrencies and whether governments will make it illegal for businesses to make it easier for people to adopt and use alternative currencies. “People are fearful of the regulations that might come, and that they will do the wrong thing now and be prosecuted later,” says Chris.

 

Developers who are big owners of bitcoin are working actively to come up with solutions outside of the banking sector. “Even if the traditional financial institutions don’t want to get involved, these guys are doing it anyway,” says Chris.

 

“The next crop of Bill Gates’s and Steve Jobs will be in the spaces of crypto,” concludes Chris.

About the author

Chris Becker

Chris Becker

Blockchain technologies lead

Chris commercialises decentralised blockchain technologies and digital assets for the benefit of Investec Private Banking clients. In his previous role, he was an economist and strategist conducting research for large corporates, asset managers and hedge funds for a decade before entering blockchain technologies full time in 2017.

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Disclaimer

The opinions and views expressed are for information purposes only and are subject to change without notice. They should not be viewed as independent research, recommendations or investment advice of any nature.