Crypto Could Become Mainstream Means of Payment Within Next Decade

A new study has found that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) have the potential to become a mainstream means of payment and already meet one of the three main criteria of money, according to an eToro press release July 9. The study mentioned in the press release was a joint effort by Imperial College and U.K. trading platform eToro.

The report dubbed “Cryptocurrencies: Overcoming Barriers to Trust and Adoption,” written by professor William Knottenbelt from Imperial College London and Dr. Zeynep Gurguc from Imperial College Business School, states that cryptocurrencies are the “natural next step” for money and can become a mainstream payment instrument “within the decade.”

According to the report, cryptocurrencies are already fulfilling one of three fundamental principles of fiat money by acting as a store of value, while they still do not meet two other requirements; acting as a medium of exchange and serving as a unit of account.

Per the study, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies need to solve six main challenges to meet these requirements; scalability, usability, regulation, volatility, incentives, and privacy.

The report stresses that new payment systems, as well as asset types, “do not emerge overnight.” Iqbal Gandham, U.K. Managing Director of eToro, noted that the first email was sent in 1971, while it took about three decades “to become commonplace with a user-friendly interface.”

Gandham, who is also a chair of U.K.-based industry group CryptoUK, noted that “little over eight years” have passed since the first Bitcoin transaction was made, and “today we are already seeing it begin to meet the requirements of everyday money.” He added that cryptocurrency’s ability to streamline cross-border payments could be the factor that “tip[s] cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.”

Professor William Knottenbelt from Imperial College said that cryptocurrencies have the potential to “upend everything we thought we knew about the nature of financial systems and financial assets,” thanks to its decentralized character.

Last week, the head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Agustin Carstens claimed that cryptocurrencies “cannot assume the functions of money,” and cautioned “young people” against “trying to create money.” Previously in June, BIS devoted a 24-page article to the issue, focusing on Bitcoin’s scalability problems. The article said that cryptocurrencies are not able to scale sufficiently to become a medium of exchange in a global economy.

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