As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q4 2015 Issue
It came. It went (almost). And now it’s back in a big way. Bitcoin, once the digital currency of choice for online drug dealers and financial swindlers, has now become legitimized; and it is poised to change the face of the 21st-century economy. Now there is a method of manipulating and moving cyber currency that is vastly faster, cheaper, and more secure. In an indication that Bitcoin is here to stay, NASDAQ became the first established financial institution that will use the digital currency, planning to begin in November using Bitcoin to trade shares of pre-IPO companies like Uber and Airbnb.
Forbes reports that Internet start-up Chain.com has developed an application known as the “blockchain.” Using it, Bitcoin records will be maintained on a shared online ledger on a network of worldwide companies. The ledger will be updated through blocks of Bitcoin transfers occurring every 10 minutes, hence “blockchain.” Even the likes of Citigroup and Barclays acknowledge that, at some point in the future, the days of the big banks’ high exchange rates and float will be gone.
Credit and debit card fees may also eventually fall to Bitcoin, as the shared ledger system of the blockchain eliminates the middleman’s cut. As a result, every major financial institution is now exploring the viability of Bitcoin—essentially planning for their own disruption. Though Bitcoin seems poised to streamline the financial system, how completely the average consumer is willing to embrace cyber currency remains to be seen.