Technology

Is Cryptocurrency A Disruptive Weapon?

Cryptocurrency can be regarded as a double-edged sword because it has been hailed and criticized in equal measure. A disruptive technology essentially refers to an innovation that has dramatically changed the ways in which businesses, industries and buyers operate. So, a disruptive technology is expected to overturn conventional systems and habits because it offers things that are way superior to those that existed. Examples of disruptive technologies would be ecommerce, ride-sharing apps, GPS, online news portals etc.

As far as cryptocurrencies were concerned, they were meant to set payments and money free from centralized authorities. According to Brian Forde, ex-advisor to US President Barack Obama, it is more worthwhile to use the Bitcoin technology to change businesses instead of monitoring how Bitcoin’s value goes up. In his opinion, entrepreneurs have to understand the principle on which cryptocurrencies function to see how this can disrupt the existing business models positively.

Cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin are founded on the blockchain principle which refers to a public ledger where all verified transactions are stored securely.  This ledger is not under control of any centralized authority and the coin value is not linked to any resources like a country’s economy, rather it depends on what people are willing to pay for them. So, according to Brian Forde, cryptocurrencies have the power to reshape the entire business landscape just like the Internet had successfully done two decades back. In fact, bitcoins are being traded using automated trading software applications like bitcoin era which augments the speed of bitcoin trading and helps you earn a good profit.

Forde’s Opinion

In Forde’s opinion, cryptocurrencies can disrupt many intermediary platforms such as Uber, Amazon and Airbnb. The technology will ensure that everyone can use platforms like Uber. Just like the Internet allowed these companies to disrupt publishing, retail and video rentals, cryptocurrencies will disrupt these disruptors.

Through them, marketplace businesses will be replaced by public ledgers or open platforms that all can access. This will eventually create an interoperable open system capable of breaking down barriers of entry into private marketplaces.  Slowly cryptocurrencies will disrupt education, media, finance, technology, and government. Only those companies which can properly understand implications of this will be able to ride the wave, instead of getting swept away by it.

Cryptocurrency and Financial Institutions

For many years it was hoped that cryptocurrencies would actually make financial institutions totally unnecessary, that we would not need to depend on government-controlled intermediaries to conduct financial transactions. This hope was because of the emergence of distributed ledger technologies, but conventional financial entities are not simply brokers of trust; they perform many other tasks that are important. For instance, they can act like surveillance tools helping governments prosecute criminals and enforce laws. So, to be really disruptive, cryptocurrencies will have to introduce innovations in governance.

There is ultimately no guarantee that the blockchain alone can ensure that crypto assets are different from traditional financial organizations or banks. Blockchain is only an underlying technology and not a governance approach; it cannot eliminate traditional institutions meant to offer governance. Technology is therefore not enough; what is needed is innovative governance. When cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies can be combined with quality governance mechanisms, you can have improved global financial governance. With innovative policies and governance, cryptocurrencies can overcome the roadblocks that conventional financial institutions had faced. So, instead of eliminating intermediaries altogether, it is necessary to revolutionize the world of finance. It is important to understand how cryptocurrency can be regulated by private actors and states.

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Kamran Sharief

I write about technology, marketing and digital tips. In the past I've worked with Field Engineer, Marcom Arabia and Become.com. You can reach me at kamransharief@gmail.com

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