The perception among many that cryptocurrencies are a nefarious, dangerous subculture that is primarily home to criminals and hackers is one that is most likely due for an update. If you’re still thinking of cryptocurrencies solely in terms of the association between bitcoin and the now-defunct Silk Road, you’ve fallen victim to a misinformation campaign.
Learn more about what cryptocurrency really is.
The misinformation swirling around cryptocurrency is dangerous in that it might hinder your ability to take part in a revolution that is threatening the banking industry as we know it, argues cryptocurrency miner Hossein Haddadi.
“People are getting too caught up in what bitcoin is and what ethereum is and how much it goes up and how much it goes down,” says Haddadi. “They’re missing the point. … [They’re] missing the problems that this is trying to solve.”
Beneath the news stories surrounding the incredible volatility of the price of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is the blockchain technology itself, a decentralized ledger that allows people to send money to each other without the need for any bank or third party to be involved. That could produce incredible levels of disruption in the financial industry as a whole, allowing payments to be sent across borders in an instant as long as the payer and payee agree to the terms.
With the enormous potential of the blockchain, the idea that cryptocurrencies are just for criminals is one that is probably well out of date by this point, as even the largest banks continue to invest in the future of blockchain.
“The size and the volume of activity within the cryptocurrency world began to get big enough where banks had to say ‘Hey, we can’t ignore this,'” says Rod Holloway, a portfolio manager at Comprehensive Financial Consultants.