What Corporates Really Think Of Cryptocurrencies


Blockchain may have more potential to disrupt corporate finance than actual bitcoin does, but that doesn’t mean cryptocurrencies are entirely ignored by the enterprise space. PYMNTS takes a look at how the corporate world interacts with cryptocurrencies — and we’re not just talking about bitcoin — from how businesses pay cyber ransoms to the role bitcoin plays in promoting T&E innovation.

$7.5 million will be spent by Indonesia’s SBXbank on a cryptocurrency marketplace, the bank revealed last week. Also known as Smart Banking Exchange, the FI will launch Coinxmart and use SBXbank’s own cryptocurrency, SBXCoin, in hopes of promoting the use of cryptocurrency in areas like lending and payments. The bank is reportedly working with the nation’s Financial Services Authorities to receive clearance for the initiative, a tricky move, reports said, as cryptocurrencies remain unregulated in the country.

12,000 anonymous data scientists competing for bitcoin provide artificial intelligence-based market prediction models used by San Francisco–based hedge fund Numerai to strengthen its investing strategy. Reports in Forbes last week said this company is now developing its own digital currency, Numeraire, making it one of the first digital currencies released by an entire company. According to the fund’s founder Richard Craib, the digital currency could act as an incentive for data scientists to develop more sophisticated market prediction models — which has massive implications for the hedge fund space altogether, introducing a way investors use cryptocurrencies to boost their own performance.

A 4,000 percent spike in ransom payments last year means companies are willing to cough up the cash to get their files back when hit by a cyberattack. That statistic, provided by Recorded Future, sets the stage for a world in which businesses are stockpiling bitcoin to pay ransoms, according to reports. For corporate ransomware attacks, the average cost of a ransom is between $10,000 and $75,000, analysts say. Robert Gibbons, CTO at Datto, which provides digital disaster recovery services, told reporters last week that a quarter of companies that actually pay the ransom, however, never actually see their files restored. He emphasized that businesses buying up bitcoin for this purpose may be doing so in vain, as paying a ransom simply “invites the next attack.”

20 of 710 cryptocurrencies have a market currency of at least $10 million, according to travel technology expert Johnny Thorsen at the Business Travel Show event last week. While Thorsen said concepts like blockchain smart contracts are more likely to disrupt the corporate travel billing space more so than cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, he did say he expects more travel service providers to accept bitcoin as payment, with three air carriers already doing so. But bitcoin’s volatility, the expert noted, may be stunting innovation in the development of blockchain-based corporate travel solutions.

10 days in a row, bitcoin maintained its $1,000-plus valuation this month, according to the PYMNTS.com Bitcoin Tracker. Analysts are beginning to wonder whether its new price floor will stay at a grand, but others argue it’s too early to tell. It’s good news for individual investors — bitcoin ATM company Coinsource says it now has 80 ATMs in operation across the U.S. — but could bitcoin’s newfound value (hitting as high as $1,149 last week) mean corporate investors will get in on the action?

A 9-point blockchain industry self-regulatory initiative was launched in China in the wake of a surprise crackdown by the People’s Bank of China on bitcoin exchanges. Now, the China Blockchain Application Research Center is reportedly helping guide the cryptocurrency industry in the nation towards self-regulation and recently organized an event to collaborate with regulatory bodies on the matter. Those nine points include the establishment of compliance departments, compliance to anti-money laundering and anti-corruption rules, and the self-regulation by corporates. The move follows regulatory efforts announced by the Philippines’ central bank earlier this month to regulate the bitcoin industry and combat money laundering.