Distributed ledger technology (blockchain) has made significant headway this year, and people are starting to take notice. At the beginning of 2017, the cryptocurrency bitcoin was valued at just under $1,000 and soared up to over $3,000 in May. While it took a dive over the summer, bitcoin now comfortably sits at just over $3,000.
Cryptocurrencies have seen major growth in popularity, and alongside the increasing speed of eCommerce transactions, so does the demand for widespread use. Typically, cryptocurrencies have been relegated to the finance industry, but it has started to make inroads over the past few months into the mainstream arena. This gives way to countries opting to integrate cryptocurrencies for their own use. Once regulated at the top government level, it’s more likely that businesses will follow suit. Earlier this year, China shared news that it was developing its own cryptocurrency, dubbed OKCoin.
While some have pointed to Japan and China as the countries responsible for driving much of the virtual currency market value, there’s another country that just shared it’s ready to get into the cryptocurrency ring.
As we’ve reported this week, Russia announced news that it also wants to battle it out for the cryptocurrency crown. Russian Miner Coin (RMC), a company co-owned by President Vladimir Putin, has decided to raise $100 million in cryptocurrency to help motivate entrepreneurs in the region to take China head on.
Currently, RMC investors are using Ethereum and bitcoin to buy RMC tokens in an initial coin offering (ICO). These RMC tokens will account for 18 percent of the rights to earned revenue through use of the company’s mining resources. Russia is hoping that this move will help the country mine 30 percent of the world’s virtual currencies.
With Russia joining China and Japan at the cryptocurrency forefront, the goal of these digital currencies becomes more realistic by the day. Universities are now offering courses on how to mine bitcoin blockchain. Similar to that of the computer industry, it’s not likely that we’ll see a major shift of cryptocurrency into mainstream commerce until there are a wide array of young professionals who are well-versed in its intricacies. Over the next five to 10 years, we may end up seeing more countries join the battle for the cryptocurrency crown, with more startup companies hoping to cash in.
In cryptocurrency news this week, Overstock.com announced its partnership with ShapeShift to become the very first U.S. retailer to accept all forms of cryptocurrencies as payments. Through ShapeShift’s technology, any cryptocurrency used by consumers will be converted into bitcoin upon making a formal payment through Overstock’s checkout portal.
India’s government has made strides to have cryptocurrency regulations drafted, which could lead to it becoming the next country to join the virtual currency battle.
Fidelity is dipping its toes into the cryptocurrency arena by testing out a new service. Through a partnership with its Innovation Center and Coinbase, Fidelity will allow Coinbase users to view bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin holdings in their portfolios.
And finally, as a result of the recent split, bitcoin’s value has soared 16 percent upward, while Bitcoin Cash took a 64 percent nosedive.