In recent years, bitcoin has gone from the next big thing to a flop, used only by tech- and privacy-savvy consumers. A new report from Accenture suggests demand for bitcoin is a bit more diverse.
Specifically, small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.K. are interested in the digital currency. A survey of 1,000 SMEs in the country revealed that the majority (more than 60 percent) said they would welcome bitcoin services if offered by their banks.
Accenture recently published its “SME Banking 2020: Changing the Conversation” report, and the company drew a surprising conclusion: “There is clear appetite among SMEs for value-added services, with more than 60 percent confirming that they would use their bank if these services were offered, including bitcoin and peer-to-peer lending,” the report said.
Analysts also pointed to the risk of losing business should these financial institutions not upgrade their offerings with value-added services, reports said.
“If they don’t [offer these services], they risk being disrupted out of a market that SMEs actively want them more involved in,” explained Accenture U.K. Banking Practice Lead Gareth Wilson, according to reports by NewsBTC.
The executive added that U.K. banks could add $12.2 billion to their revenue streams by offering such value-added services tailored for their small and medium-sized enterprise clientele.
This potential customer segment for financial services also uncovers an opportunity for bitcoin, which has struggled to gain significant traction in the markets.
But regulation isn’t standing in the way of its growth, at least not in the European Union. EU officials agreed last April that while it would monitor the technology and its underlying blockchain, it won’t initiate regulation within the space.
European Parliament Member Jakob von Weizsaecker told reporters at the time that there would be no “preemptive regulation” and instead the EU would take an approach of “precautionary monitoring.”