Wednesday 14, February 2018 by Jessica Combes

Cryptocurrencies here to stay

 

‘Is the Future of Cryptocurrencies Gold or Dust?’ was the theme of a breakout session held on day three of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai.

Featuring a strong lineup of industry experts including Jesse Powell, founder and CEO of Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, Kian Lon Wong, president of NEM.io, Nick Spanos, founder and CEO of Blockchain Technologies Corporation, and Lawrence Wintermeyer, Co-Founder and Principal of Elipses, the panel explored the context of cryptocurrencies and suggested possible scenarios for augmenting their use in the near future.

Powell initiated the dialogue by addressing the recent surge in the interest around cryptocurrencies. “Positive regulatory outcomes and the media have been key influencers for the increase in the use of cryptocurrencies over last year. Any time you have a massive surge in price, inevitably there is higher media attention. We also saw more retail and institutional investors enter the space.”

Spanos added that when the prices rise, more people get interested and try to find out what they are, and cryptocurrencies are establishing a certain peer-to-peer trust that did not exist before. People are enamoured by the technology and have started purchasing it.

Spanos also rebuked criticisms that cryptocurrencies have gained from seasoned global investors, stating that cryptocurrency is the people’s currency of monetary independence, it is much more than a financial currency. Bitcoin is not a bubble, it is the pin that is popping the bubble of the legacy financial systems since it has been created.

“Price manipulation is not new. We have seen it in mainstream markets. We are in a nascent phase in the cryptocurrency industry and these things are unavoidable. This will begin to be the thing of the past as the industry matures. We are most interested in the promotion of our technology, and we are still at the early stage of the adoption curve. The blockchain technology has proven itself and is here to stay. In the future, we will be seeing something that is bigger than it is today, more certainly on the value of these coins,” said Wong, while addressing the issue of price manipulation surrounding cryptocurrencies.

Wintermeyer believes that cryptocurrencies should be taken and evaluated in the right context. Playing down the concern that the market is speculative, he said, “Last year has been an extraordinary year for the cryptocurrencies market, which is twice the size of the gold market now. It has been driven by a supply constraint environment and looks like a speculative market because demand for them has suddenly surged. What we need to do is focus on the exchanges and the retailer. Retail investors need to be aware of the risks.”

While there is no doubt that the new technology could radicalise the ways in which business is conducted, there is some way to go before there is a widespread understanding of digital currencies and their potential applications. With the insights provided by the WGS breakout session, summit attendees gained a clearer picture on a potential alternative to the existing financial system that could become a feature of everyday life in our foreseeable future.

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