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The World of Cryptocurrencies: A Reality Check on Why They Are Years Away From Replacing Fiat Currencies

Bitcoin and the underlying Blockchain technology was invented/created over eight years ago as an alternative means of payment through the mining of digital currency (Bitcoin) by solving cryptic equations. The rhetoric was that it eliminated the need for a third-party intermediary, hence giving the power of choice back to the people in a peer-to-peer system which no longer had to rely on trusting a third-party custodian or central authority.

Initially, cryptocurrencies were consigned to a small community of techies who wanted to be part of the decentralized world. However, following the spectacular collapse of Mt. Gox in 2014, a major Bitcoin exchange that handled nearly 70% of Bitcoin volumes, along with the use of Bitcoin in nefarious activities, Bitcoin came into focus in the mainstream. A lot of people in the financial services industry stayed away from the cryptocurrencies owing to the notoriety it had gained, but the underlying structure, i.e., Blockchain, started to attract interest from technology players and those looking to innovate in financial services.

With increasing PoCs and actual use cases of Blockchain in the last two years, more cryptocurrencies started to be created, through the process of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In the last month or so, major financial news headlines have centered around cryptocurrencies and its fundraising processes of ICOs and token sales. These fundraising activities have topped over $2 billion in 2017. As of the last count on September 16, 2017, there were 1109 cryptocurrencies with a total market cap of $127.5 billion. Another factor for the uptick in interest in cryptocurrencie ...

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