Having emerged as a digital alternative to more traditional methods of exchange like cash or credit cards, cryptographic or cryptocurrencies have also generated alternative points of view.
On the one hand, there’s the school of thought which sees cryptocurrencies as a financial medium for fraudsters, terrorists, and criminals – especially given their involvement in ransomware scams, and in trading on the Dark Web.
On the other hand, recent upsurges in the value of Bitcoin have established cryptocurrency as a viable investment which – with the positive hype surrounding the blockchain technology that backs it up – can have a positive impact on the wallets and trading practices of mainstream investors, worldwide.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the more positive aspects and advantages of cryptocurrency, and considering the plus points that make it a workable alternative to more established forms of financial trade.
Advantages of Cryptocurrency
In traditional business dealings, brokers, agents, and legal representatives can add significant complication and expense to what should otherwise be a straightforward transaction. There’s paperwork, brokerage fees, commissions, and any number of other special conditions which may apply.
One of the advantages of cryptocurrency transactions is that they are one-to-one affairs, taking place on a peer-to-peer networking structure that makes “cutting out the middle man” a standard practice. This leads to greater clarity in establishing audit trails, less confusion over who should pay what to whom, and greater accountability, in that the two parties involved in a transaction each know who they are.
2. Asset Transfers
One financial analyst describes the cryptocurrency blockchain as resembling a “large property rights database,” which can on one level be used to execute and enforce two-party contracts on commodities like automobiles or real estate. But the blockchain cryptocurrency ecosystem may also be used to facilitate specialist modes of transfer.
For example, cryptocurrency contracts can be designed to add third party approvals, make reference to external facts, or be completed at a specified date or time in the future. And since you as the cryptocurrency holder have exclusive governance of your account, this minimizes the time and expense involved in making asset transfers.
3. More Confidential Transactions
Under cash/credit systems, your entire transaction history may become a reference document for the bank or credit agency involved, each time you make a transaction. At the simplest level, this might involve a check on your account balances, to ensure that sufficient funds are available. For more complex or business-critical transactions, a more thorough examination of your financial history might be required.
Another one of the great advantages of cryptocurrency is that each transaction you make is a unique exchange between two parties, the terms of which may be negotiated and agreed in each case. What’s more, the exchange of information is done on a “push” basis, whereby you can transmit exactly what you wish to send to the recipient – and nothing besides that.
This guards the privacy of your financial history and protects you from the threat of account or identity theft which is greater under the traditional system, where your information may be exposed at any point in the transaction chain.
4. Transaction Fees
You’ve no doubt read your monthly account statements from the bank or credit card company, and balked at the level of fees imposed for writing checks, transferring funds, or breathing in the general direction of the finance houses involved. Transaction fees can take a significant bite out of your assets – especially if you’re performing a lot of transactions in a month.
Since the data miners (remote and separate computer systems) that do the number crunching which generates Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies receive their compensation from the cryptocurrency network involved, transaction fees usually don’t apply.
There may be some external fees involved if you engage the services of a third-party management service to maintain your cryptocurrency wallet, but another one of the advantages of cryptocurrency is that they are still likely to be much less than the transaction charges incurred by traditional financial systems.
5. Greater Access to Credit
Digital data transfer and the internet are the media facilitating the exchange in cryptocurrencies. So these services are potentially available to anyone who has a viable data connection, some knowledge of the cryptocurrency networks on offer, and ready access to their relevant websites and portals.
It’s estimated that there are currently 2.2 billion individuals across the world who have access to the Internet or mobile phones, but don’t currently have access to traditional systems of banking or exchange. The cryptocurrency ecosystem holds the potential to make asset transfer and transaction processing available to this vast market of willing consumers – once the required infrastructure (digital and regulatory) is put in place.
6. Easier International Trade
Though largely unrecognized as legal tender on national levels at present, cryptocurrencies by their very nature are not subject to the exchange rates, interest rates, transactions charges, or other levies imposed by a specific country.
And using the peer-to-peer mechanism of the blockchain technology, cross-border transfers and transactions may be conducted without complications over currency exchange fluctuations, and the like.
7. Individual Ownership
In a traditional banking or credit card system, you effectively turn stewardship of your funds over to a third party that can exercise the power of life or death over your assets. Accounts may be closed without notice for infringements of a financial institution’s Terms of Service – requiring you as the account holder to jump through hoops in order to get yourself back into the system.
Perhaps the greatest of all advantages of cryptocurrency is that unless you’ve delegated management of your wallet over to a third party service, you are the sole owner of the corresponding private and public encryption keys that make up your cryptocurrency network identity or address.
There are currently over 1200 unique cryptocurrencies or altcoins in circulation worldwide. Many are quite ephemeral, but a significant proportion have been created for specific use cases that illustrate the flexibility of the cryptocurrency phenomenon.
For example, there are “privacy coins” which help mask your identity on the blockchain, and supply chain tokens which can facilitate supply chain operations for various types of industries.
9. Strong Security
Once a cryptocurrency transfer has been authorized, it can’t be reversed as in the case of the “charge-back” transactions allowed by credit card companies. This is a hedge against fraud which requires a specific agreement to be made between a buyer and seller regarding refunds in the event of a mistake or returns policy.
Finally, the strong encryption techniques employed throughout the distributed ledger (blockchain) and cryptocurrency transaction processes are a safeguard against fraud and account tampering, and guarantors of consumer privacy.
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