Let’s face facts: cryptocurrencies have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Even Bitcoin, which remains the poster boy for digital currency and has endured numerous peaks and troughs since its inception in 2009, is now a fully-regulated asset class that achieved a market capitalisation of $96.7 billion during the final quarter of 2017.
This was higher than both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley during this period, while it highlights precisely how far cryptocurrency has come in a little over eight years.
Despite this, it can be argued that the image of Bitcoin and digital currency as a whole has not evolved at the same pace. This suggests that the time has come for cryptocurrency to be rebranded, so that users and potential adopters focus on its benefits and incredible possibilities rather than what has come before.
Then and Now – How has Cryptocurrency Evolved
Let’s start by recognising the chequered past of cryptocurrency. In the beginning there was only Bitcoin, and this unregulated currency was quickly adopted by criminal on the black market. As it became the unofficial currency of choice on the notorious Silk Road, investors sought flight while regulators from across the globe pledged to crackdown on the distribution of Bitcoin and its usage.
You don’t need to be a student of modern history to know that Bitcoin survived this, however, thanks to the implementation of stringent (but fair) regulatory measures and caps on the value of single transactions. The currency has also relied on its immense potential during dark and difficult times, enabling it to blaze a trail for others to follow in recent times.
Cryptocurrency continues to court controversy, of course, even as it has evolved and benefited from brand new applications. Most recently, the process of mining Bitcoin was presented as a potential risk to the environment, with experts suggesting that this consumed up to 32 terawatts of energy each year and will account for more as demand rises.
While this claim is factually true, it should not cast cryptocurrency in a negative light or detract from its immense potential in the future. Sure, there’s need for the mining process to be managed and adapted so that it does not consume as much energy in the future, but this is part of an evolutionary process that will bear fruit as the demand for Bitcoin rises.
Why, and how, Should Cryptocurrency be Rebranded
As we can see, there remains a resistance to the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency in the modern age. This may simply be the result of the human mind’s in-built struggle with change, which prevents many from considering the benefits and potential applications of assets such as Bitcoin. Instead, they fall back on familiar and often outdated observations, such as the complex nature of cryptocurrency and its historic connection with crime syndicates.
This is where a sustained and consistent rebranding process would come into play, as the only way to sell the virtues of cryptocurrency is to change how it’s perceived by the general public. This would move away from the past issues experienced by digital currency and its perceived flaws, and instead encourage citizens to focus on its promising future and the practical benefits that it can deliver.
More specifically, innovators and adopters need to sell the most compelling benefit of cryptocurrency, which is its ability to wrestle control from central banks and create a more level playing field for households, consumers and investors alike. Cryptocurrencies are decentralised by nature, for example meaning that there’s no central body of control. As a result, digital currency transactions are unequivocally transparent, while they also negate the need for users to pay inflated interest rates or commission fees on their purchases.
This has a huge number of positive connotations, particularly for investors. As anyone who trades the forex market knows, individual transactions often require you to pay a brokerage fee or commission. Cryptocurrency would eliminate this fee, making this sector more lucrative and accessible to a wider range of people.
Beyond this, there’s even talk of the cryptocurrency Ethereum being used to power the world’s first, zero-house edge casino, which would allow gamblers to enjoy totally transparent gameplay on a level playing field with operators. This type of ground-breaking application offers a true insight into the widespread benefits of digital currency, while it also provides tangible evidence of its ability to restructure the financial landscape for the better (at least from a consumer perspective).