Problems of cryptocurrencies

 

Despite the fact that blockchain technologies can lead to a large-scale transformation of the financial sector, promoting new forms of raising capital and significant savings in costs arising from standard transactions, it is premature to assert that digital currencies based on them will be able to seriously compete with traditional ones.

There are many cryptocurrencies: according to the coinmarketcap portal, at the end of April 2018, their number approached 1600. Outwardly, they have a number of similarities with fiduciary paper money, which are issued by central banks, but do not fulfill or do not fully fulfill the set of functions prescribed by them.

Cryptocurrencies are only partly inherent in the function of money as a universal equivalent, or measure of value. Currently, prices for a very limited range of goods and services are denominated in digital currencies. If we confine ourselves to the most famous of them - Bitcoin, then, according to the data from the coinmap.org portal, at the end of April 2018 only about 12.3 thousand sales outlets around the world accepted it. They are distributed extremely unevenly: the highest concentration is observed in the countries of Western Europe and in the USA.

Sporadic presence is noted in the states of Southeast Asia and Latin America. However, most of them - companies specializing in online trading. The number of known offline sellers accepting payments in Bitcoins is very small: we can mention the manufacturer of computer equipment Dell and two carriers - airBaltic and Air Lituanica. Since Bitcoin is far from fully fulfilling the function of money as a measure of value, it is difficult to use it as a means of payment.

Along with a relatively narrow geographic range of active use, operational risks are a limiting factor. First, in a number of countries (China, Vietnam, Iceland, Bolivia, Ecuador) transactions using Bitcoin are prohibited or are in the "gray" zone. In the vast majority of national jurisdictions, its status is yet to be determined. Therefore, international calculations using Bitcoin are often carried out "at your own peril and risk." Secondly, as often happens at the stage of innovation, there are cases of outright fraud. This is especially true for electronic wallets, which are used for the temporary storage of funds in cryptocurrency. They are deliberately bankrupt owners, undergo hacker attacks.

 

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