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What businesses need to consider as cryptocurrency becomes more common

Despite their growing popularity, cryptocurrencies have received their fair share of criticism over the years. Cryptocurrencies first entered the market a decade ago, and they pose a real threat to national currencies, considered “one of government’s longest-standing and most important monopolies,” according to the National Review. That’s because cryptocurrency doesn’t require a middleman or central authority, such as a bank or financial institution, and all transaction files are publicly visible.

Therefore, cryptocurrencies have the advantages of transparency and immutability, which traditional fiat currencies lack. Although cryptocurrency may help streamline transactions when the buyer and seller are in different locations, digital currency databases are also vulnerable to hacking and market volatility. Every business that’s considering the usage of cryptocurrency should be aware of the downsides of the technology, as well as the benefits.

Accepting cryptocurrency may increase your client base, and even attract a more diverse, global subset of customers. Thus, business owners throughout the world, especially in Latin America where the use of cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly widespread, should consider accepting or investing in the financial medium.

Depending on your financial stability and the business or services your company provides, you could even create your own form of cryptocurrency or fintech. If your business is already invested in some sort of DevOps culture, perhaps you’re ready to delve into the world of digital currency. Here’s what your business should consider if you want to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

Future-casting and your cryptocurrency plans

Of course, some countries have embraced cryptocurrency at a faster rate than others. According to a 2019 Statista poll, cryptocurrency ownership is most common in Turkey, with about 20% of the population reportedly utilizing some type of crypto. Rounding out the top five countries for cryptocurrency usage are Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, and South Africa.

If your business is based in one of those countries, or you conduct business with their citizens, you may want to include cryptocurrency in future business plans. In order to stay ahead of the competition, the practice of future-casting may be integral to your success. Using predictive analytics to evaluate industry dynamics and relevant trends, you can strategically plan out the future of your business. And cryptocurrency should be included in those future plans, no matter your industry.

But cryptocurrency can’t stand on its own: Cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence go hand-in-hand, and AI tech is certainly poised to impact the digital currency market. Along with allowing for safe, instantaneous cryptocurrency transactions, AI will drive and transform other aspects of finance into the future. For example, AI will help simplify the supplier onboarding process, as well as improve the accuracy and efficiency of digital audits.

Implementing cryptocurrency security measures

One glaring downside of cryptocurrency that business owners should be aware of is the technology’s public nature. Privacy concerns are widespread in the world of fintech, as hackers exploit the anonymity of crypto and blockchain to evade government oversight, among other unscrupulous activities. The vulnerability of cryptocurrency is so concerning that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has become involved in the oversight of digital currency.

Established in 1989 to help combat money laundering, FATF is a global conglomerate that also helps businesses to understand the inherent culpability of virtual assets, including cryptocurrency. As the technology is relatively new, there are numerous scams related to cryptocurrency, especially among less tech-savvy users. Individuals and businesses alike should perform thorough research before conducting any transaction using digital currency, and always check seller feedback before making a trade.

To help keep your company and customer data safe when utilizing digital channels, you may want to enlist a private security company. At the very least, you should have at minimum basic knowledge of the most vulnerable spots for a data breach in the realm of cybersecurity. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are the most culpable when it comes to security, accounting for more than 28% of data breach incidents. Your business may also be vulnerable to cyber espionage and/or privilege misuse, where sensitive data is leaked or shared by unscrupulous employees.

Cryptocurrency in the modern business landscape

The threat of data breaches notwithstanding, cryptocurrency offers myriad possibilities, whatever the mission of your company. By accepting cryptocurrency, businesses of all sizes can increase their bottom line and customer base. Purchases are completed instantaneously, meaning that you don’t have to wait for payments, and allowing you to ship products in an expedient manner.

As cryptocurrency technology is still young and evolving, it comes with a small amount of risk. Those risks are easily mitigated, however, if you develop a basic understanding of how cryptocurrency works. You can then build up protection against cryptocurrency hackers and reduce your chances of falling for digital currency scams.

Interestingly, cryptocurrency hasn’t gotten much attention in the legal arena, even as governments remain threatened by the freely traded currency. In fact, the first law involving digital currency is set to take effect in January 2020, and it’s technically aimed at cryptography rather than cryptocurrency itself. But more laws and regulations are likely to follow, so businesses that are embracing the technology should stay updated on digital currency-related news across the globe.