The Bitcoin system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. In 2015, the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin exceeded 100,000 according to Cuthbertson. PR people are asked to explain how cryptocurrencies work. Here is one such example. There are more comprehensive examples like this one.
Basically, people from around the world sign up to digital ‘wallets’ that gives them access to these virtual currencies. This allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer-of-ownership. These are cryptocurrencies. Scotland already has a digital currency.
The European Community has some big players such as Barclays, State Street, Credit Suisse, Bank of Ireland and Fidelity looking at this space. Germany has an interesting initiative. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum will gain support in Germany with the founding of a new nationwide federal digital currency and blockchain lobby group called the ‘Blockchain Bundesverband’ – the German Federal Blockchain Association.
Going beyond digital currencies
The PR sector can learn from this that cryptocurrencies are here and are being taken seriously by the major financial institutions in the world. They are evolving fast.
They will affect and be used in PR as they are already in marketing. Time to read-up about them and not be taken by surprise.