The USA economy plays a significant role in the larger, global financial world. Despite Bitcoin transactions making up only the tiniest proportion of the US economy, the potential of the cryptocurrency moving forward ought not be understated. As an emerging digital asset with a market cap of around $4,150,000,000, Bitcoin is yet to make a huge impact on global finance but there are a number of exciting developments to keep an eye on over the coming months and years.
Bitcoin was conceptually unique when it first emerged as a digital asset; the introduction of Bitcoin and the rafts of alternative cryptocurrencies that have followed are somewhat comparable to the early days of internet technology. The underlying concepts have huge potential but adoption will take a little time due to the technical nature of the ideas; thankfully there are a number of intermediary services catering to the less technically adept users, thereby helping to bring Bitcoin and its technology into a position ripe for greater mainstream usage.
The relatively small size of the existing Bitcoin market limits the influence it can have on the larger economy in the USA. However, the introduction of the Bitlicense regulatory framework in New York State is a clear indicator that Bitcoin is now firmly on the radar of the powers that be. Regulation is set to be a hot topic over the next year or so; the Bitcoin community must remain firm with those that seek to regulate the industry; oversight by regulators could cause havoc for businesses, in a sector in which they will undoubtedly have trouble relating to.
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It will be interesting to see how approaches differ between the UK and US; last year UK Chancellor George Osbourne expressed a clear interest in “digital currencies” and the Bank of England noted its desires to investigate blockchain technology, but we are yet to see any clear regulatory decisions from the British authorities.
Within the US, Bitcoin-centric business activities seem to be focused within California, New York and, to a lesser degree Texas. The “Silicon Valley” has seen an unsurprising surge of interest towards cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, with a number of startups calling the tech hotbed home. Bitcoin jobs site Coinality regularly has a large number of jobs posted, all paid with or relating to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Surprisingly, there are a number of full-time positions advertised, as well as plenty of freelance opportunities. Many of the full-time jobs are based within the USA and concentrated in the aforementioned areas.
The jobs market could potentially experience another significant impact from Bitcoin: the growing number of flexible, international working opportunities brought about by globalization and the internet age could find a successful payment system in Bitcoin. International money transfer continues to be difficult and expensive, presenting a failing facet within our connected global economy; our existing financial systems are either too costly or slow to keep up with the growing pace of business around the world. Bitcoin could be utilized to provide an efficient means for cross border business-to-business payments and paying an international workforce.
Predicting future prices is always a difficult task but remains a point of intrigue for many. The currency is still essentially in its infancy, and as such, patterns have yet to be established. However, the huge amounts of investment that have been poured into Bitcoin businesses in the US and elsewhere is a likely indicator that interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is far from over. Only time will tell how much of an impact they are yet to have on the US economy and further afield.