By Christopher O’Flaherty
Christopher O’Flaherty from The City has gathered information provided by the Central Bank to help evaluate the value of cryptocurrency and where does it place in the future of Irelands Economy.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority
Cryptocurrency has grown exponentially in popularity over the last five years. Bitcoin, by far the most popular cryptocurrency, was valued at $226 in January of 2015. Bitcoin is valued now valued at over $50,000 as of the 17th of November 2021.
Cryptocurrency is interesting because it is not a form of currency because it does not have the characteristics of a currency, for example, crypto experiences massive fluctuations in value, while worldwide currencies such as the euro do not experience massive highs and lows in their value. Crypto is also not used in most forms of payments. Granted some companies do accept crypto. The other way to define crypto would be to describe it as an asset like gold or stocks or a painting. However, it really has defined itself as being its own type of investment. Crypto is just simply crypto.
How popular is crypto in Ireland though? How many people actually use it. According to “Irish Tech News”: “In March 2018, the Irish Department of Finance published a document analysing the impact of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. These statistics show that many Irish residents are already aware of Bitcoin. 7% of respondents over 18 years old had even performed transactions using Bitcoin.”
In 2018, The Irish Time found research that over 120,000 people in Ireland owned cryptocurrency. A 300% increase since 2013. In April of 2021, half a million people in Ireland were reported to own some form of cryptocurrency. That is a 416% increase since the study in 2018.
From this Data there seems to be a large interest in crypto from the people of Ireland. We know the people of Ireland appear to use it for payment as well to invest. Will banks ever adopt current cryptos?
In April of 2021, Deputy Governor Sharon Donnery of Central Bank made a speech to address the future of payment in Ireland. Sharon talks about a Digital Euro could be developed as digital transactions are becoming more commonplace. The Digital Euro would have to be done perfectly and has many risks such as security but does come with some positives such as further innovation and digitalisation in retail payments. Unlikely for banks to adopt current cryptos due to unstable values as well as vulnerable to be used for criminal activities.