The rise of cryptocurrency has been quite something to watch. A decade ago, the mere concept might have sounded a little bit too futuristic, but today, many use cryptocurrency on a regular basis, and perhaps even more than one type. The most notable option up to this point has been Bitcoin, which has great support the world over (as far as cryptocurrency goes), but catching up fast is Ethereum, which we've wrote about a few times in recent weeks (and even put to a performance test for transaction processing chores).
Because of how out-of-nowhere cryptocurrency hit us, it would be understandable if you considered it to be a fad, or something that might not last. At this point, though, it appears that cryptocurrency isn't going anywhere, and if that idea needs reinforcement, look no further than a few central banks that have been considering adopting it.
As Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin says, "The central bank digital currency would be like a paper bill except digital". That sounds simple, but it would represent a major shift in how we treat currency. For the regular Joe or Jill, it ultimately could mean that more of our money is actually ours.
Take for example credit card fees. You might not notice the fees being incurred, because they're usually entirely in the domain of the retailer or etailer. American Express, for example, charges a healthy percentage of an order each time its card is swiped. That generally comes out of the retailer's pockets. Multiply that by everyone using such cards (or competitors), and the amount of money even small businesses pay would be considered too high by most standards.
Wikipedia: Dr. Meierhofer
That's where cryptocurrency is different. Everyone would be in control over their own money, and if there are costs incurred when making a purchase, they would likely pale in comparison to the fees we're faced with today. Clearly, this is a very attractive outcome; everyone wants to keep more of their own money.
The current banks that are exploring cryptocurrency include People's Bank of China, Bank of England, as well as Vietnam's central bank. Barclay's CEO Ashok Vaswani has also opened discussions with regulators in the UK about the possibility of adopting it. Whether any of this means that cryptocurrency will in time go completely mainstream, it's hard to say. But if you're already using it, you're probably very comfortable with that reality and things could only be looking up from here.