The digital currency Bitcoin has been around for nearly six years, but although the name is well known, the technology it sits on, ‘blockchain’, is less so. However, companies are starting to realise how this technology could fundamentally change the way they do business in future.
Bitcoin, heralded by many as the single biggest breakthrough since the arrival of the internet, has proved to be something of a moving target since its launch in 2009. However, it continues to be the focus of significant investment and innovation with the industry predicting that more than $1 billion in venture capital funding will have been ploughed in Bitcoin and its future by the end of 20151
Recent developments include BitPesa, a Nairobi-based start-up focusing on Bitcoin remittances, which raised over $1 million earlier this year and Earthport, which agreed a partnership with Ripple Labs, allowing real-time cross-border bank payments.
But, it is becoming increasingly clear that Bitcoin is part of an even bigger story: financial institutions, including Barclays, are now considering how the technology underpinning digital currencies – the blockchain – could in itself revolutionise finance.
While many of these potential applications are some way off, long development cycles in the industry mean that now is the time for companies to begin asking how this technology could benefit them.