Bitcoins: An emerging currency

Karim Taleb
Contributing Writer

Cryptocurrency has been on the rise for the last couple of years, yet for many, bitcoin is still a widely misunderstood form of currency. In short, Bitcoin is the worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system that allows transactions with virtual money. It was created by an anonymous person or group of people under the name of Satoshi Nakamato.

Unlike currency that is controlled by banks, Bitcoin is not affected by inflation. By controlling production, the currency stabilizes its value on the same level, which makes Bitcoin very popular in countries with economic problems as users can bypass inflation and other economic crises.

However, a bad press report can drastically affect the price of Bitcoin in the market. Bitcoins are now used in certain companies and online retailers as payment, but it is still not acknowledged by many businesses worldwide.

The anonymous nature of Bitcoin has caught the eye of criminals in the black market as it allows an exchange of money between two people without a middle-man. In the future, this might be very problematic for the currency.

Bitcoin is accepted by some retailers around the world, but it is also being used to purchase illicit goods like drugs and firearms from the digital black market also known as the “Dark Web”.

The astonishing growth of Bitcoin made it impossible for governments to stop it. In countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, and Bangladesh, owning Bitcoins is criminalized. In the countries where Bitcoins are legal, governments are trying to regulate the transactions to minimize the dangerous misuse.

The regulations started in Japan where the governing Liberal Democratic Party decided to tightly regulate and enforce taxes on Bitcoins. Following Japan’s footsteps, the European Union and Australia are currently discussing how to impose rules and regulations on Bitcoins.

In Lebanon, the majority are still very skeptical about the concept of Bitcoins, as they find it risky to use a currency with no central governance, no attachment to hard currencies, and a very high trading volatility. The Lebanese Central Bank issued a statement warning citizens about Bitcoins by pointing to the lack of guarantees of losses, potential fraud, and other criminal activities.

Until this day, no major bank or financial institution are accepting Bitcoins in Lebanon, but according to Randa Rifai, a Lebanese banker with a certificate in digital currency, Bitcoins will soon enough become the leading currency in Lebanon. Rifai also believes that the major Lebanese banks will shut down as a result of the excessive usage of Bitcoins.  

Whether Bitcoin takes over the Lebanese currency or not, its progress in the world is undeniable. The future is full of unanswerable questions, and right now, cryptocurrency is one of them.

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