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Bitcoins could become major payment processing method
July 4, 2013 - 12:31pm
In 2009, the alternative currency now known as the Bitcoin was first discussed in a paper by an anonymous Japanese cryptography expert using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoins, which are based in open-source software but regulated by the Bitcoin Foundation to prevent fraudulent use, have since become an accepted form of currency among certain major online vendors. While there is some uncertainty over the precise role bitcoins can play, many in the payment processing industry are intrigued by the possibilities.
According to Finextra, the Bitcoin London conference in the United Kingdom served as a flashpoint for the essential debate over bitcoins. Representatives of various investment and venture capital firms were on hand to discuss the future of the alternative currency. This is somewhat in contrast to the original purpose of the payment method - avoiding the need to use banks or credit unions as a way for consumers to manage their finances. Participants in the conference, including Shakil Khan, a founder of the startup Coindesk and an angel investor, stated that this divergence would need to be managed.
Khan separated the audience for bitcoins into three major groups - "anarchists, idealists and capitalists." The former would see the currency as a way to eschew the banking system and ignore governments, while the latter view it as "a pure money-making exercise." In the middle are those who want bitcoins to be the centerpiece of a movement away from traditional cash but still have some sort of oversight involved. He predicted that progress in the field would require cooperation between these groups.
Peer-to-peer payments network developer Stefan Thomas stated that if bitcoins were integrated into traditional banking, they could become considerably more transparent.
Retailers and e-commerce companies may want to speak to their merchant services provider to determine if accepting bitcoins as a currency will be viable for their bottom line.