This article is provided for information and education purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Readers are encouraged to do their own research and consult a professional before making any investment decisions.
North America is home to 23 countries, over half a billion people, and 26 official currencies. Of the 23 countries that are part of continental North America, 13 rank below the average global GDP per capita of around 11,000 USD annually.
Cryptocurrency offers numerous unique opportunities for all nations of North America, and the whole world for that matter. As with any new technology, there are costs associated and sometimes we don't always see these potential costs ahead of time. A wide variety of media companies and their employees have made cryptocurrency's path to legitimacy much more difficult by promoting falsehoods about the nature of the industry or providing selective coverage only focusing on negative aspects. Despite all this, cryptocurrency has stayed the course. Looking beyond the misinformation and deception, the digital currency industry offers tremendous potential to help economies grow and evolve.
The following is a list of anticipated costs and benefits to the North American economy.
- When speaking of anonymity-oriented cryptocurrencies, there is a potential to fund crime and terrorism or provide cover of anonymity to authoritarian regimes. There are also many potential avenues for money laundering and cryptocurrency theft, and unless legitimate crypto to fiat gateways are established, the problem is not likely to disappear in short order.
- The cost of enforcement action on illicit operators, which is rarely offset by revenues derived from auction of seized assets. It should be noted that what little money is recovered from illicit cryptocurrency seizure, often goes to victim compensation in cases where investors were defrauded.
- The cost of inflation from introducing more money into the economy. Unless cryptocurrency can provide a strong boost to an economy's production, it will simply be a case of more dollars chasing the same amount of goods - which we all know has proven itself to be a sure-fire recipe for long term inflation. This boost in production may come from increased efficiency, expanded potential market size, increased competitiveness, and the high probability of a natural 'carrot on a stick effect' (where the poor emulate wealthy cryptocurrency billionaires in hopes that they too will become wealthy) occurring and driving a massive surge of global participation in cryptocurrency.
- There will be infrastructure upgrade costs where applicable but can usually be implemented at an individual level. Business owners will need to supplement their existing payment infrastructure with cost-effective cryptocurrency payment processing solutions such as DNotes Pay, if they hope to benefit from wider acceptance of cryptocurrency. Since the more popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin can be converted into cash or spent at a wide variety of online locations, it should be a no brainer for businesses to be inclusive of these next-gen consumers.
- Re-education to bring employees and consumers up to an acceptable digital currency and cryptocurrency standard will be a necessary expense. If employees and consumers are inadequately informed or misinformed, this cost could grow exponentially, including the cost of missed opportunity.
- Cryptocurrencies can promote tourist spending by setting an international currency standard; allowing people to spend freely without the hassle of currency conversion. There are select merchants in countries all around the world who accept cryptocurrency payments, and this number will likely grow as more business owners begin to realize the many benefits that cryptocurrency offers them.
- New jobs and business opportunities are being created that are available even to people in remote areas. Anyone with an internet connection can start building their digital empire and participate in cryptocurrency for free.
- Cryptocurrency offers a cheaper cross border transaction solution during periods of price stability. While cryptocurrency's volatility is highly attractive to speculative investors, those kind of wild price swings aren't attractive when facilitating global commerce. Once the industry matures to a point of long term price stability, it will become the go to cross border payment facilitator. But it is not likely to enter that role immediately as it is just too risky for international businesses to operate with the volatility we are experiencing during cryptocurrency's growth phase.
- The ability to have a common currency between North American nations is a good step toward furthering diplomatic ties and establishing common economic interest. Using a nations own fiat currency to foster economic ties with another nation has resulted in self-serving deals in the past, and exploitation of generosity can also occur. Cryptocurrencies are typically nationality neutral, and in the case of foreign aid, donors could use a transparent cryptocurrency to make sure their donation is reaching intended recipients and being used for the intended purpose.
- Participation in cryptocurrency is not mandatory and nations/individuals can opt in or out at any time. There are no legally binding doctrines that decree any cryptocurrency to be a legal tender in any nation. A cryptocurrency can only be as legitimate as the people who use it, and the purpose it was developed for in the first place. If a cryptocurrency is not widely supported by the people, they can move on to another.
- Cryptocurrency is an industry in its infancy and still has tremendous potential for growth. If Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have taught us anything it is that this industry can produce millionaires overnight. If businesses began to diversify their operations by accepting reputable alternative currencies, some might find themselves enjoying relatively large capital gains (which others might call avoiding fiat debasement).
- Cryptocurrency offers a cheaper and faster inter-bank settlement solution on foreign payments. Although the more popular networks such as Bitcoin have experienced average transaction fees of over $50 USD during an isolated instance of extremely high network activity. These settlements between accounts in cryptocurrency are instantaneous, eliminating any chances of fraud occurring by exploiting the time delay involved with settling accounts between financial institutions.
- The increased monetary transparency introduced by cryptocurrency can help border security keep tabs on foreign travelers and ensure they have enough money to fund their vacation. (also see: https://dcebrief.com/the-growing-threat-of-cryptocurrency-illiteracy-in-border-security/)
- Gives all North Americans the chance at being included in the global economy. Since most cryptocurrencies are not owned by a single nation or government, anyone from anywhere can participate. This is a great opportunity for business owners to begin accepting payments from anywhere in the world, even if they lack a physical address (which is a typical prerequisite to accepting payments).
- Can be used to facilitate charitable donations and is a tool for more cost effective fraud prevention (see: https://dcebrief.com/could-cryptocurrency-reduce-misappropriation-of-charitable-donations/). Donors can track their cryptocurrency contribution via a block explorer and make sure their donation is having its intended impact.
- Cryptocurrency participation could reduce crime by providing people an alternative to criminal enterprise in population centers that do not have a strong economy and can't even generate enough tax revenue to fund basic government services. If legitimate businesses are given an opportunity to develop in poverty stricken areas, and can interact with the global economy, they may eventually generate a large enough tax base to provide essential services. This possibility is contingent upon a community's internet accessibility; a newly declared human right which is becoming increasingly common across the world with each passing year.
It is easy to see that with a little planning, forethought and a well-conceived implementation of cryptocurrency, the benefits to North America are vast. The associated costs are to be expected with any form of wealth that is widely available and rapidly convertible, but should be addressed by all affected parties. If this can be accomplished, then cryptocurrency and the entire digital currency industry can flourish across North America, while also providing a neutral platform to address key economic problems that have been hindering the continent's potential for decades.