A new paper from researchers at Imperial College London suggests that digital currency could become a viable mainstream payment option within the next decade. The eToro-commissioned research concluded that cryptocurrency already serves as a store of value and could quickly achieve mass adoption if it can evolve to also serve as a unit of account and medium of exchange.
The researchers, Professor William Knottenbelt and Dr Zeynep Gurguc, noted that money has evolved throughout human history, and suggested that decentralized technologies and payment systems may be the next step in that process. The paper identified six key challenges that the technology will need to overcome before mass adoption by the mainstream economy can occur – including issues related to scalability, usability, regulation, volatility, incentives, and privacy.
According to Professor Knottenbelt, "There's a lot of scepticism over cryptocurrencies and how they could ever become a day-today payment system used by the man on the street. In this research we show that cryptocurrencies have already made significant headway towards fulfilling the criteria for becoming a widely accepted method of payment."
UK Managing Director of eToro, Iqbal V. Gandham, noted that email took decades to gain mass acceptance and suggested that mass adoption for cryptocurrency could happen at an even quicker pace:
"The first email was sent in 1971, but it took nearly three decades for the technology to become commonplace with a user-friendly interface in the form of hotmail. The first ever Bitcoin transaction took place a little over eight years ago and today we are already seeing it begin to meet the requirements of everyday money. Given the speed of adoption, we believe that we could see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the high street within the decade. There are of course barriers to mainstream adoption, but they are far from insurmountable.”