Forget Bitcoin’s many problems, crypto-currencies are here to stay

heretostay28 Apr 2014 / Market – A single global currency could change how brands do business in the future, writes Mel Exon, chief digital officer, BBH, and co-founder of BBH Labs

At the end of 2013, as the world collectively rolled its eyes at the fact that “selfie” was deemed word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), what was perhaps more surprising was the fact that the word “Bitcoin” was a runner-up.

Put “Bitcoin” into Google Trends and it appears from nowhere in early 2011, and climbs to a Matterhorn-esque spike in 2013. So what is Bitcoin, how easy is it to understand and use in the first place, and why should we care?

Let’s start with a definition from our friends at the OED, who describe it as “a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank”. It states its origin as early 21st century, from “bit”, in the computing sense of “a unit of information”, and “coin”. The term first appeared in late 2008, in a research paper written by a developer, and the first Bitcoins were created in 2009.

So far, so simple. At BBH Labs, we conducted an “Open Wallet Experiment” earlier this year to learn more. Aside from the attacks on Bitcoin’s security and anonymity putting it under strain, the reality is that Bitcoin is complex to grasp fully and hard to use in practice…. Read more

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