Bitcoin has been around for about a decade now, and its influence on world financial markets cannot be understated. While acceptance of Bitcoin still isn’t as widespread as many Bitcoin adherents would like, it’s nonetheless an accepted asset, currency, and store of value whose utility is widely recognized. Bitcoin’s price and performance is assessed every day just like that of gold, oil, foreign currencies, and stock market indices. That’s no small accomplishment for a cryptocurrency whose origins are still clouded in mystique.
Yet despite the overwhelming success and popular appeal of Bitcoin, central banks and national governments around the world have dismissed not just Bitcoin, but cryptocurrency in general. To their mind cryptocurrency is a flash in the pan, a passing fad that won’t amount to anything and that can be safely ignored, if not outright banned. But Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project has rattled central banks and helped them realize that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency isn’t just a passing fad, but very likely the future of money.
The fact that Facebook already has an international presence, multiple established partners including existing payment systems operators, and the ability to immediately put its cryptocurrency in front of over a billion people has shaken central bankers out of their complacent stupor. Now central banks have to confront the reality that cryptocurrency really is a viable competitor to national fiat paper currencies, and that if they don’t watch out Bitcoin and cryptocurrency could push national currencies into the dustbin.
That’s one reason numerous countries that until now had taken a dim view of cryptocurrency are suddenly looking at developing their own cryptocurrencies. After all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right? Aside from countries such as Iran and Venezuela that are trying to adopt cryptocurrency in order to evade US sanctions, other countries such as Russia, China, Sweden, and others are exploring the possibilities that national cryptocurrencies offer.
While it’s unlikely that any national cryptocurrency will ever achieve the popularity of Bitcoin, it’s nonetheless a confirmation of Bitcoin’s ability to affect the discussion that so many countries are thinking about adopting cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has really demonstrated that cryptocurrency is the way of the future.