Bits, Bytes, and the Blockchain: An Overview of Bitcoin
Once regarded as part of a libertarian fringe, Bitcoin is increasingly commanding the attention of the world’s major financial institutions, institutional investors, and governmental regulatory bodies. Current estimates put the amount of Bitcoin outstanding at $14.2 million. Though this is tiny relative to other asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and physical currencies, proponents and, increasingly major financial institutions, believe Bitcoin has a major role to play in enabling not only consumer retail payments and a wide range of institutional financial transactions, but all sorts of legal and other routine applications as well.
We review the current state of play while discussing key risks (including regulatory and technological hurdles), and share our insights on accounting treatment and tax compliance. We also highlight EGFS clients who operate in this space as well as some of the major companies at the forefront of the industry.
Though Bitcoin presents significant growth opportunities, we believe they are most likely to be realized in related applications that utilize its innovative decentralized ledger rather than through its acceptance as a bonafide currency.
Some developments we will be monitoring:
- The emerging regulatory framework: will this feature multinational cooperation as with the approach to the Internet or based on coopetition?
- What alternatives could emerge as viable threats/successors?
- How its senior developers move to address security concerns
- Price volatility and volume of transactions
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