The use of the digital currencies like Bitcoin continues around the world as different companies in various industries are increasingly accepting them as a form of payment, including in large-scale global transactions as of late August 2017.

In fact, the current number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets is estimated to be between 2.9 mln and 5.8 mln, according to a study by Cambridge University.                              

According to Cognizant’s head of banking and financial services for Europe, Balajee Sethuraman, the growing number of virtual currency users worldwide means that the currencies are here to stay.

“As more and more banks examine the impact of these virtual currencies, it is clear that they are here to stay, with more institutional buyers emerging and more businesses willing to accept cryptocurrencies as payments.”

Brief background of the digital currency market

The number of cryptocurrencies that were launched in the market has already increased to about 900 since the introduction of the first and leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin in 2009. Aside from Bitcoin, the other more popular virtual currencies include Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum.

The Bitcoin price has also risen to above $4,600 level, almost en route to $5,000 at present from a few pence during its 2009 launching. The digital currency’s market capitalization (cap) has also ballooned to more than $50 bln. Its nearest rival, Ethereum, has a market cap of about 50 percent of Bitcoin’s.

Several new adopters of digital currencies

The increased security and privacy offered by virtual currencies as compared with traditional transactions have prompted several companies to accept them as a form of payment. Among the companies are cosmetics seller Lush, technology company Dell, and the Mayfair, England-based Dadiani Fine Art, which became the first fine art gallery in Great Britain to accept digital currency as payment for works of art.

According to Imperial FX financial analyst, Omar Mohammed, the sense of financial security offered by cryptocurrencies is among their advantages.

“The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency means that it cannot be taken away with you. In an age of economic and political uncertainty, this offers a sense of financial security.”