Bitcoin could disrupt the financial industry in a way we’ve never seen

Bitcoin could be a revolutionary disruption of the global financial industry. Or it could be a fad that spawns great curiosity before fading into the ether of history. Right now, it’s a hot topic that is very much on the minds of American business owners.

MarketWatch reports that in the past month, 24 companies have referenced cryptocurrency in their analyst day conference calls. While that list is dominated by financial companies, it also includes Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. and Starbucks Corp.

“Bitcoin was hardly the focus of either company’s commentary, but the fact that it was discussed at all highlights the degree to which cryptocurrency — which started 2017 below $1,000 and subsequently soared near $20,000 before sharply pulling back — has become a major point of interest across the economy,” writes MarketWatch’s Ryan Vlastelica.

“While some executives and high-profile investors have dismissed it as a fraud or bubble, others have announced initiatives into blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology that is the basis for bitcoin and other cryptos.”

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz says it would be a mistake for business owners to blindly dismiss the potential for digital currency to transform the global economy.

“We are heading into a new age in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of digital currency that is going to have a consumer application,” Schultz explains in the article. “I believe that Starbucks is in a unique position to take advantage of that.”

One of the most intriguing aspects of bitcoin is that it is fully open source and decentralized. Anyone has access to the entire source code at any time. All bitcoin transactions are recorded permanently on a distributed ledger called a blockchain, which is publicly viewable.

According to statistics compiled by bitcoin.com, 2017 saw an average of 12,000 bitcoin transactions per hour and 80,000 bitcoin tweets sent per day. The average 24-hour trade volume was $4.9 billion. While bitcoin’s market value has been quite volatile in recent months, it has also proven to be very resilient and was back up over $11,000 in mid-February.

As a business leader, you owe it to yourself to learn more about cryptocurrency and understand how it works.

As more people invest, new tools will be developed and its influence will grow. Companies that have done their homework and developed strategies for customers to use digital currency will have a big advantage over competitors who chose to wait.

On March 22, Smart Business will host the Cleveland Technology Awards Luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland. This event will feature a lively panel discussion on the growth of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Participants include Sean Peppard, a partner at Benesch; Sagar Rambhia, co-founder and general partner at Grasshopper Capital; Larry Harmon, founder of Coin Ninja; and Clark Khayat, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for KeyCorp.

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about cryptocurrency. It could disrupt the financial industry in a way that we’ve never seen before.

Register today for the Cleveland Technology Awards Luncheon, visit http://bit.ly/CLETech.