‘Bitcoin represents freedom’ – Talking cryptocurrencies at the Web Summit

The extraordinary run of cryptocurrencies has attracted a vast number of new investors who have been drawn in by the potential for huge profits and risk-taking.

Proving to be extremely volatile, facing crackdown in China and issues over energy use – just how long will cryptocurrencies be popular amid investors?

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Kathleen Breitman, Pascal Gauthier and Tim Draper sat down at the Lisbon Web Summit to discuss the future of the controversial currency.

The FCA regularly warns that investors should be warned to lose all their money due to the financial risks and security issues involved.

“There are also several high-profile cases of hacking-related thefts of customer funds. So far, these incidents have not had a significant impact on financial stability. However, as crypto assets become more mainstream, their importance in terms of potential implications for the wider economy is set to increase,” wrote Dimitris Drakopoulos, Fabio Natalucci and Evan Papageorgiou who wrote about cryptocurrencies for the Global Financial Stability Report.

For Pascale Gauthier, CEO of Ledger, the security issues around cryptocurrencies need to be acknowledged and investors need to be correctly informed before investing.

‘When you enter crypto, need to understand there’s a complete change in security. When you invest in crypto, security becomes your problem. The value of crypto is always rising so cyber security is also on the rise,” said Gauthier.

“Something terrible can happen and you need to handle it. Hackers could have a feast and we don’t want that.”

Whilst all three speakers are champions of cryptocurrencies and don’t believe they are going anywhere, co-founder and CEO of Tezos, acknowledged the issues around environmental impact and said it was “the most honest criticism” of virtual currencies.

Tim Draper, the founder of Draper Associates, said: “‘Miners are finding new sources of energy. Overall, the cost of energy has continued to go down thanks to all the innovations happening in the area. I think crypto will eventually be far more green space than traditional banking.”

A huge component of digital currencies, Draper concludes that they are not only a new form of currency – they are an “anthropological leap forward.”

He adds: “Bitcoin represents freedom. Soon, there will be no reason to use traditional currency ever again.”

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