Sometimes it is better to be late to the party than not arrive at all. This sums up my feelings on cryptocurrencies, a new and once rapidly expanding part of the universe of alternative finance.

A few months ago I decided to punt (note my choice of words) a few hundred pounds on a digital currency called Ethereum via a listed tracker product. This decision was nothing short of disastrous, as the price of said tracker promptly plummeted faster than the proverbial lead balloon.

Last time I looked, it was still heading south, weighed down by a barrage of bad publicity as regulators took action against cryptocurrencies all over the globe and internet platforms such as Google and Facebook announced they would ban adverts promoting cryptocurrencies. Truth be told, it is easy to pick emmenthal-sized holes in the current craze for all things bitcoin and blockchain.

You could seize on these digital currencies as being customer unfriendly: in 2016 only five of the leading 500 US retailers took bitcoin, a number that has since fallen to three. Another factoid: it costs 2 cents on average to handle a cash transaction but $2.80 for bitcoin.

Each transaction takes 10 minutes to verify while credit card platforms can handle 65,000 transactions a second. What bothers me much more is just how environmentally unfriendly currencies such as bitcoin are. Read more from…

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