Today, cash and cryptocurrencies coexist, with each offering unique advantages that suit them to specific situations. As cryptocurrencies become more widely-used, however, now is the time to weigh their benefits and risks. To aid in an assessment by The Blockchain Land, what better comparison could there be than the payment stalwart: cash?
While cryptocurrencies may be primarily employed as speculative investment opportunities, they do still have a growing place in the payment landscape, and offer advantages over other forms of digital payment. Though not completely anonymous, with some blockchains storing account details when used in transactions, cryptocurrencies exist in a secure network that does offer some identity protection. Cash, of course, still has the edge in terms of absolute privacy.
Delivered via individual blocks—meaning the entire chain must be tampered with to successfully attack—blockchains can also provide security unmatched by credit and debit cards. Nonetheless, any digital transaction will be threatened by cybercrime and malware.
Cash offers total safety from digital theft, helps people to budget thanks to its tangibility, is easy and straightforward to use, anonymous, and provides freedom from digital accounts that require sensitive information. On the other hand, it requires access to an ATM or other in-person transaction location, poses a risk of loss through simple misplacement (frequently down the back of the couch), and takes up physical space on a person.
So, how do cryptocurrencies ultimately stack up against the security of cash?
Compared to cash, the level of risk is hard to gauge. Each currency comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Crypto can come close to offering the anonymity and lack of oversight that cash affords, yet cash still presents a less direct target while offering more privacy.
Cryptocurrency may be the most secure digital payment option presently available, but it is unlikely any digital transaction will ever be risk-free. It is also a world locked away from those lacking the technical confidence and/or know-how to use it, or who simply do not have a computer or smartphone with which to access it.
All this leads us to the conclusion that, for the foreseeable future, cash and cryptocurrencies will continue to coexist, each offering their own particular benefits, between which consumers have the freedom to choose.