Ruli Pennington is Editor of Council News Monitor and writes Night in the City an occasional column for Information Daily. She is passionate about better public services, devolution, malt whisky & women's football.@UnruliP
Vienna establishes its first 'Bitcoin bank', in which customers may exchange cash for the digital currency.
Vienna has opened its doors to its first bank dedicated to the digital, and anonymous, currency. Ending 2016 as the best perfroming currency, Bitcoin provides its users with a quick and untraceable method of moving money gloablly, as users only need a Bitcoin address and do not need to provide persoanl details.
The secrecy surrounding its use has caused some copncern regarding its stability and viability as an international currency. In February 2016, its value fell fierecly from its three year high of $1,000 in January. This instability causes great concern for some in the financial industry.
Gabriele Zgubic of the Vienna Chamber of Labour, tol The Local - Austria of the risks that Bitcoin poses. “It is subject to strong fluctuations, which could mean you end up losing money. There’s also the security risk, as it’s very attractive to hackers, and you have to be aware of the security on your smartphone. As it’s an unregulated currency, if you do get hacked, there’s no one you can claim compensation from.”
However, Andreas Petterson of Bitcoin Austria said " If I pay online with Bitcoin, I have a certain level of privacy. The vendor does not have my credit card number. If I pay for purely digital goods, like computer games, I have a much better feeling as I’m not handing over all my private data."
The establishment of Austria's first Bitcoin bank brings with it greater privacy and speed of transactions, however, the serious issues of value flucuation and an unregulated market does pose a serious issue for those wanting to use Bitcoin. The question remains, does the Austria's inaugural Bitcoin bank highlight a move towards Bitcoin becoming a wider used currency, bringing with it the regulation and security it needs?