The purpose of the paper is to determine the future role of virtual currencies. This paper indicates their pros and cons as alternatives to “real” money and explains their appearance as the reflection of the present trends. It also presents the possible scenarios of their development.
The paper is based on the former foresight research results and literature review. It highlights the main trends in contemporary economy and their impact on financial services. The Bitcoin case is the starting point for the virtual currencies’ market analysis and construction of possible market changes scenarios.
Virtual currency schemes are the reflection of present trends. They are just ahead of our times but may become a common means of payment, changing the way of providing financial services, eliminating intermediaries and marginalizing the role of financial institutions.
The multiplicity of virtual currencies and ceaseless introduction of innovations impede the presentation of the complete market picture. The lack of reliable statistical data makes the estimation of the market growth difficult.
This paper indicates influence of technology development, virtualization and networking on payment systems’ functioning.
This paper shows the impact of environmental changes on consumers’ acceptance of virtual currencies.
The virtual currency as a payment system is quite new and still a marginalized phenomenon. Nevertheless, the pace of virtual currency market growth after its recent introduction and appearance of Bitcoin successors seems to be the signs of future changes in financial service sector.
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