The British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has warned that finance is changing and wants the virtual currency Bitcoin, and others similar to it, to be regulated in Britain, making it both easier and safer to use. Whilst also warning of the risks still involved with such virtual currencies he also stated that, “I can today announce that the Government will start a major programme of work exploring the potential of virtual currencies and digital money. These alternative payment systems are popular because they are quick, cheap, and convenient, and I want to see whether we can make more use of them for the benefit of the UK economy and British consumers.”
At present Bitcoin has no central regulation and is 100% anonymous and is traded solely online, and these are aspects of the currency that have made it appealing to some, however deemed as a liability by others. Since its launch in 2008 it has grown massively in use and is now considered by many larger well known business such as Expedia and Reddit as a legitimate alternative payment method, and Mr Osborne’s review will look into whether regulation is required, but also into developing Bitcoin business in the UK. As opposed to driving the currency out and possibly further underground, and with an alternative currency market in the UK expected to be worth 1.6 Billion GBP in 2014 it’s something to embrace rather than ignore. Measures are also being put into place for small to mid sized business to possibly referred to alternative sources of funding should banks not wish to loan to them, sources such as crowd funding, peer to peer lending and invoice financiers.
Many Bitcoin users around the world would see this as a step in the right direction, however part of the appeal for certain users, and the rapid growth of the currency has been down to its use in illegal payments, and this is of course the area that would need to come under control. As far as Bitcoin in online gaming is concerned, there is still yet to be a major European operator to embrace the currency, however it is accepted by the US online poker room Americas Cardroom, and the online casino of Bitstars.