When looking at Google search statistics, we see that queries for “bitcoin” are higher than those for Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian combined. Shipping companies from all around the world now start to take notice. They are interested in different ways to increase business so cryptocurrencies have to be considered.
There is currently a number of strong international businesses that accept Bitcoin payments, including Microsoft and Expedia. We are looking at a crypto coin that is more like a commodity in the eye of people because many invest or trade it. Bitcoin has a protocol that limits circulation. Most users buy and sell BTC as a simple financial investment. This is what is highly established but we see an increase in the use of Bitcoin to pay for services and products.
As a very simple example, a mansion in Notting Hill was sold for 17 million pounds, but paid in Bitcoin. This was the first major transaction in London. According to London Wall property investment company founder, Lev Loginov:
“We would like to be the first company to transact in bitcoin. It can be done quicker, more efficiently and it is much easier to deal with than using banks, which are putting in unnecessary over-regulation.”
Varamar, a Ukrainian bulker company, declared for Bloomberg that it is negotiating the firm’s first deal with Bitcoin. This practically means that the cryptocurrency is going to make it much easier to conduct business in countries that are affected by sanctions. At the same time, fewer documents would need to be involved than with deals taken through traditional banks.
Another company involved in shipping, Russian Interchart, now works on a proprietary Bitcoin payment system that customers who cannot easily transact in USD can use while avoiding potential bank restrictions.
These examples automatically raise the following question:
Will Bitcoin be used in international shipping in the future?
Because of the fact that banking restrictions often appear around the world, it is a safe bet to say YES.
Bitcoin is right now just finding its foundation and can still be exploited though. So, the situation is very complex to discuss.
According to Goldman Sachs global head of commodities research, Jeffrey Currie, there are 2 main issues that have to be solved before Bitcoin would be used in a similar way to gold and would become an asset to the shipping industry.
The first thing to remember is that Bitcoin is very difficult to value since price volatility is very high. The second thing is that gold has to be securely vaulted, which is also the case with Bitcoin. Online wallets can be hacked and there are regulatory risks. After security-related risks are solved, investors can easily start to look at Bitcoin as a very convenient commodity market.
In the future, we expect Bitcoin to be less of an important factor in international shipping. Specialists agree that blockchain technology will be much more important. There are currently countless companies that experiment with blockchain.
As a very simple example, IBM and Maersk announced a partnership that would use blockchain in order to transform the current global supply chain.
To sum up, we can say that Bitcoin does have a future in shipping, but the true value will be in blockchain technology.