In a new study published in March 2018, Transparency Market Research predicts a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent for cryptocurrency hardware and software from 2017 through 2025. The report estimates that the hardware and software business in this industry will soar from $574 million in 2017 to $6.7 billion in 2025.
In introducing the Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study from the Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, released last year, senior research associate Dr. Garrick Hileman writes, “Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been seen by some as merely a passing fad or insignificant, but that view is increasingly at odds with the data we are observing. As of April 2017, the combined market value of all cryptocurrencies is $27 billion, which represents a level of value creation on the order of Silicon Valley success stories like AirBnB. The advent of cryptocurrency has also sparked many new business platforms with sizable valuations of their own, along with new forms of peer-to-peer economic activity.”
One of the key take-aways of the study is that, “while 79 percent of payment companies have existing relationships with banking institutions and payment networks, the difficulty of obtaining and maintaining these relationships is cited as this sector’s biggest challenge.”
Challenges to general acceptance and use of cryptocurrency include a lengthy approval and confirmation process, limiting the customer carrying out the transaction to interact with only one crypto exchange and thereby being shackled to its exchange rate, and complications in managing how the different cryptocurrencies are accessed.
Among the companies seeking to provide solutions for making cryptocurrencies accessible is Israeli startup Virtual Crypto Technologies, founded this past January by a team of entrepreneurs with extensive experience in founding and managing global companies, in research and development, and in cryptocurrencies. It recently launched NetoBit as the first of a series of software and hardware products, designed to enable the purchase, sale and conversions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via ATMs, tablets, PCs and mobile devices.
NetoBit Cash is a tablet device that enables businesses worldwide to securely receive payments in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in real time, while enjoying protection against exchange rate volatility and guaranteeing transactions up to a value of $3,000. For example, a restaurant can include its menu on the NetoBit Cash, enabling diners to choose and order meals on the Virtual Crypto tablet and pay with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the device. The payment is cleared immediately, and the business owner can choose whether to accept the payment in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or immediately convert it through NetoBit Cash into regular (fiat) money, which will be transferred into his or her account.
Virtual Crypto will distribute its products through distributors and business partners to small and mid-sized businesses such as cafés, restaurants, and shops; enterprises, such as airlines and tourism companies; government agencies; payment gateways; and online businesses.