While some individuals still don’t understand the role cryptocurrency has in a global economy, there are more and more signs showing how crypto is gaining a larger market share. This trend is only going to continue and substantially more adoption is expected in 2019. An entire country seems to be prepared to make the jump into digital currency and is forecast to see a drastic reduction in cash usage within seven years.
According to a report by the New York Times, half of the retailers in Sweden could quit receiving cash before 2026 rolls around. The country is already testing a state-backed digital currency (SBDC), the e-krona, which is being managed by Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank.
The SBDC could pave the way for Sweden to become completely free of cash within a decade. The governor of Riksbank, Stefan Ingves, asserts, “When you are where we are, it would be wrong to sit back with our arms crossed, doing nothing, and then just take note of the fact that cash has disappeared. You can’t turn back time, but you do have to find a way to deal with change.”
Cash is dying in the country. The people know it and the government knows it. They believe it to be on a course toward dissolution that can’t be stopped, which is why a number of businesses and individuals have already begun to make the permanent switch to digital currencies.
While that trend will continue, no one expects the landscape to change overnight. There are still a number of reasons why cash may have to be used, but those reasons are being addressed. As it happens, though, some caution that the country needs to ensure that it considers all the implications of a cash-free society. Mats Dillén, an economist and head of a Parliament committee studying the financial landscape in the country, states, “We need to pause and think about whether this is good or bad, and not just sit back and let it happen. If cash disappears, that would be a big change, with major implications for society and the economy.”
Sweden isn’t the only country going through this evolutionary cycle. The Marshall Islands are set to introduce a digital currency that would be legal tender, and several Asian countries are also experiencing substantial crypto adoption. Cash is becoming more of a rarity in Japan and South Korea, as digital payment networks become mainstream in the countries.
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It’s been an eventful week for the cryptocurrency community in Norrbotten, Sweden, after two crypto mining operators decided to disappear, leaving a trail of unpaid bills.
Norrbotten has been a good environment for crypto startups looking to set up shop. The county has a cold climate that makes it a perfect place to mine cryptocurrencies. However, two operators—U.S. miner NGDC and Chasqui Tech—reportedly shut down their shops without giving notice to the investors and the community, according to Sveriges Radio.
Miami-based NGDC was the first to stop its operation in the municipality of Älvsbyn. According to reports, the company could no longer continue with its operation after Vattenfall, a Swedish electricity supplier, cut off its power. The company had not paid its electricity bill which amounted to SEK14 million (about $1.55 million). After the disconnection, the company went off grid.
Fredrik Sundin, lawyer for Vattenfall, said the utility company “will do what it can” to solve the issue. However, Helena Ohlund of the Älvsbyn municipal council said that efforts to contact the NGDC had borne no fruits.
Another mining company, Chasquit Tech, has also abandoned its mining farm in Kalix, Norrbotten County, according to the Swedish news outlet. The mining company skipped town after failing to pay its rental fees amounting to SEK500,000 ($55,000).
There have been many talks as to why these two, along with other companies, are leaving the Swedish environment. According to Patrick Ohlund, the chief executive officer of The Node Pole, the recent changes in the crypto space play a big part in the departures. He claims that the latest increase in electricity prices have hiked the operating costs for most companies, resulting in many startups to look for places with better and more accommodating policies.
He also believes that the cryptocurrency bear market is to be blamed. Many companies have been forced to cut down while others have had to shut down. Some of the remaining crypto companies are hanging on a thread causing them not to meet up their debts.
However, Ohlund still believes the cryptocurrency space in Sweden has great potential to grow. He estimates that in the coming days, the number of crypto startups in the region could double up to about 50 facilities.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
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