Forward-thinking waste management firm, BusinessWaste.co.uk, have said that they are ‘reluctantly’ no longer accepting cryptocurrencies – such as Bitcoin – as payment for their services.
The company originally announced it had become the first refuse and recycling business to accept these virtual currencies as payment in 2017 in order to give flexibility to their customers in an increasingly digital age. However, the firm says that despite its efforts, the uncertainties of the market are making digital currencies an unreliable source of payment.
Mark Hall, Communications Director of BusinessWaste.co.uk, said of the figures: “Cryptocurrencies have become much more main-stream in recent years, and we were happy to move with the times and accept these digital forms of money as payment. As a business we are dedicated to being thought leaders and innovating to provide the best service to our clients, and accepting internationally-recognised digital currencies was one way we could do that – but, as with many emerging technologies, there are still wrinkles to be ironed out within the cryptocurrency market.”
These forms of currency – which include the most well-known, Bitcoin, as well as other forms such as Ethereum and Litecoin – are not tied to a particular country’s economy as with standard, or fiat, currency. This means it has a tendency to be much more volatile than fiat currency; for example, in 2010, when the currency made its first real-world transaction, one Bitcoin (BTC) was worth less than £0.01. In December 2017, one BTC was worth over £15,000 – a fluctuation many times higher than a fiat currency would experience over a seven-year-period.
This volatility has come to be considered an intrinsic hazard of a currency whose value works much like traditional stocks and shares – where market rumor’s and movement have potentially massive knock-on effects on its value. This could have potentially serious ramifications for businesses who accept crypto payments and then find themselves with a payment which has dropped significantly in value within a short period – such as in December 2017, when 1 BTC fell in value from £15,000 to £2,500 today in response a crackdown on improper practices in the market.
However, the popularity of cryptocurrencies has also led to unscrupulous users attempting to use ‘scam’ or fake coins to pay for goods and services. Cryptocurrencies rely on key information to verify that they are legitimate, such as the ‘white paper’ which details the origins of a coin, who made it, and how it works. However, these papers can be forged and simply just made up – which can cause businesses who end up with scam coins to be out of pocket.
Hall concluded: “We’re reluctant to pull the plug on cryptocurrencies for now – but we have to think about the implications for the business. Market fluctuations and scams surrounding cryptocurrencies are, unfortunately, part of the current environment surrounding these digital forms of payment, and until this is no longer the case we will stick to fiat currency.”