Market sentiment shifts to digital currencies due to ‘crypto’ surge - GulfToday

Market sentiment shifts to digital currencies due to ‘crypto’ surge


Khurram Shroff speaks at the event.

Inayat-ur Rahman, Deputy Business Editor

Bitcoin recently exceeded the $23,000 mark – an all-time high – which has set the global investment community buzzing. Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, also went past $660, indicating a shift in market sentiment towards digital currencies as a whole. So what has changed?

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy was announced by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, in October 2016. It will help the Dubai Government to go paperless by 2021, and save Dhs5.5 billion annually, in document processing alone. In April 2018, the UAE Government launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, which will migrate 50% of government transactions to Blockchain by 2021, saving 77 million work hours and Dhs11 billion in processing, annually.

With the recent surge in the valuation of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies – perhaps the most widely known application of Blockchain – the UAE’s early backing of the technology has been validated.

The inflationary pressures that fiat currencies are dealing with, as a result of the massive stimulus packages that governments around the world announced during the pandemic, have brought the strengths of crypto to the fore.

 With Blockchain ensuring reliable records, Bitcoin – whose units are capped at 21 million – represents an inherently deflationary asset class, allowing investors to hedge against the debasement of traditional currencies.  Khurram Shroff, whose IBC group holds more than a million Bitcoin, and a key ‘staker’ who drove the successful recent launch of Ethereum 2.0,  told Gulf Today that high crypto valuations are a reflection of Blockchain going mainstream.

“The ability of cryptocurrencies to evolve, in response to changing circumstances, reflects the agile and innovation-friendly nature of Blockchain”, says Khurram. “For instance, Ethereum 2.0 recently addressed concerns around the high energy usage of the ‘proof of work’ Blockchain, by seamlessly introducing a much more sustainable ‘proof of stake’ model. This was why I proactively mobilized the global Ethereum community, to ensure that the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain to go live on schedule”.

Governments and regulatory bodies around the world are also beginning to reflect the confidence being shown by future-ready investors like Khurram Shroff. Where once the decentralized nature of Blockchain was seen as a threat to governmental oversight, its immutable and instantly verifiable digital records are now being seen as a strength – particularly within the context of markets that need to be kick-started in the aftermath of a global pandemic.

“As an investor, the transparency, deflationary nature, and resilient nature of cryptocurrencies are highly attractive to me”, Khurram continues. “But the most long-lasting impact of this transition will be the validation of Blockchain as a technology. The applications are only limited by our ability to innovate - from resolving international disputes, to empowering business collaborations, to the sharing economy, and beyond”.

Khurram is an award winning global banking and finance leader, who has been featured in the prestigious list of the “Top100 Most Powerful and Influential Muslims in Great Britain and the World” by Power100.

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