Procurement · 25 September 2017

Number of UK firms using cryptocurrencies expected to double in 2018

Coins money falling vector illustration, flat style dropping gold coins, isolated on color background
Business owners claimed to have saved £5,500 per year having invested in fintech products

A fifth of UK business owners will be using cryptocurrencies to process payments in 2018, new research has suggested.

In a study of almost 3,500 business owners in Britain, invoice finance firm MarketInvoice assessed decision makers on their awareness of financial technology (fintech) products and services, and how far they would go in adopting new developments.

Overall, 89 per cent of respondents had never used cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, before. But despite low use so far, awareness seems to be growing – over one in five expected currencies like bitcoin to feature in their payment transactions over the next 12 months.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency. The defining characteristic of cryptocurrency is the absence of a centralised repository, meaning it cannot be manipulated by government and is immune to interference.

A primary benefit of cryptocurrency is the ease at which funds can be transferred, with processing fees at a minimum. However, the data-based nature of virtual currencies means a cryptocurrency balance that isn’t backed up could be wiped out by a computer crash.

Bitcoin, likely the most well-known cryptocurrency, was launched in 2009 as the world’s first decentralised currency. Since then, Bitcoin has acted as acted as a peer-to-peer enabler for transactions between users. As a company, Bitcoin has been subject to at least 40 thefts, exceeding millions of dollars in value.

The digital Liverpool Pound is powered by the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrencies

Greater adoption of fintech

Wider findings revealed a greater adoption among British business owners of fintech products, alledgedly saving £4.6bn every year, according to the research.

Some 77 per cent of respondents were aware of fintech services, while two-thirds claimed to have adopted at least one fintech application. A fifth claimed to have adopted at least four. On average, respondents reported annual savings of £5,500.

Banking transactions was the primary use for fintech products, the study found, followed by foreign exchange services.

Commenting on the findings, Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder of MarketInvoice, praised the “remarkable” expansion of tech-driven services in the past five years.

“We know that consumers have been adopting tech applications into all parts of their lives, but our research shows that now UK businesses are also becoming tech-savvy,” Stocker added.

“Fintech applications are revolutionising the way business is being done from how employees report their expenses to the way businesses report their financial performance. Entrepreneurs always seek out the best means to drive their businesses and clearly fintech products and services are becoming a stable part of this approach.”

Business owners were also found to have used fintech products to improve company workflow processes. Two-thirds of respondents were using fintech for staff to report their expenses, while a quarter were using pre-paid debit cards to allocate team budgets.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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