It has been almost impossible to miss the discussion and debate about Cryptocurrency in the last 3 months.

For a brief time either side of Christmas, the internet was 50% more interested in what was happening with Bitcoin and the Cryptocurrency bubble than one of its favorite topics, Donald Trump! See below:

That degree of attention arouses my curiosity. Cryptocurrency raises any number of interesting questions and – for a procurement professional with a grounding in Economics and Finance – offers opportunities to rethink and re-evaluate the way we do business. The underlying technology, blockchain, could be transformational.

As a crypto-virgin I wanted to learn more and amongst other research attended a Business Cloud Magazine event on the topic in Manchester where I was able to hear first-hand from YouTube star and baseball cap-wearing truck driver from Missouri, Bitcoin Ben.

He may be right and he may be wrong, but listening to this unlikely currency expert was eye-opening. It reminds you that currency is a hazy concept in the first place, with promissory notes and monetary authorities’ ability to print and restrict the amount in circulation.

Ben Semchee highlights cryptocurrency’s quality of being free of any influence or manipulation and draws a contrast between the dollar or pound as a currency that decreases in value versus a cryptocurrency that, in his view, increases in value over time. In his idea of the future embracing it will mean “You’ll no longer work hard and lose money, you’ll gain it“.

More interesting to the way business may change in the future is the concept of real-time exchange. Currently, where a commitment to pay for time or consumption exists, it is recognised at a set point in time and a transfer of currency takes place. Cryptocurrency creates the possibility of getting paid continuously. In a world where late payment and cash flow crises can bring major corporations to their knees, this is mind-blowing. At the very least it has the potential to reduce the admin and bureaucracy around invoicing and payment

Caught up with the bug, I tried to buy some Bitcoin. I researched it, logged onto the exchange, made the purchase with my credit card and sat back to watch what happened. My son congratulated me on my profit the next morning but my transactions hadn’t been authorised. More attempts led me to discover that my ‘legacy’ debit and credit cards took 2 days to authorise a test transaction from the cryptocurrency platform which allowed only a matter of minutes. In my mind this encapsulates neatly the difference between the past and the potential future. It is stark and means a change is going to come.

Blockchain, the technology that enables cryptocurrency, offers many transformational possibilities. And the technology isn’t new. In simple terms, it provides a new way to record and transfer data that is transparent, efficient and secure. Information is only added if verified and can never be amended or deleted.

The opportunities to streamline transactions, eradicate counterfeit items or simplify contracts could make the way we do business fundamentally different.

Much of the discussion around the currency and technology has been clouded by talk of speculative bubbles. I consider this misses the point. Financial Services is still, in many ways, an ‘undisrupted industry’. We’re looking at a huge disruptive force and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

To quote Bitcoin Ben: “If you could travel back in time and were offered a coin called The Internet would you buy it?