Cryptocurrency has been around for a decade now, since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, and it comes in many different forms – 1,600 different ‘alt’ coins at the last count, with new ones being introduced almost daily. The value of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, can fluctuate, keeping investors on their toes. Those who want to buy cryptocurrency may be interested to know that Bitcoin’s current value stands at around $8,000 although at its peak in December 2017 it was worth almost $20,000.
Once considered the domain of tech geeks, cryptocurrency’s usefulness and scope for development is now being taken seriously by big businesses. In the gaming community, the makers of Fortnite are looking into whether cryptocurrency could be integrated into the game, enabling players to make purchases within the game using Bitcoin. This could give Bitcoin a big boost. To say Fortnite is huge would be an understatement. With 250 million players, and $2.4 billion dollars spent on in-game costumes and other paid for add-ons, the market is ripe for a collaboration between Fortnite and cryptocurrency.
In fact, Fortnite has already had cryptocurrency purchases enabled within the game briefly last year, albeit accidentally. For a few days it was possible to buy in-game purchases with Monero, but this was a glitch brought about by a partnership to create a merchandise store. Once Fortnite’s developers, Epic Games realised what had happened, the facility was removed. That’s not to say Epic is against the introduction of cryptocurrency though.
It is already possible to purchase V-bucks – Fortnite’s own in-game currency – using cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium, Dodgecoin and Dash. V-bucks can be used to buy many in-game accessories, from weapons, to costumes and even dance moves, but this is only possible at the moment due to a third-party work-around service called Bitrefill.
Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney says he sees there is definitely potential for introducing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in gaming, but he added the company needs to examine Bitcoin’s volatility, and ensure fraud prevention mechanisms are considered, before bringing cryptocurrency purchases to Fortnite’s young audience.
Other major global tech companies interested in cryptocurrency include Facebook, which is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, the Libracoin next year, and also Samsung.
Facebook’s Libra coin launch, originally scheduled for June 2020, will possibly be pushed back. The launch has faced controversy from all angles, with Germany and France going as far as saying they would block Libra coins from trading in their countries. The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee has also got concerns, making it clear that Libra coin would have to meet high standards in order to be approved. It also stipulated that the digital wallets used to hold Libra coin would need to be as secure as traditional bank accounts. In the past cryptocurrencies have not been subject to such stringent stress tests.
Apple has also said it is keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency developments. Apple Pay’s vice president, Jennifer Bailey told CNN news she sees the ‘long-term potential’ for cryptocurrency.
With growing interest from such big businesses, it is little wonder that the value of Bitcoin has risen 200% so far in 2019 alone. It seems the potential for cryptocurrency, and the blockchain technology it sits on, could be huge.