Laura Barnes looks at the pros and cons for retailers looking to accept the digital currency

Are we ready for Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has been in the news for a while now, but the past few months have seen the cryptocurrency hit the headlines again – and not all for the right reasons.

In February, etailer Overclockers UK praised Bitcoin, describing it as an excellent opportunity for retailers to generate sales.

A month later, Scan announced that it would start accepting Bitcoin (BTC), making it the first UK PC retailer to do so. This news was closely followed by IT distributor Entatech revealing that it was considering accepting the digital currency.

While this sounds incredibly positive, the currency has been hit quite hard recently. Bitcoin exchange MtGox filed for bankruptcy after losing an estimated 750,000 BTC of its customers’ digital currency and bank Flexcoin closed after a hack attack, admitting that it doesn’t have the resources to cover the loss of £365,000 worth of stolen Bitcoins.

On top of this, the media hounded a man reported to be the ‘father of Bitcoin’ – only for 64-year-old Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto to deny all involvement.

These events may make other retailers and IT businesses stop and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding whether to jump on board with the digital currency.

The European Banking Authority is trying to make the decision a little easier for businesses and consumers alike – it is putting together a taskforce to advise it on how virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, should be regulated.

The taskforce will be created before July 2014 and will analyse the risks users of Bitcoin and other digital currencies face.

Perhaps it would be wise to wait for their advice before getting in on the action yourself.

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