There has been an influx of people getting into all kinds of trading this year. January 2021’s events around the Reddit-inspired crashing of GameStop stock shows that people who have otherwise remained away from the markets are interested in how they work. For cryptocurrency, this can only be a good thing. The more people who are active in the cryptocurrency industry, the better the market will do. But does news that the FCA in the UK is curbing Binance show that the powers that be don’t want too many people to invest in alternative currencies?
What’s Happened to Binance?
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), responsible for regulating the crypto industry, has barred Binance from operating in the UK. Experts suggest this will have no impact on UK customers as the Binance operation isn’t based in the UK, it’s in the Cayman Islands. However, some argue that the move sends a message that cryptocurrencies aren’t favoured by official bodies. But this could just push more people to begin their trading journeys, especially if they feel the officials don’t want people investing because it may upset the apple cart.
Do People Trust Crypto?
Cryptocurrency’s major issue has been convincing people that it is a worthwhile alternative to traditional finances. Many still see the industry as volatile – and stories that people have been losing so much through bad Bitcoin investments from its launch in 2009 seem to help perpetuate this. The GameStop fiasco which saw stock prices surge 200% shows that it’s not just crypto that can be volatile and impacted by external events, but traditional trading too.
However, celebrity endorsements, such as Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, for cryptocurrency such as Dogecoin, which launched in 2013, help galvanise opinions towards crypto. The price of the Bitcoin rival increased 5% in a 24 hour period after Musk tweeted support for the joke coin. Musk’s push to make Dogecoin the main currency on Earth led to an increase of 11,000% in just 12 months.
How Have Smartphones Boosted Accessibility?
Being able to trade on smartphones has been the biggest coup for the industry. Removing accessibility barriers to trading has helped find new audiences and allowed more people to immerse themselves in the industry. This isn’t unique to trading, which could be argued to have been influenced by other industries who have managed to thrive when they have moved to a new format, particularly increasing their digital scope of allowing more smartphone integration.
Gaining popularity on social media has enabled many people to launch their careers, for instance, and improved accessibility for getting into trickier industries. For instance, kombucha girl Brittany Broski’s meme moment across social media catapulted her into stardom. Posting videos and creating content for TikTok can result in gaining followers and act as an unconventional way to enter other creative fields. This would have been unlikely without smartphones making capturing content and sharing it so accessible.
Other industries have also ensured they have a mobile presence. The online casino industry already benefitted from the move from physical to digital. The range of online slots and table games at Betway are offered in mobile format. Players can choose to download the app or they can play on the browser. Enhancing the methods that players can engage with these games helps attract people who might not want to sit at the desktop to do so. Similarly, Uber’s success came from launching as an app, while other taxi companies still relied on phone calls and cash payments. Smartphone engagement can help companies be more accessible to their customer base.
Elsewhere, gaming has benefitted from a surprising increase in typical non-gamers, solely from allowing people to play on smartphones. Middle-aged women have flocked to mobile gaming, such as Candy Crush Saga, because it is already there on their phones. Moreover, the Picture This app has turned people to horticulture by allowing people to identify plants they come across.
The rise of smartphones has meant that people can get involved with industries they wouldn’t typically have had access too. For something solely digital, like cryptocurrency, this improves accessibility and increases footfall to the industry. This is particularly important in an industry like crypto, where the markets react better to more people getting involved. The FCA barring Binance from operating in the UK will have no effect on custom, but it will remind people that cryptocurrency is still there.