How European Business Owners Can Embrace Crypto

While crypto continues to heat up, it's not too late to consider whether it makes sense for your brand or for you personally.

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Whether you're embracing it or not, crypto is having a moment and is only going to become more important for small businesses. But new data from a survey conducted by cryptocurrency platform Gemini shows that Europe is trailing behind the global average when it comes to adopting cryptocurrency. Overall, 17 percent of Eurpeans have embraced cryptocurrencies, but the global average sits around 23 percent, with a rate of 18 percent in the United States and 20 percent in Australia.

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The European countries included in the survey—which polled 29,293 adults across 20 countries to discover their awareness of cryptocurrencies and motivations for having and trading them, as well as their general attitudes toward them—were Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

It might not make sense for every brand or every person, but business owners should give crypto a look to make sure they're not left behind. It's not too late: The survey found that around the world, 41 percent of crypto owners made their first purchase last year. In Europe, 40 percent of owners made their first investment last year, too.

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Antoni Zolciak, co-founder of Aleph Zero, told Entrepreneur, "Covid-19 has hurt a lot of businesses, but the sad truth is corporate longevity has been declining steadily for decades. Most businesses that are not only surviving, but thriving, today are leaning into digital solutions to leverage their core strengths and restructure their profit centers. Blockchain technology is one of those technical solutions that can serve as a potential game-changer."

He has two suggestions for European business owners looking to adopt cryptocurrency to their benefit: Look into blockchain-enabled fiat payrolls and online data protection and verification. These are simple, effective actions you can take right now to get in on everything cryptocurrency and blockchain have to offer.

"Cryptocurrencies aren't just for speculators and risk takers, especially when it comes to stablecoins. Stablecoins are digital assets that are designed to maintain a stable price, usually by being pegged to a specific fiat currency. In other words, stablecoins pegged to euros are designed to maintain the reliability and credibility of currency, while offering the mobility and utility of cryptocurrency."

As a result, Zolciak says, businesses that are "curious but cautious about exploring blockchain technology can consider rolling out a payroll program that allows employees to be paid in a stablecoin euro equivalent," noting that in addition to allowing companies to compensate staff anywhere at any time without relying on banks, this method enhances privacy. That means businesses "could do all this without revealing their payroll expenses and the recipients' personal information — even in the event of a data breach."

Zolciak pointed to the recent hack of MailChimp, which resulted in valuable client data being stolen from over 100 institutional clients. That hack and others like it have caused serious concern, but he believes blockchain's ability to protect privacy and enhance transparency could be the solution.

"More specifically, zero-knowledge proofs enable crypto users to verify the legitimacy of data, such as an online identity or transaction, without divulging any actual details of that data. Blockchain technology helps ensure that a businesses' proprietary information, and that of its users, remain recognizable and verifiable online while remaining impervious to malicious actors," he explained.