Bitcoin is yesterday's news - agencies need to wise up to cryptocurrencies and ICO PR

As Bitcoin jumped to record highs in December, increasing 1,300 per cent from its price a year ago, PR firms were fighting to claim they were the first to take cryptocurrency as payment, as reported by Flack.

Time for PR to wake up to the true potential of cryptocurrencies, writes Peter Bowles
Time for PR to wake up to the true potential of cryptocurrencies, writes Peter Bowles

But, as ever, PR agencies were late to the party - attaching themselves to a "hot" currency with all the enthusiasm they’ll be selling in Meghan Markle stories in 2018.

Charging clients in Bitcoin has been tempting for years, but I’m sure many agencies have decided against it for fears over its volatility, concerns that there was no underlying asset, and they’re more about managing communications, rather than currency speculation.

As the world has gone crypto crazy, it’s worth noting that Bitcoin, though popular, wasn’t even in the top-five growing cryptocurrencies last year.

There’s now an incredible number of currencies vying for primacy like Litecoin, a faster version of Bitcoin; Dash, aiming at instant merchant payments; and Ripple, which has good marketing yet some in the crypto-community claim is not a real decentralised crypto at all.

But Ether and its Blockchain are the real story.

Unlike Bitcoin, Ether really does have an underlying ‘asset’, in that it is used as fuel to power a wide variety of apps on the blockchain.

The Ethereum blockchain, whilst still rapidly developing technology, is the base for smart contracts - trackable, irreversible and decentralised contracts.

It’s much more user-friendly and companies have used this platform to issue ‘tokens’ with ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, the crypto world’s crowdfunding equivalent.

Organisations like the PRCA or CIPR could even raise an ICO, the tokens of which could be used to purchase PR services.

A few select PR firms have had success in crowdfunding for their clients, but this is dwarfed by recent ICOs.

Sirin labs last month broke all records for mobile phone crowdfunding, raising over $150m in an ICO - issuing tokens which can be used to purchase their blockchain-based smartphone.

So today, rather than propagating the ‘on trend’ (but outdated) view that everything’s about Bitcoin, we’re arguing that PR agencies need to open up their services and even accept payment in Ether, Ethereum-based coins or tokens.

As we enter 2018 the world is changing faster than ever.

The way we charge for services is another being disrupted by new technology.

Keep up.

Peter Bowles is co-chief executive of Dynamo PR

Disclaimer: Both Dynamo PR and Peter Bowles hold Ether currency. Dynamo began part payment of services in Ether and Ethereum based coins in 2018.

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