News & Views - Savantor

Jumping on the Bitcoin Rollercoaster

Thursday, 09 January 2014
The last couple of weeks have seen a fair amount of activity on the topic of Bitcoin, including moves by governing bodies and yet more bad press. The perception and understanding of Bitcoin by the public is extremely low, especially following media reports of the FBI raid on the online "black-marketplace" Silk Road where it seized approximately 175,000 Bitcoins and now the vice-chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, Charlie Shrem, being charged by US Prosecutors in relation to his own dealings on Silk Road. The constant association in the media of Bitcoin to illicit activity is obviously damaging to its public profile and therefore its attractiveness to consumers and merchants. Bitcoin is a fledgling currency, still largely under the radar of the general public so the horror stories are the ones that make the headlines. Where the Bitcoin path ultimately leads is wide open with opinions seemingly polarised on the topic. Digital currencies will certainly become established in the mainstream eventually – the question is when this will be, which form it will take and whether there is room for more than one global currency? To understand the size of the opportunity in Bitcoin, we just need to look at those 175,000 Silk Road Bitcoins held by the FBI (approximately 1.5% of all Bitcoins in existence at the time of writing). At $945 per Bitcoin (, they represent around $165 million, with the value of all Bitcoins in existence today being equivalent to half of the UK's total public spending budget for industry, agriculture and employment for 2013-14. Last year, Germany formally declared Bitcoin as a "unit of account" and this month both the French Senate and the NY Department of Financial Services have held hearings into how Bitcoin and other digital currencies could be regulated so it is being increasingly noticed by the wider audience. The business opportunities for Bitcoin in the payments industry are not likely to be realised through previous business models. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment method leaving little or no room for processing or middle-man fees. The opportunities for the payments industry will likely lie in the services and intellectual property that can be developed around the currency. The challenge for the payment industry, therefore, is to identify those opportunities and invest in the infrastructure whereby these ancillary services can be delivered through consumer/merchant wallets. At the moment, though, being a financial instrument it is a technology that has attracted the attention of the governing bodies keen to bring it in line with other monetary instruments in terms of regulation and taxation. Unless Bitcoin is pushed to the market soon, we may miss out on the positive opportunities it holds within.
Savantor Services

Savantor Services

Savantor services are tailored to Client needs based on our core service areas

Specialist Resourcing Payments Strategy Platform Transition Operational Efficiency
Savantor Services

Job Opportunities

Consulting and contracting roles in the payments, mobile and banking arena within the UK and across Europe

View more
Savantor Services

Savantor Views

Find out more from our Savantor brochures, MarketEye back copies and Industry opinion

Collateral Market Eye News & Views Sign Up to receive MarketEye

Client Quotes

Acquiring market insight and strategy review

"Savantor brought an independent perspective and valuable insight that enabled Rabobank to ratify options for delivery and future growth and make informed business decisions in support of our target business model. Having used Savantor on a number of strategic projects, we have no hesitation in recommending their services to others."

Evert R Fekkes, SVP Payment & Savings Services - Rabobank - Nederland

Interchange Review

"Savantor did a superb job in confirming what we believed was an area of weakness. The detail we now have will enable us to agree internally what we need to do to improve structure, control and income. Nationwide management were very impressed with the quality of the Savantor team."

Adam Slater, Senior Manager - Banking - Nationwide Building Society - UK

Payments Workshop Material

"Savantor helped ACI build a payments onboarding workshop for new technical staff in ACI EMEA. Their extensive experience took our outline and built a great starting presentation of industry facts that we have now customised further into a half day session that is used for all new joiners. Our Americas and APAC regions have also taken the material and customised it for their regions. A great job by Savantor has meant new joiners to ACI hit the ground running."

Richard Sanders, Principal Solution Consultant - ACI - Worldwide EMEA

Credit Card Launch

"Savantor's knowledge and experience were the key differentiators in selecting them and they contributed greatly to the success of the product launch and the effectiveness of the ongoing operational service."

Toine Schepers, Operations Director - Primeline - The Netherlands

Credit Card Migration and Operational Support

"The bank has undergone significant transformation of its card business on both the issuing and acquiring sides. One business partner we have looked to for support in the areas of strategy, major project leadership, management analysis and ongoing business support is Savantor. The Savantor team has contributed to our success as we have leveraged their deep industry knowledge and broad range of operational skills."

Sean Sheehan, Service Management Director - Bank of Ireland

Commercial Card Migration

"Execution at its best. We're delighted that this project has been truly outstanding and received an award from 'The Banker'. Savantor provided crucial expertise that helped us keep all our promises in terms of delivery. The scheduling, planning and control regime throughout was excellent."

Chris Mason, Director - Commercial Cards EMEA - Citi - UK

Credit Risk Review for New Product Launch

"We needed expert help at short notice and Savantor were very impressive in their response and knowledge. The results were very clear and useful, enabling us to quickly make good progress on the next steps."

Sami Karhunen, Head of Business Intelligence and SME Sales - Point Transaction Systems Oy - Finland

Market Insights

"Savantor did a good job in helping us understand the dynamics of a key growth area for Trionis. Savantor's ability to listen and their degree of commitment have always impressed me. They have been of great help in providing us important market insights and I would not hesitate to work with them again in future."

Ernst Verbeek, Managing Director - Trionis - Belgium

Clients - Request Support

Send us a support request and one of our specialists will be in contact to assist you.

Consultants – Upload your CV

Register your CV with us and gain access to a range of job opportunities through our online job search portal.