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Spotify looking at digital currencies

Most music in consumed via streaming

The internet has served to create several sectors and industries which would not have existed otherwise. Its biggest influence has been on entertainment and popular culture, with the way we consume content today being very different to what the landscape was just a decade ago, let alone longer. Several traditional industries have also been heavily influenced as a result. Take music for example. Where people used to buy physical cassettes and CDs earlier, now, most music consumption takes place online, with fans listening to their favorite artists on streaming sites and apps. Spotify has become one of the largest companies in that space, and is available almost globally, with hundreds of millions of users, even though it is still finding it difficult to turn a regular profit. Thus, it is interesting to see that Spotify is taking a look at the digital currency space, both as a profit-making venture and as a way to support and enhance its streaming options.

This is linked to the impending launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra, which has now been renamed to Diem. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said that the likes of Diem could eventually lead to a system where users would be able to pay artists directly for their music, no matter where they are in the world. Spotify is also one of the founding members of Diem, while it is also advertising for a role as an associate director for payments, strategy and innovation. All of this points towards the music streaming giant taking more than just a passing interest in the digital currency space. It actually acquired a startup called Mediachain Labs three years ago, which is a blockchain startup, with the aim of improving its system for attribution of tracks on its platform to its various performers, artists and other contributors. Thus, this is not the first foray by Spotify into this space, and it actually makes sense for it to be investigating this area, since digital currencies are poised to change the way we spend money, especially online, in the near future.

Of course, cryptocurrencies and blockchain have shown a lot of promise in various other sectors, with the world of online casinos being one of the most effective ones. Over the last couple of years, as the interest in cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, has risen, many casino operators have begun creating casino with Bitcoin (BTC) i.e. online casinos where users can place bets and withdraw their winnings through cryptocurrencies rather than traditional money. This has proven to be quite popular, and may provide the template for wider industry adoption in the years to come. Doing so allows users to be able to maintain their privacy, given the strict rules that blockchain uses, while it also secures transactions, once again due to blockchain. It is extremely difficult, bordering on impossible to hack crypto transactions, and this has been a big reason for the popularity of crypto casinos. There is an audit trail clearly created as well, in the event of a mishap or problem, which makes it easy to find where the issue occurred. At the same time, using blockchain to underpin actual online games means that customers are reassured that the game itself is not unfair and have not been manipulated by the casino. However, there are issues as well. The biggest is that there is little or no regulation, meaning that consumers have little recourse in case the casino itself is fraudulent. There are also concerns around money laundering and other illegal uses of cryptocurrencies. Since they are decentralized, they are also difficult to regulate at one single point, making traditional regulators obsolete in this regard. Thus, there are multiple pros and cons associated with cryptocurrencies at the moment, but it is undeniable that they represent the future of finance, which is why Spotify is looking to investigate the space.