Can bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, match up to the mighty dollar or other fiat currencies? That was the question posed by researchers at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Krakow, and they found that bitcoin was a better currency than might seem at first glance.

The research, published Oct. 10 in the journal Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, found no significant difference between the basic statistical parameters of bitcoin — in terms of market performance — when compared with the traditional currencies such as the dollar. While a lack of trust in cryptocurrencies seems to be a general perception, results of the statistical research showed otherwise. The analysis conducted by IFJ PAN showed bitcoin (and potentially other cryptocurrencies too) in a positive light.

For the study, researchers statistically analyzed one-minute price changes of bitcoin recorded form 2012 to April 2018, and found that for many months now, bitcoin had met all the "important criteria of financial maturity." Stanislaw Drozdz, a professor at IFJ PAN, said that in the case of other cryptocurrencies, it would be possible to expect a similar transformation to financial maturity. He added that if that came to pass, the world's foreign exchange markets could look forward to some serious competition.

When it comes to this subject, there have been extreme perspectives from both ends of the spectrum — the cryptocurrency industry and traditional financial markets. Professionals who are part of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space are confident bitcoin is "designed to be a better currency" and is a worthy alternative to fiat currencies. The characteristics of cryptocurrencies at large make it possible for people working in this space to think cryptocurrencies could surpass traditional currencies in the long term. 

"The dollar faces institutional constraints that are not seen with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. There are always pros and cons to each side. But, I believe that the power the bitcoin gives back to the people and the fact that it is not impacted by inflation will drive its rise in use globally," Peter Engleman, cofounder and chief operating officer at Portion (a platform for artists to create crypto art and crypto collectibles), told International Business Times.

Harsha Cuttari, chief technology officer of Aqua Intelligence (a data-driven platform on blockchain that enables consumers to monetize and validate their personal data) emphasized more on the performance of both the currencies — bitcoin and dollar — in a given circumstance. He told IBT that for online transactions, bitcoin is far better than any other payment option due to its low transaction fees, portability, and deniability. When it comes to other transactions, however, the acceptability and low volatility of the dollar today, "makes for convenience among the masses."

Pedro Anderson, cofounder and chief operating officer at Winding Tree, a blockchain-based decentralized open-source travel distribution platform, was of the opinion that bitcoin is not competing with the dollar as much as it is competing with the centralized banking systems of the world. 

"Cash dollars are great but they can only be used face to face, in person transactions which don't meet the needs for online or larger transactions," Anderson told IBT in an email.

On the other hand, economic analysts like Sunpreet Singh from Dartmouth College said bitcoin would not surpass the adoption of the dollar because it was a vulnerable currency.

"We are talking about a virtual currency reliant on wireless networks and accounts that have already sparked so much interest from hackers bent on acquiring amounts of cryptocurrency. It is quite more difficult to steal cash from someone or hack into bank accounts without the financial institutions reimbursing their customers for losses," Singh said, while also indicating that cryptocurrency transactions are much harder to track than transactions with the dollar. 

"Moreover, we are talking about displacing the fundamental mechanism of monetary and fiscal policy as well—how would the Fed increase or decrease the supply of cryptocurrency without people stashing currency in unobserved accounts or private servers? It is very unlikely that governments will get on board with it and it is more likely that regulation would crush cryptocurrencies from rising to the status of the dollar," Singh told IBT. 

Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate (publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the internet) was hopeful that blockchain technology as a stand-alone will be sustainable but he is skeptical whether bitcoin both in terms of a currency or a brand alone will survive in long-term.

"The problems with Bitcoin are well advertised, not the least of which is the desire of regulators to clamp down on it and ensure that transactions are taxed," Hamrick said.

Alexander Tkachenko, founder and CEO of VNX (marketplace and trading platform for tokenized venture capital assets), said he considers bitcoin more of a digital asset than a currency in its traditional meaning. A traditional currency, by virtue of its government backing, is an asset that is widely accepted, while bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not, at least at present. And a traditional currency, regardless of its volatility, is broadly used for commercial transactions, and people in general are quite comfortable in using traditional currencies at retail outlets which play a huge part in daily life and also contribute a large chunk to the global economy.