News that that the People's Bank of China is to develop their own cryptocurrency may well signal the start of a new revolution in economic and consumer analysis.
The world's second largest economy has instructed the PBOC to tap into the growing trend amongst Chinese people to buy their goods using digital currencies and other online tools by researching the potential to launch a state-back digital currency.
If the bank's venture into creating a digital version of their legal fiat tender, the Renminbi (RMB), is successful then the new cryptocurrency could open the floodgates to a new-era of transactions, with the world's most populous country at the vanguard of financial technology.
The Chinese already have a huge internet presence, half the country's population is online and their buying power is enormous, one in five internet users worldwide is Chinese.
If the PBOC do decide to launch their new digital currency it will send shockwaves around the world and represent a game changer for digital financial transactions.
Not only that, but given the ease of using digital currencies and the vast trade volumes China generates as a major exporter and importer of good and services from around the world, it is probable that the digital RMB furthers China's ambition to internationalise their currency and establish it as the global tender of choice for cross-border exchanges. This of course comes as no surprise to us at LEO, one of our biggest userbases is indeed in China!
In recent years, the Bank of Canada, Deutsche Bundesbank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Bank of England, and the Bank of India are some of the major central financial institutions to have recognised the speed, convenience and transparency that cryptocurrencies offer.
Nearly half a billion people around the world are already making mobile payments, this market trend is forecast to grow by more than twenty percent over the next three years to reach 630 million consumers by 2020, according to Bloomberg.
This growing movement represents untold opportunity for anyone interested in analysing consumer behaviour - economists, planners and business people will be able to study trends and data in real-time rather than relying on business surveys, historical statistics or tax receipts.
In developing countries, where distribution channels and infrastructure networks are still evolving, this access to data, knowing who is buying what, where and when may lead to their rapid economic development, especially as much of their populations remain unbanked.
Therefore the opportunity to take your business venture from local, to national to global at break-neck speed has never been greater, with the complexities and risks involved with international and long distance exchange withdrawn thanks to modern technology.
What's more, for government big data will allow policy makers and corporate leaders to leverage insights on a truly revolutionary scale that could, if used correctly, transform the way we live, work and think as the human race moves toward a more innovative form of transaction.