Two thousand and eighteen will be the year that Bitcoin goes mainstream, according to IRM’s top picks for the major risks organisations face.

“Having had a meteoric rise in 2017 with an increase of nearly 1000% in price, Bitcoin has been receiving significant coverage (both positive and negative) in the media which has brought it to the attention of the general public, says Alexander Larsen, president of Baldwin Consulting and IRM trainer.

He says there are a number of factors coming together that indicate that 2018 will be the year that big money comes rushing into the crypto currency including the intention of major funds to start investing as well as new platforms being introduced making it easier to trade for individuals.

“Bitcoin is already volatile, although a less volatile investment than most cryptocurrencies which are known to swing as much as 30-40% a day and on occasions as much as 1000% in a day,” he says. “This new money flooding the market will no doubt drive the price up to new heights which leads me to believe that a major crash and correction will be on the horizon for 2018. A lot of people will lose a lot of money although it remains to be seen if Bitcoin will survive or if the bubble will finally have burst.”

Larsen says it is likely is major regulations will be put in place to control the trading of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the issuance of new tokens (ICO’s).

Regulation and compliance will also continue to be a key theme for the charity sector, according to  Alyson Pepperill, client projects director, UK retail at Arthur J Gallagher and chair of the IRM’s Charity Special Interest Group.

“There will be continued scrutiny of the sector by regulators whether that is Charity Commission, Fundraising Regulator or the Information Commissioner’s Office,” she adds. “Selected charities were hauled over the coals in 2017 by all three and we don’t see this changing in 2018.”

Many risk leaders see Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations continuing to be a key focus for organisations say they seek to be compliant ahead of the May 2018 deadline. This focus will continue up to and beyond the deadline for most.

Cyber risks, climate change and political risk are all likely to be hot areas for risk managers. And in the banking sector, the risks posed by advanced technologies are becoming an increasing concern.

“Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are hot topics for the sector at the present,” says Nicola Crawford, IRM chair. “Companies are investing heavily in research and software to help predict how these technological changes present both positive opportunities and risks to the business.”

Read the IRM’s full, expert predictions.