Bitcoin is currently at over $7,000 per bitcoin. Now, users can buy partial coins and hence don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to utilize the platform. It could be used for simple transactions like $3.50 for coffee or a few dozen bitcoins to purchase a car.
So where are these cryptocurrencies accepted? Companies including Subway, Victoria’s Secret, and Microsoft accept cryptocurrency as payment for sandwiches, lingerie, and online store applications respectively. They may be a minority of current large businesses, but a clear sign that more and more companies will open up to cryptocurrency to support blockchain enthusiastic customers. Local businesses are far connected to the process: 260,000 local companies in Japan alone are transitioning to cryptocurrencies via services like Recruit Lifestyle.
Amazon competitor, Overstock.com, recently started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, and flight search and purchase platform, Expedia.com also joined the group. All online stores powered by Shopify - often used by celebrities and designers to sell merchandise - also accept cryptocurrencies as a payment option. Even luxury car manufacturer, McLaren, has started to take cryptocurrency for its $100,000+ high line of vehicles.
Major credit card tech companies, like Stripe and Braintree, enable developers to accept cryptocurrencies as readily as accepting credit cards. Not only is the process of implementing Bitcoin and Ethereum payments simple, Stripe and Braintree also service a grand majority of online tech companies that don’t do refunds in-house. With their support for cryptocurrencies, significant apps on your phone could quickly adopt cryptocurrencies without a significant transition cost.
Likewise, companies like Square that manufacture next-generation credit card machines for stores and often-times coffee shops have opened talks of a Bitcoin option to make it easy for their vendors to start accepting cryptocurrencies with a click of a button.
Even for the executives still cynical of cryptocurrency’s stability, accepting cryptocurrencies as payment is relatively low-risk since platforms like Stripe could convert back into fiat currencies like US Dollar upon payment. Hence, buyers would pay at the current trading price for a specific crypto-coin against a fiat currency, and the vendor would get the equivalent rate.
Phone apps like Dether are also channelling the growth from the opposite angle. Users can download the Alpha version of Dether to spend Ethereum seamlessly at approved stores using their smartphone. They could pay other Dether users quickly using the app, serving a bulk of typical bank-account features. The logo is a stylized location icon to indicate Dether global reach - where users can pay and trade with people worldwide without having to transfer currencies via multiple channels or paying for expensive money transfers.
This is the most remarkable thing about cryptocurrencies - their inherent computerized basis makes their integration easy for both consumer and vendor technology without having to consult major financial institutions that currently barricade the monetary system. Blockchain technologies have a superior model for business growth, so their adoption by both vendors and customers is only a matter of time.
For the day to day consumer, is there a benefit to using cryptocurrencies over US Dollars? Definitely. There are critical advantages for making international purchases when using cryptocurrencies due to no major roadblocks commonly found in the older methods. Users are dealing with a completely computerized process, and unlike credit card numbers, don’t run the risk of their details being stolen. And with the easy conversion to fiat currencies, cryptocurrency users don’t lose out on stores that haven’t made a move yet to accept Bitcoin or Ether yet.
Most importantly, once cryptocurrencies stabilise in the future, they won’t be subject to political shocks such as Brexit that could induce major financial crashes on the monetary system. While Bitcoin and even Ether still have some volatility in their price against US Dollar, which is natural due to their very recent adoption. Once the rate of buying and selling Bitcoin and Ether stabilises, the same risk won’t be present and will be mathematically more stable than the currencies backed by governments.
It’s only a matter of time before cryptocurrencies get their segment in economics curriculum in classrooms, and their rapid adoption by stores, digital technology vendors, and day to day users in the past five years is more than promising. Haven’t taken cryptocurrencies for a spin yet? Consider downloading an app like Dether to get started.