As for as its use in the world of commerce there are quite a few benefits to consumers and merchants alike. It’s decentralization makes it easier to complete cross border transactions, transactions that are also much more secure than our current payments, payments happen quickly and with minimal transaction fees, it is becoming much more relevant in today’s digital era and for the most part it is pretty easy to store and manage.
But even with all the pluses involved, are we really ready to start using cryptocurrency in our everyday economy?
In recent years there has been a switch in public opinion where the thought of buying and investing in cryptocurrency has become much more acceptable. There have been a few main factors that have contributed to this switch. Influential countries adopting Bitcoin’s technology in their desire to turn to a total digital currency in place of cash. Countries like Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, who actually have a “Bitcoin City” where you can purchase almost everything you need to live with Bitcoin.
Japan has enjoyed widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a payment method since April 2017, now over 260,000 food and retail establishments accept the cryptocurrency. This will be very influential as other governments, including the United States, will likely be looking to Japan for insights into how to approach cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
Cryptocurrencies already have a significant place in B2B payments across country borders. It is particularly desirable due to the fact that there isn’t currently a convenient way for businesses to pay companies in other countries. Because bitcoin is a global currency that is decentralized it is not subject to foreign transaction fees and regulations. This is a significant bonus for companies that import or export their goods and supplies abroad.
Investors are also becoming more willing to take their chances with riskier investments with the upswing of the stock market and the fall of unemployment in the last year.
There has even been recent dabble into using the cryptocurrency as a method for payment by the payments industry as well. Recently Square decided to test the use of the currency with their Cash app. The Beta test users will be able to buy and sell Bitcoin directly through the app.
These types of alternative and digital currencies are also easily adopted by tech-savvy millennials who are already comfortable with the internet and the digital world, and also happen to be the largest users of technology in our society. Many are even founding their own cryptocurrencies. Millennials tend to be less cautious about new technology than their elders, generally because they grew up with it so it doesn’t seem like a huge new movement to them the same way it does for the older generations. Much of its allure is the fact that banking or government authorities do not regulate it and Millennials are big advocates of that.
There has been a big uptick in consumer adoption of cryptocurrency.
There has been a big uptick in consumer adoption in general, consumers of all ages are doing more and more transactions digitally then they ever have before, buying with mobile wallets and sending, and receiving, money person to person with their phones. Making the leap into paying or sending money digitally is becoming more commonplace even for older generations. This coupled with the perception of security that block chain technology offers has greatly helped the technology’s reputation.
The most recent development being Bitcoin’s introduction into futures trading, causing the currency’s value to jump over 40% in 40 hours.
It is evident that we won’t have to wait very long to see cryptocurrency as a globally accepted means of investment and commerce but there are still challenges for use in our everyday economy.
Is buying and using Bitcoin for commodities something consumers want to deal with in their everyday lives? There are a few things that make it difficult. When buying Bitcoin for instance you have to plan ahead. It takes ten days from the time you purchase your bitcoin to be able to do anything with it. So if you were planning on using Bitcoin to purchase things you would need to put your money into it and wait for it to be available for exchange before you could purchase the items you need. Consumers need to sign up for a specific “wallet” where their Bitcoin is purchased through and stored, but they are becoming more user friendly than they used to be.
For merchants the allure would surely be saving money on fees compared to accepting credit cards. Where the fees involved with credit transactions tend to run around 2-4%, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies typically cost around 1% for every transaction. Small businesses can send or accept bitcoins as payments with no fees attached. But just because you are accepting Bitcoin doesn’t mean you have cash flow to run your business. If, as a business you were to see a large influx in cryptocurrency payments and your business depends on cash flow to pay your employees, refill your stock and pay bills you’re going to see a big hit to your cashflow making it hard to operate your business. While a payment with Bitcoin can transfer very quickly, changing it back into the US dollar does not. So, while you may have to wait 24 to 48 hours to be funded by the bank for your credit card transactions, you would have to wait 2-4 days for your Bitcoin transactions to be exchanged back into US currency so that you can pay your payroll. It really only works when you can keep the Bitcoin and use it to conduct your everyday business. Buy more product, pay your suppliers and pay your employees, therefore not worrying about changing it back into a spendable dollar.
These types of challenges are just one of the main reasons Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not quit the new preferred form of trade keeping it as more of an investment opportunity. Recent studies have shown that consumers are purchasing and holding on to their Bitcoin, with how much the commodity is skyrocketing in value they really have no interest in using it to purchase their wares, opting instead to hang on to it and make money.
Bitcoin, as well as all of the other cryptocurrencies available, is still pretty volatile, making it difficult to determine prices, figure out financial statements and pay taxes. It will definitely have to become much more user friendly to become a mainstream way to conduct everyday commerce, but things are changing fast and the investment benefit in and of itself may be enough to entice merchants to dabble.
If you would like to get more information about adding accepting Bitcoin to your e-commerce website give Bankcard Brokers a call today! Our ETA-CPP Certified payments processors are well educated in the advantages of accepting multiple currencies for your business.