Cryptocurrencies have become a trillion-dollar market. Bitcoin contributes to roughly half of its two-trillion total. It is the flagship cryptocurrency. There are, though, plenty of competitors: Ethereum’s Ether being a notable example as Ethereum is a platform which supports many blockchain applications like smart contracts and non-fungible tokens, but there’s also the likes of Dogecoin, Ripple XRP, and Litecoin. This comparison and their performance indicates their use, though. Cryptocurrencies are predominantly an asset.
So far, they are something to invest in and to see a return on, as opposed to being used as a currency, with which to buy goods and services. They are stocks. Bitcoin is being treated as an asset, described as the quickest to reach to hit the one-trillion-dollar market cap – only taking twelve years. It’s contentious, as bitcoin isn’t offering any value in and of itself, whereas Apple and other businesses who trade their stocks publicly have definable services and products – things which contribute to their market position. Cryptocurrencies in general hold no intrinsic value. Their price and utility is dependent on investor interest. It’s a bubble, so to speak, but one which continues to grow and grow, reaching new heights and breaking ceilings.
Use As “Tender”
It’s use as “tender” has been spotty thus far. There is no industry which has totally taken it on. There are a few examples of industries which have begun to embrace it. Online casino sites are routinely willing to embrace new technology which improves their customers’ experiences, and this trend has extended to cryptocurrencies. Many leading providers like GGPoker are accepting bitcoin and some other more mainstream coins as payment methods. Customers at online casino sites have found the perks offered by cryptocurrencies, as well as other fintech products like e-wallets, highly useful as transactions happen faster and they needn’t register their bank details. There is also the option for much smaller wagers than legal tender allows, meaning they are more versatile too – hugely important for punters and gamers.
Outside of online casino sites, though, there is far less of a clear implementation within industries. Certain NBA franchises are accepting it as a payment method for tickets and store purchases. The Sacramento Kings are going so far as to pay players their salaries in bitcoin, should they want it like that. Sports – particularly the NBA – is an industry which is making strides towards tokenizing various areas and embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain. However, on strips and industrial parks, retail shops don’t look like they’re ready to begin the transition.
One of the more notable developments in the retail sector over the last few years has been cashless payments. This, largely, has been a result of the increasing tendency towards using and demand for digital and mobile solutions. E-wallets and the likes of Apple pay are examples of this. Many predict that this model will continue to the point where cash payments practically disappear, become redundant, in Canada by 2024, even as cash circulation has increased in recent years despite the growing frequency of digital payments. Cryptocurrencies will be a part of this trend.
So far, in-store use of bitcoin has largely been kept to exclusive, limited-time situations. Select Subway and Burger King stores allowed it. These decisions were largely motivated by marketing goals. However, there are technological and security issues for cryptocurrencies and in-store retail, namely that keys and wallets are safest used on remote servers, as opposed to public Wi-Fi or phone carrier servers. It is not just a case for companies to open themselves up to it, but for cryptocurrencies to show its robustness in this kind of environment.