This article is part IV in a blog series dispelling the myths around Bitcoin. View the complete series here
When we hit the streets to talk to people about Bitcoin (check out our Crypto Street Pulse videos here) a comment we often get is “there’s no point to Bitcoin because you can’t buy anything with it.” While it’s unlikely that you can buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin right this moment, but there are a lot of places that do accept Bitcoin with a growing number in the works. Additionally, Bitcoin’s strength as a store of value will eventually lead to widespread adoption as payment.
Bitcoin Accepted Here
Gaming — Because Bitcoin is anonymous by nature, one of the first use cases for it was as a means of payment for illicit purchases on the darkweb. Although those purchases account for very little of Bitcoin’s current transactions, the online gaming industry still utilizes Bitcoin for its anonymous nature. There are dozens of gambling websites that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment because Bitcoin requires no banks and many online gamers have been introduced to cryptocurrency this way.
Major Retailers — A recent article outlined 13 major retailers that accept Bitcoin including Overstock.com, Expedia, Microsoft, and Dish Network. You could use Bitcoin right now to purchase a wide variety of goods and services including hotels, internet service, electronics, or any of the over 1 million products available on Overstock.com alone (comprehensive list available here). Heck, there’s even a Twitter account documenting the continued rise in retail adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Peer-to-peer — Let’s not overlook the peer-to-peer application of Bitcoin as well. A quick browse on craigslist will prove that there are thousands of people selling items who are willing to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
Large Partnership to Accelerate Crypto Use
In some of the biggest news to hit the crypto-space to date, Starbucks recently announced a Bitcoin venture in partnership with Microsoft and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, to “unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.” With their goal being to “help both consumers and institutions buy, sell, store and spend digital assets.” If that’s not mainstream adoption we don’t know what is.
Store of Value Will Increase Demand
A recent article authored by Jimmy Song illustrates the simple divide that must be crossed before Bitcoin is preferred by merchants as payment for goods — if merchants are to accept Bitcoin they have to want to hold Bitcoin as a store of value and they have to convince customers to part with it for their goods and services.
There are other technologies that are currently more robust as methods of payment, but aside from precious metals, there are no currencies that offer the store of value that Bitcoin does. Many people who have already adopted Bitcoin are holding onto it like a savings account instead of spending it, believing that its future value is greater than its current market price. This holding, or “hodling” as its referred to in the crypto space, reduces the supply on the market, driving the price up.
“If merchants are to accept Bitcoin they have to want to hold Bitcoin as a store of value and they have to convince customers to part with it for their goods and services.”
As mass adoption occurs, more people will recognize Bitcoin as a store of value and merchants will eventually desire it as a form of payment. When the value finally reaches a point where merchants can offer enough in return to the holders of Bitcoin it will become an in-demand payment method.
Currently online purchases are predominantly the means by which Bitcoin is accepted as payment, which makes sense for a digital asset. With industry giants such as Starbucks and Microsoft acting as proponents for Bitcoin, and the ever-increasing value of the currency, it’s only a matter of time before it is accepted as payment in a far greater capacity including point of sale transactions. So that cup of coffee for your Bitcoin may not be too far out after all.
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In case you missed it, the full series of Bitcoin downsides turned upside down is available here
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