The Expanding World of Crypto Payments: How Bitcoin and Altcoins Are Making a Difference Around the World
Although many thought of cryptocurrencies as a craze, the truth is far from that. The visibility of bitcoin and altcoins has indeed shrunk over the past year, but that’s meaningless when we consider they became visible thanks to a bubble, to begin with.
In truth, the crypto market kept growing during 2018, even if the decreasing value of Bitcoin seemed to say otherwise. And today, with barely two months of 2019 gone by, adoption has kept rising.
Why adoption is Important
The aim of cryptocurrencies is to replace fiat currency. They try to offer a new trading standard away from governments and central banks that instead rely on a crowd of users to keep tabs on transactions and, more importantly, to offer transparency.
However, attaining widespread adoption is anything but easy. Selling a new currency can be seen by most people as selling snake oil – lots of promises with little actual effects. Most people are just happy trading in USD, EUR, JPY, GBP or any other established coin, so earning the trust of anyone enough to get them to use a cryptocurrency can be very difficult.
And the thing is, adoption drives adoption. Many people out there refuse to start using cryptocurrencies simply because nobody else uses them. For projects whose success depends on having many people use them, the main problem is precisely this one – specifically, mainstream adoption often requires mainstream adoption.
It can take time to convert your fiat currencies into crypto. Just as well, converting crypto into fiat can take days. In a market as volatile as the current crypto market, that’s problematic.
However, crypto-to-crypto transactions are different – those can happen in seconds. So it’s not really impressive that a new type of cryptocurrency, called stablecoin, has been created.
To make it simple: stablecoins have their value tied to a fiat currency. So when you buy Tether, for example, you know it will always be valued at $1. This allows you to have a certain amount of money invested as crypto without risking losing it to volatility. Moreover, it allows you to have money saved as crypto and know you can use it anywhere crypto is accepted, as you’d be only an exchange away. This solves the problem of uncertainty, thus helping new adopters join the market.
But is the market growing?
That’s a question you could divide in several parts. Yes, the crypto market is growing, as long as you know how to look at it – that meaning, if you ignore Bitcoin.
Then again, it makes sense. The Bitcoin rush in late 2017 made many millions of people who hadn’t heard of a cryptocurrency open wallet and sometimes even invest in it trying to follow the gold rush. Once the rush ended, however, many of those people left. Yet, while Bitcoin specifically lost market last year, other cryptocurrencies gained ground. And while the market plummeted, adoption rates went up.
How adoption has risen
Now, many might think this to be a lie because they don’t know anyone who owns crypto – even when about five percent of Americans own Bitcoin. The thing is, adoption starts from above – and in this case, it means companies. Mid-to-large companies.
Recently, several developments have happened in that area. For example, TRON partnered with the ALS association to help them track donations. Moreover, investment companies have started keeping some of their holdings in crypto – a signal of growing confidence in the market. On the media front, Ontology partnered with three media enterprises to help blockchain adoptions.
Even in smaller levels, the vibe has been encouraging. Recently, Ripple reported they had performed their largest commercial payment yet – a $4,574 payment from the UK to Mexico that took but a handful of seconds. Via traditional methods, said payment would have taken over a day – or more if there were any bank holidays on the way.
While these statements might seem small, and indeed $4,574 is but peanuts to the amount of money huge companies regularly move, symbolically it is huge.
As more companies learn about the ease of use and speed of crypto payments, more companies will look into adopting them. As more companies adopt crypto, more companies will start accepting crypto payments. And once big companies start accepting crypto as a standard, the general public will follow suit.
Crypto adoption, as it happens, will come from the top.