Could Bitcoin replace cash and card transactions?
It can be a bit too early to make certain predictions about the future of Bitcoin, but it seems safe to assume that the role of Bitcoin as a currency should not be underestimated. More than 100,000 Bitcoin transactions are taking place every day and this amount is set to keep growing in the near future. Originally, the main use of digital currency was as a stock of value. Due to its untraceable nature, it also became well known in the online black market, most notably Silk Road, an underground market for illicit goods, so users could buy the products anonymously.
However, thanks to the media’s fascination with Bitcoin, particularly from 2015 onwards, the black market is far from the only place where cryptocurrency is traded. The advantages of adopting digital currencies, both for retailers and consumers, are numerous.
The affordability of Bitcoin transactions can indicate a tendency for it to become gradually more popular. Users are charged an approximate 2% per transaction – a good deal when compared to the 10-20% fees charged by banks. Bitcoin transactions are not only cheaper but faster. This speed is possible due to the fact that the process of transferring cryptocurrencies is peer-to-peer, meaning that there is no bank or other financial institution working as a middleman.
Transparency and security are two additional important features of block chains. All final transactions are available for everyone to see and check – yet, personal information is not disclosed. In fact, personal data is not tied to the process at all, posing fewer risks to users. Furthermore, merchants are not able to charge fees without them being noticed, making customers feel more secure knowing they are not subject to hidden fees or overcharges.
Many companies across the world are already considering accepting bitcoin as a payment type across different sectors: from tech giants Dell and Microsoft, American retailer Overstock, France’s Monoprix, to Latvian airline AirBaltic.
The pathway Bitcoin is paving for itself is a promising one. Cryptocurrencies presented the market with alternative methods, questioning – and perhaps threatening – the influence of banks and credit cards over the way financial transactions can be performed.