There are already 15 million people who have non-empty wallets in bitcoins. But these people today still have hard times paying with their bitcoins for the casual stuff – very few stores are ready to accept cryptocurrency. However, this is mostly due to legislative limitations than technical ones, because technically bitcoin is much better.
In many countries of Europe, it is already possible to pay bitcoins in cafes and shops. Visa has issued BitPay Card, and bitcoin exchange offices are open all over the world for you to buy bitcoins. There are even bitcoin-ATMs that allow buying or selling bitcoins instantly.
Why are those businesses doing that? Are they just chasing the bitcoin hype or cryptocurrency payments actually have advantages over traditional currencies?
SPOILER: cryptocurrency, in fact, has a number of advantages over the traditional currency, the main one is the transparency of all operations in the blockchain system. All the “city legends” that cryptocurrency transactions are encrypted, and bitcoin is only used by scammers – are not true. Any operation with bitcoins can be viewed absolutely by any person. But let’s consider a specific situation – payment with bitcoins in the store. What is the benefit of accepting payments for your own goods in bitcoins?
So, our top-3 reasons why stores need to accept bitcoins:
1. In our opinion, the most important advantage is analytics. Thanks to the transparency of the blockchain, the seller will be able to see all the transaction and purchases of his customer, not only at the same store, but in all other stores all over the world. Thus, it will be possible to analyze the behavior of buyers in their store and in other stores. With this information, sellers can greatly increase sales.
2. The second advantage is the convenience of paying taxes. Your country’s federal tax service likes to turn all accounts inside out? With bitcoin, they do not even need to disturb the store – why, after all, you can see everything on the blockchain! On the blockchain, all the transactions are visible up to the very first block. We believe actually that taxpaying in 10-15 years will be done using smart contracts that work automatically. And that’s when the government will have transparent spendings…
3. Also, there are pros in international purchases. The bitcoin price all over the world is the same, and you do not have to transfer money from one currency to another and pay conversion fees. And the saved dollar or euro never hurts your wallet.
Of course, bitcoin is continuously developing, so let’s look into the near future, and check out two more significant advantages of transactions in bitcoins.
Firstly, it is an opportunity to identify the buyer through his/her wallet. We suspect that in the near future, when more people will pay in bitcoins, a registry of wallets will be created, in which each wallet will be attached to a certain person, that is, there will be a “wallet-person” relationship. Whether this registry will be private or public is unknown (anyways, we suspect that the legislation of each country will allow legal entities to work only with identified purses). Again, such a registry is a big advantage for stores, so they can get more information about their customers. And judging by the latest trends, we believe that this registry will be created very soon.
Secondly, the speed of transactions. Right now the bitcoin speed leaves a lot to wish for, but when the Lightning Network (roughly speaking, Lightning is a technology that allows the payee to instantly see the funds in the account, even if on the Bitcoin network the funds will arrive an hour later) is released, people will conduct transactions and transfer funds in milliseconds. The bitcoin network bandwidth will reach tens of millions of operations per hour. And with bitcoin, transactions work equally fast no matter from which to which country they go because of no need for currency conversion.
These are the reasons we believe that businesses are adopting bitcoin not in the chase after the hype of cryptocurrency. It’s just that transactions in bitcoins are actually more convenient than transactions in traditional currency.
Therefore, one can be absolutely sure that in a short time there will be significantly more shops, cafes, libraries, cinemas, spas, hotels, restaurants and anything else that accepts payment in bitcoins.