Retail Crypto Adoption Advances Amid Pandemic as Acceptance and Fungibility Broaden Value – Op-Ed Bitcoin News
While the rise of cryptocurrencies over the past year has been met with enthusiasm by proponents and with distaste by detractors, looking at prices only obscures the real value inherent in the ecosystem.
Does the real value of cryptocurrencies lie in their use and not in speculation?
With the pandemic straining the global economic outlook and undermining trust in old structures, crypto is filling a void among investors, consumers and traders. While it’s easy to see the significant rise in crypto valuations as a warning sign, the real value of cryptocurrencies lies in their use, not their speculation.
Adoption of cryptocurrencies is growing rapidly across all industries and use cases. While the most sensational moves are taking place on the financial scene, as more and more funds and financial institutions jump into the burgeoning asset class, the biggest hurdle for cryptocurrencies has always been purchasing power. However, the increase in financial allocations has obscured the true nature of the momentum in the more retail-oriented blockchain ecosystem.
For example, since Paypal added support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin in October, 26 million merchants can now accept cryptocurrencies in Paypal’s universe of 300 million users. That 26 million reflects a huge change, especially now that there is a mechanism to help traders avoid the volatility inherent in cryptocurrencies. To emphasize this point: Paypal is far from the only player participating in this growing space.
Binance Pay, the latest addition to the service offerings of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is designed to make the most of Binance’s huge retail cryptocurrency footprint. Just under a week after launching, Binance Pay has secured its first major business partner for its digital payments service, after Travala announced its integration with the leading cryptocurrency exchange.
Travala, which offers 3,000,000 booking options between hotels, flights, events, travel, etc., will include Binance Pay as a preferred payment option for its services. This allows users with a Binance Pay account to seamlessly fund their upcoming trips with multiple cryptocurrencies and a single currency.
Other members of the travel industry are also participating in the adoption process, as evidenced by Booking.com’s recent decision to integrate with Crypto.com’s Visa card program. The January announcement opens the booking service to more than 5 million Crypto.com cardholders. App users have access to special promotions and discounts as the travel industry prepares for a predictable travel recovery due to pent-up holiday demand.
Yet the ability to spend money is only one reason for the change in sentiment towards cryptocurrencies. Another powerful catalyst is growing distrust. Whether it’s distrust of governments, financial systems or other traditional institutions, this growing attitude bodes well for blockchain. Given its borderless approach and the benefits of decentralization, many people see cryptocurrencies as a gateway to a flatter, more equal and transparent playing field that doesn’t skew rewards in favor of centralized institutions.
In response to a question from Bitcoin.com, crypto advocate and evangelist Leah Thompson, who runs the Girl Gone Crypto Twitter account, emphasizes this point.
With more and more people looking to move away from the current financial systems, giving them the ability to use and spend their cryptos on everyday things like travel is an important step. However, I think there is one detail that many consumers overlook, and that is the tax transactions they can cause during the process. I think companies that accept cryptocurrencies should be very transparent about the tax implications of the transaction.
With the increasing interchangeability and support of sellers in the blockchain and more traditional brick-and-mortar retail ecosystem, the use of cryptocurrencies will continue to grow. While taxation remains a sensitive issue, the proliferation of custodial solutions and the integration of large market participants into the existing financial system means that resolution of these issues will be time sensitive, i.e. it is not a question of if, but when.
Between the pandemic, the increasing digitization of services, and a general distrust of status quo systems that largely govern daily life, the perfect storm for cryptographic decisions has finally emerged. In this uncertain climate, the case for cryptocurrencies has never been stronger. The rapid adoption, especially in retail, reflects exactly this idea.
As a consumer, how practical is it for you to switch to cryptocurrencies as your primary currency for retail purchases? Let us know your comments in the section below.