Similar to 2017 and the popular cryptocurrency bull run, last year sparked a new buzz in the world of crypto and Bitcoin (BTC) in particular. From setting new record highs to making several rounds of news and grabbing the attention of mainstream finances, the pandemic year has been an exciting one for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and believers.
One conversation that may stand out from the crowd is the increasing activity of institutional investors in crypto. Companies, financial advisors and institutions that mocked Bitcoin five years ago, or during the Silk Road saga, are now at the forefront of crypto investment. Well-known big guns in the financial world, such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, have renounced their previous positions and are now ready to gamble on the future of digital currencies. With a market cap of more than $ 600 billion, Bitcoin is rapidly rising above gold as a popular choice hedging of inflation.
Keep in mind that Bitcoin was not just another asset presented as a hedge against inflation in Satoshi’s original Bitcoins white paper. However, the whole idea of Bitcoin came from the failed financial institutions and third parties and a possible solution that would be effective in everyday life.
With every institutional investor and the large financial resources swinging towards Bitcoin investments, the popularization of Bitcoin as an asset has become inevitable. However, here are some of the ideal, real-world applications that could challenge failing fiat currencies and propel Bitcoin into the mainstream.
In the past, Bitcoin was mainly seen as a means to circumvent the government and engage in illegal activities. However, cryptocurrency adoption has skyrocketed and many more companies are now open to accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as payment for goods or services.
In 2014, with BitPay as the payment processor, Microsoft became one of the first technology companies to accept Bitcoin to buy digital goods. In October 2020, the popular American payment company PayPal came out announced it would enable cryptocurrency as a funding source for purchases in 2021. With several fiat payment merchants recognizing Bitcoin, it is more likely that Bitcoin will be used by everyone in every corner of the world soon enough.
Cross-border transactions and travel
If there is a lesson learned from last year and during the devastating global pandemic, it is the ever-increasing need for digitalization. While there are several ways to send and receive money worldwide, cryptocurrencies are quickly becoming a preferred option. Besides the fact that cryptocurrency is a global currency, factors such as speed, convenience and lower transaction costs make Bitcoin the popular option for cross-border transactions.
Many countries that have ever banned Bitcoin are now open to it, and the mainstream media has been more than receptive in recent months. Some companies already offer travel packages that allow tourists and travelers to book flights, hotels and transportation using cryptocurrency. Over time, the many drawbacks of the currency market can make traveling with crypto more popular than local or fiat currencies.
In all fairness, the goal was never to phase out local currencies, but to create a world where Bitcoin is as relevant as any fiat currency. Bitcoin ATMs are without a doubt a big part of this purpose. They essentially allow anyone to buy Bitcoin with a credit card; some Bitcoin ATMs also allow you to sell Bitcoin for cash.
The number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide is more than 13,000 in 71 countries. While there is still a long way to go with these ATMs, there is an upward trend every year with an average of one ATM added every hour now. Bitcoin ATMs are undoubtedly a big part of the crypto revolution, and they are only going to get better in use.
While cryptocurrencies are rapidly becoming part of our digitized world, the underlying blockchain technology has also played a critical role in revolutionizing many industries. Supply chains, healthcare, and the food and automotive industries have benefited enormously from this revolution over the past 10 years.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trade move carries risks, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Andrey Sergeenkov is an independent researcher, analyst and writer in the cryptocurrency niche. As a strong proponent of blockchain technology and a decentralized world, he believes the world yearns for such decentralization in government, society and business.