In less than a decade cryptocurrency has proven to be more than just the latest, digital trend. There are an estimated 5 to 10 million unique users of this digital currency worldwide, contradicting the initial opinion of experts and economists who believed that it would never achieve a significant level of adoption in the general market. According to Dr Garrick Hileman, an economics specialists at Cambridge University the adoption of cryptocurrency is “nothing short of a minor economic miracle”, and the leader at the forefront of this is Bitcoin.
The original blockchain digital currency was developed by “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2009. Opinions are still divided as to whether Nakamoto was a pseudonym for a single or group of inventors, but that’s done nothing to slow down Bitcoin’s growth and popularity. Mainstream investors understand what is Bitcoin and the huge impact. There are numerous types of cryptocurrency in use, but as the market leader Bitcoin has come to represent this non-traditional form of currency in the minds of the world’s populace.
Despite fluctuating in value and drawing criticism and skepticism from across the board, a single Bitcoin became worth $4000 for the first time this August. A fork in the network that also happened in August led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash, a way to increase the scalability of the digital currency as it grows in use and popularity. Following Bitcoin cash the next progression within the industry is to offer full banking capability, and Bankera is a company that is set on doing just that. Developed by the team behind Spectrocoin, by 2020 Bankera will be a fully realized and licensed bank, the first of its kind to offer banking in the blockchain era.
Bitcoin is beginning to transform how we do business, albeit still in its early stages. One of the areas that its likely to have a significant impact on is the luxury market, particularly the art world. Eleesa Dadiani is the owner of a London gallery and is pioneering an art-for-Bitcoin movement. In the Dadiani Gallery, which deals primarily with more established artists like painter Keith Millow, everything is for sale with cryptocurrency. In an interview with CNN Style Dadiani discusses how the simplicity of non-fiat currencies are speeding up transactions – “Everything we have in the gallery is for sale with cryptocurrency…It’s done very simply, it requires the other party to have a digital wallet and takes a matter of moments.”
In addition to their cashless ease Bitcoin, and other leading cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Livecoin, appeal to the luxury market because when compared to more traditional payment methods like credit cards they have lower fees. A 2% or 3% transaction fee is usually absorbed by consumers as “part of the cost”, but on a high ticket item worth tens or hundreds of thousands, that fee becomes quite substantial. Cryptocurrency fees, meanwhile, are as minimal as $2 or $3 per transaction.
Its not just luxury businesses who are adopting the use of blockchain currency, PayPal, Target and Microsoft are some big name brands accepting cryptocurrency for instant transactions. Microsoft has gone a step further and is supporting Bitcoin in its software programs. Recently revealed in the Office 365 Roadmap, the 2016 edition of Excel will be able to “track, calculate and analyze Bitcoin data”. Initially available on Windows desktop, it will be rolled out to Excel Online and Mobile for Windows and Android in the coming months.
A bitcoin-only cafe in Prague was one of the earliest adopters of the digital currency, citing its ease of use and decentralization appeal as the main reason for prioritizing that above fiat currencies like France capital. Zthoven, the “crypto-anarchy” institute behind the cafe have even incorporated the latest cryptocurrency payment methods – a paper wallet printer that allows customers to make Bitcoin transactions without the need for smart technology.
Unlike even the fastest fiat-currency payment methods a bitcoin transaction is instant, customers can get their goods and merchants receive their payments at the exact same time. Bitcoins and all other cryptocurrencies are not “owned” or controlled by an additional party the way that fiat currencies in debit and credit card accounts are, so they offer an innovative and appealing way to do business. As Dadiani herself said bitcoin is “going to change everything…this is our chance to innovate, with something that doesn’t ask for permission.”