The concept and execution of digital money as a viable payment alternative got birthed in 2009 when Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency, appeared on the internet. Since then, slowly, mediums of exchange not reliant on any central authority through computer networks have seeped into the mainstream consciousness, becoming more widely accepted with each passing year.
Today over eighteen thousand cryptos exist, but only around twenty really matter. Naturally, at the forefront is Bitcoin, boasting a market share of 44.64%, followed by Ethereum (19.37%), which is continuously expanding its reach and functionality.
According to late-2020 estimates, at that time, around fifteen thousand businesses accepted Bitcoin as a transaction method, and twenty-three hundred of these were in the US. Now, projections are that there are more than three hundred million crypto users on the planet and that close to twenty thousand businesses accept digital funds for their goods and services.
In the subheading below, an analysis follows regarding what people can do with coins stored in a crypto wallet. What are the spending possibilities concerning digital money when one is walking about in the real world?
Accomodation & Food
In July 2020, news broke that over seventy hundred thousand of Expedia’s lodging venues are available to get booked through Travala, a crypto-friendly travel platform. Users can pay for their stays via thirty cryptos on this site, including Bitcoin.
A year later, The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts became the initial worldwide boutique hotel chain to adopt cryptos, hoping to revolutionize the tourism sphere by introducing a new online payment method for those seeking to vacation at any of Pavilions’ properties. The hotel group facilitated this option by striking a partnership with the crypto-payment gateway, Coindirect.
Prior to Pavilions Hotel & Resorts making this move, the Orlando-based The Kessler Collection teamed up with BitPay to become the debuting US luxury hotel chain to allow digital coins as a viable payment form for its customers. Restaurant franchises like Subway, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Burger King also employ a blockchain payment framework with which they hope to boost customer satisfaction and their brands’ competitiveness.
As crypto-assets keep getting integrated into financial conversations, it is only a matter of time before they join hands with sophisticated financial instruments. Mortgages, for example. That is right, companies like Milo Credit are reimagining how mortgages work, allowing customers to leverage their cryptos into real estate, with rates as low as 5.95% and loan periods of up to thirty years. Moreover, those who do not wish to get a crypto mortgage can buy a house with their accumulated coins on Propy. That is a Silicon Valley-based entity that looks to modernize the real estate sector through blockchain technology. It makes it simple for interested parties to find a tech-driven agent, make offers on their platform, and close deals on Propy’s integrated tech-driven escrow on the blockchain, secure and fast. Buying and selling virtual real estate in metaverses such as Decentraland and the Sandbox is also a hot trend right now.
Crypto Casino Gaming
On the topic broached above, metaverses, or virtual shared spaces boasting self-sustaining Ethereum token-powered economies, allow users to run multiple types of businesses on these platforms that accept their native money form (fungible tokens). Hence, currently, crypto casinos rank among the most profitable metaverse entrepreneurial ventures. According to cryptocasinos.net, multiple crypto gambling venues exist in Decentraland, including one operated by video game pioneer Atari.
Metaverse crypto casino gambling aside, Bitcoin gambling sites have grown from niche platforms to super-popular ones in the past decade. The first Bitcoin casino appeared on the Web in 2011, featuring only one provably fair dice game. In the mid-2010s, BTC casinos began to get licensed by Curacao’s regulators, and nowadays, thousands of these platforms are floating around the digital sphere. Their main allure is that they do not force gamblers to go through stringent identity checks (or none), and they facilitate more gameplay freedom plus better bonuses than fiat sites. The music artist Drake loves them, as reportedly, he has gambled over a billion dollars in cryptos online.
Items at Retail Websites
Multiple global brands dove into the crypto sphere years ago. Microsoft started accepting Bitcoin on their Xbox Store in 2014, and Home Depot took the plunge in 2019 when it introduced the Bitcoin option through its Flexa checkout system. NewEgg, Shopify, and Etsy are exclusively online stores that are also not shy about adopting blockchain technology. So, anyone can buy virtually anything from crafts to electronics on the World Wide Web with funds available in their crypto wallet. Thanks to Google, locating a store that sells their desired items and accepts cryptos should not be a problem for anyone.
Crypto-Linked Debit/Credit Cards
In late-January 2022, Visa announced that its crypto-linked card usage would hit $2.5 billion in Q1 of 2020. That represents 70% of the brand’s entire crypto trade volume in 2021, which signals that consumers are adopting cryptocurrencies at a rapid pace. Thus, Visa will continue to lean into the crypto space, growing its network crypto wallet pool to sixty-five. The list of exchanges that Visa is working with gets comprised of platforms like Circle, BlockFi, and Coinbase.
Per online reviews, Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa is a popular choice for many crypto-linked card users, with the SoFi Credit Card and the Gemini one not trailing far behind. MasterCard recently launched what it refers to as the first crypto-backed card, in conjunction with crypto lender Nexo, available in select European countries.
The growing use of crypto-linked cards is primarily because they make crypto transfers a part of everyday life.
Vehicles, Teslas Not Included
Many car companies have recognized crypto adoption as an opportunity to reach new demographics. So, top-end vehicle manufacturers and dealerships now permit cryptocurrency enthusiasts to buy their products by way of digital money. Among these are BMW, Audi, Mercedes, S.A.S.S. Auto Group, the Carriage Auto Group, Classic Recreations, and many more. Tesla was in this fold. Elon Musk’s company bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in early 2021 and proclaimed that it would accept the world’s first crypto for payment later that year. However, Tesla has pulled back on this option, citing Bitcoin energy concerns. Instead, it now only accepts Dogecoin.
While Bill Gates, Warrant Buffett, and others have remained highly skeptical about the future of cryptocurrencies, the statistics tell a different story. Going by market demand and global trends, it appears that cryptos are here to stay. Accordingly, people should expect a digital coin explosion in the coming years as more industries see the benefits offered by these transaction options, both for their entities and their clients.
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