Bitcoin’s continued rise up the financial ranks continued at the start of 2017 with the cryptocurrency’s price breaking the $1,000 mark. 2016 saw Bitcoin enjoy a revival following two years of turbulence. Increased access in Caribbean markets and more businesses adopting the virtual currency as a payment option drove up the price at the close of the year and that trend continued into 2017.
With the Securities and Exchange Commission looking at the possibility of approving a Bitcoin exchange, financial experts have been predicting a rush of interest in the coming months. This pending financial approval saw the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) record “notable gains” on February 3 as the price topped $1,024.14 (£822.99).
More Options Means More Potential for Bitcoin
Compare that price to the $225 value (£180) recorded in February 2015 and it’s clear the payment option is getting increasingly popular. In fact, if we move away from the market value of Bitcoin, there’s tacit evidence that the currency is on the up. Back in 2015 when the International Business Times reported that Bitcoin was worth $225 (£180), it also stated that there were 100,000 merchants accepting it as a payment method.
Mainstream companies like Microsoft, PayPal, Wikipedia and Twitch were all listed as brands with an interest in the cryptocurrency. Fast forward to 2017 and the number Bitcoin-friendly companies is growing. In fact, it’s growing in a way which would suggest people are now willing to completely forgo traditional currency and use Bitcoin both as a payment method and a utility.
For example, VegasCasino.io is an online betting platform where Bitcoin is the only currency in town. A fairly new player in the iGaming industry, VegasCasino has sought to distinguish itself by handling all its process with the cryptocurrency. From deposits to bonuses, betting currency and withdrawals, everything is backed by Bitcoin.
Not Just a Trendy Way to Pay
Far from being an innovation that’s nothing more than a USP, players are actually responding positively to the idea because of Bitcoin’s inherent advantages as an online payment method. For online casino players, the idea of security and anonymity are crucial. Because regular players can have large sums of money in their casino accounts, they want to know the system they’ve invested in is safe.
Although the iGaming industry is awash with security protocols, Bitcoin offers something extra on top thanks to its anonymous transfer dynamic. Instead of entering personal details to complete a transaction, users simply need to know the Bitcoin address of their recipient and vice versa. By making transactions anonymous, Bitcoin gives casino players another layer of protection (a criminal won’t know which transactions are linked to casino accounts that may have large sums of money in them).
Naturally, this benefit is one that carries over into other industries. In fact, in any instance where you’re paying for something online, the removal of any personal information will always be seen as a positive. To this end, it should come as little surprise that Shopify.com, Foodler (North American food delivery company) and even T-Mobile Poland now accept Bitcoin payments.
We’re on the Cusp of a Payment Revolution
So, while the financial market’s interest in Bitcoin might be driving up the currency price per unit, the reality is that this interest is being fuelled by consumers. As we head further into 2017, it seems consumers are more ready to embrace this new currency. This, in turn, is making it a valuable commodity and, more importantly, something that’s more likely to become a mainstream currency in the coming years. Although the value will eventually plateau, it’s clear that Bitcoin’s recent price rise is a sign that a new way of thinking and paying is finally here.