BitPay, the largest and oldest bitcoin payment processor with a daily volume of $1 million bitcoin transactions supporting more than 44,000 merchants, stated in an email exchange to CCN that more than 4,400 of their merchants keep all of their settlement in bitcoin, almost 18,000 keep some of their settlement in bitcoin while the remaining 22,000 convert it all to fiat.
Coinbase, the biggest competitor to BitPay, declined to provide a similar breakdown without providing any reason.
The names of the merchants that keep all of their settlement in bitcoin or accept a mixture of bitcoin and fiat are not know, with few volunteering this information. Overstock, one of the first billion dollar revenue generating company to accept bitcoin, stated back in May 2014 that they keep 10% of bitcoin purchases in bitcoin and further aims to increase their bitcoin revenue to $6 million per month. While another company, Amagi Metals, announced in August 2014 that they will accept only bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for purchases of gold and other valuable metals from 2016.
Bitcoin Fundamentals Continue to Improve
According to almost all measures, bitcoin acceptance keeps increasing at an incredible pace. There were few, if any, world renowned companies accepting bitcoin in 2013. In 2014 the list is long and includes Microsoft, Dell, PayPal, Wikipedia, Mozilla, Greenpeace, Expedia, Newegg, Overstock and tens of thousands of other merchants. A healthy $80 million was invested in bitcoin companies in 2013. It has quadrupled in 2014 to half a billion dollars improving and strengthening the bitcoin ecosystem. While Bitcoin transactions continue to reach new highs with peer to peer purchases on Localbitcoins and other platforms seeing strong demand from tumbling oil based currencies such as the Russian Ruble and Venezuelan Bolivar. Painting a picture of increasing use, acceptance and adoption of the nascent currency.
The price of a bitcoin however remains depressed. Speculations abound. From no new adopters to outright manipulation of the bitcoin price. While either might be the case, it is more likely that the process of purchasing a bitcoin is a barrier to wide adoption as it cancels many of the benefits that bitcoin offers. Bitcoin, therefore, in 2015, faces its biggest challenge yet.
The Gold Standard of Bitcoin Acceptance
Some call it a virtual cycle. I’d call it the Gold Standard of bitcoin acceptance. Imagine, for example, that someone creates a B button, which, like the Facebook button, can be incorporated in any site with a simple copy and paste. If you like an article, you click the button and instantly send whatever bitcoin amount you like. The author, instead of converting the bitcoin to fiat, uses it to purchase from one of the thousands of merchants that accept bitcoin, which, in turn, pay their expenses, such as employees and suppliers, in bitcoin.
Some of this standard is already practiced. CCN, for example, is paid by advertisers in bitcoin and, in turn, pays its authors in bitcoin. The authors are met with the same barrier as new bitcoin adopters and instead of converting it to fiat might use it to buy from one of the 5,000 merchants that keep all their bitcoins. They, in turn, might pay their employees in bitcoin, thus closing the circle. In this example, everyone has experienced the full advantage that bitcoin offers, including zero to very low fees, almost instant transfers, full privacy, full control over their money, etc.
This may not be as unlikely as you may think as thousands of merchants already keep all their bitcoin and tens of thousands keep some of it, thus laying the foundations for bitcoin to be used in its full potential.
What do you think, will the gold standard of bitcoin acceptance find wide usage in 2015?
Feel free to let us know by commenting below.
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