Cryptocurrencies can be fairly considered as the greatest innovation of modern times following the Internet. Powered by underlying blockchain technology, they provide a quick, fast, secure and, most importantly, much more inexpensive way to process transactions. So what prevents cryptocurrencies from becoming a common form of everyday payment? And what is needed to make them used globally?
In fact, as of today there are over 22 million Bitcoin wallets and about 2.9–5.8 million people are actively using them. Still, most transactions are limited to the crypto space, like investing or trading, and don’t involve real-life payments for purchasing goods or services.
The main problem of cryptocurrencies nowadays is their non-adoption in ‘offline’ lives, which, obviously, prevents the whole industry from further development and doesn’t let people fully enjoy the benefits of the new technology. The reasons for such a phenomenon lie mostly in the essence of the digital currencies: they are anonymous, volatile and underexplored. So, they hold potential risks of being used by criminals, or losing their value.
However, as the cryptocurrency industry matures and its importance skyrockets, this situation is starting to change. Each day, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are getting more and more attention not only from innovators, high-tech enthusiasts and startups, but also from already recognized giants and big players in the market. Some of the largest corporations in the world, including Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and Bank of America expressed their huge interest in decentralized technologies, while Expedia, Microsoft, eGifter and Shopify went even further and started to accept cryptocurrency as payment.
What’s more, the recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that about 84% of businesses are “actively involved” with blockchain technology.
The diversity of companies that deal with blockchain and cryptocurrencies is a great testament to the fact that these innovations are not going anywhere and they have already begun to enter our economies, and thus, our lives.
Blockchain and its ability to track, verify and securely store information is being largely adopted by retail, telecommunications, healthcare, logistics, insurance and much more. And while these industries could seem to be far from millions of people and their daily routines at the first sight, one sphere of blockchain application may significantly impact the lifestyle. This is payments.
With the invention of the Internet, electronic transactions became a better alternative to inconvenient cash payments, and the use of cryptocurrency can bring this experience to the next level. Transferring digital currencies from one wallet to another can be fast, by several times cheaper than bank transactions and much more secure thanks to their decentralized nature. Still, despite all the benefits, crypto payments haven’t yet become a viable option for everyday purchases like usual fiat payments are. And one of the reasons for it is the difficulty in processing the transactions.
Though Bitcoin was created almost a decade ago, followed by hundreds of cryptocurrencies, the world and all these millions of crypto holders lack the infrastructure that would enable real-life payments in digital currencies: not just online, but offline as well. This solution should be as simple as paying cash or using a bank card, possess the speed and security of cryptocurrency and be compatible with the modern financial system. In other words, to make cryptocurrency widely used, the payment platform should combine features of both fiat and virtual money.
Solution do exist?
And it seems that such a solution will be available much earlier people could ever expect in their dreams. Recently, the Asian blockchain-based venture called WCDC came into the market. It is developing a platform that will finally unite world of crypto and the real world where we live in and spend — connecting traditional money with cryptocurrency. They say they will allow transactions in it using a physical card very much like traditional bank cards. This BR card could be used anytime and anywhere to help its owners pay for their everyday needs.
Moreover, the company plans to support all of the services that one would expect from online banking — opening of online accounts, managing digital assets in fiat and cryptocurrencies, facilitating merchants to accept payments in crypto, and even earning points for using the platform and redeeming them for cash, and other privileges.
Synergy between cryptocurrency and fiat can be a great idea and may promise quite an interesting future — where everyone will be able to spend their funds as they want, enjoy new opportunities cryptocurrency provides and be at the forefront of making seamless spending of digital assets in daily lives.