Mercuryo’s co-founder and CBDO
Cryptocurrencies have been around for over 12 years at this point. For most of this time, they were unknown to the world at large – only used by computer geeks, hackers, and criminals.
But lately this all changed – now millions of people are entering the crypto market. Even institutional investors are pouring into cryptocurrencies through intermediaries such as Grayscale or Microstrategy.
This sector is booming, developing faster and stronger than ever before. That said, if crypto is growing so popular, why is using it as a payment solution not common yet?
In some countries, cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender – people can't use them for purchases and payments. They may be legal in status, but, de facto, they can only be traded for profit.
But that is not the case everywhere around the globe. Crypto adoption has been going on for several years now. At first, a few shy merchants in different countries opted to give it a chance. Online services like VPNs, gaming websites, and alike, started accepting crypto around this time.
Then, in 2019, several large online retailers started to recognize the benefits of being early adopters, so they began accepting crypto, as well. Companies like Microsoft, Overstock, eGifter, Subway, T-Mobile, Airbaltic, Etsy, Shopify, and others opted to do it.
The trend continued, and now there are entire lists of businesses that accept digital currency payments – most commonly, in Bitcoin. This list, for example, cites over 250 companies accepting BTC. 2019 data also shows that many merchants in European countries, such as Italy, are adopting digital coins, with the retail sector still being the most progressive one.
A 2020 survey shows that 36% of small-medium businesses in the US support digital coins. In 2021, it is estimated that around 2,300 US businesses work with crypto, while 15,174 businesses worldwide accept Bitcoin.
But, given the scale of crypto adoption, these numbers should be higher. So why aren't they? What needs to change for more players to join the crypto market?
Accepting digital currencies on its own seems to have been too complicated for regular businesses. This has led to the creation of a new type of service – cryptoacquiring. Platforms that offer cryptoacquiring services allow merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments, providing a solution for people who wish to purchase goods and services with their coins.
These services can significantly help online stores, as their owners will no longer have to worry about how much a specific coin costs. Or how much their business will receive. And when, how, and where to convert or store the coins, and so on.
With cryptoacquiring, all of these issues can be dealt with, and merchants can operate their businesses precisely the same way they used to. The difference is that their customers can now pay in crypto, which tends to make merchants more popular and sought out by the growing crypto community. The entire procedure would be completed within the same time frame that you’d need to process a traditional fiat payment.
This technology will make crypto payments more popular among crypto users and allow them to use their coins.
There are many crypto payment service providers out there — some of them have been around since 2013. However, this industry is still relatively new, and these services are still obligated to use various walkarounds, which force the customers to go through extra steps.
For the time being, direct crypto payments are not a popular solution, but the world is definitely moving towards it. Crypto payments still involve bank transactions, and banks have to remain the medium for such payments at the moment.
But, the development progresses rapidly, and the situation continues to improve. A day will come when crypto payments and cryptoacquiring will become as popular as any existing digital payment solution.
Petr Kozyakov is a co-founder and the CBDO of Mercuryo.
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