I'm a blockchain security specialist and writer living in NY.
Despite the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies over recent months, they are still far from compatible with our everyday lives. Many people — investors included — are seeing them as nothing more than a ‘fad’ and a quick way to potentially make some cash. But there’s no denying there’s a lot more behind the blockchain hype than this.
So far in 2018, there have already been a total of 39 ICOs. Combined, they have managed to raise over $965,000,000. Right now, there are over 1,500 altcoins available on the market. This is great news for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors. However, there are still some significant roadblocks which are preventing us from fully integrating cryptocurrencies into our everyday lives.
Of course, the central problem is that, as it stands, very few retailers and merchants actually accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
As a result of the crypto boom we have been witnessing over the past few months., this number has been steadily increasing. Several major services have even recently announced that they will now be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
However, while more and more retailers and merchants are becoming open to the idea of accepting Bitcoin , and (in very few cases) Ethereum as a payment method, the situation remains noticeably bleak for the other 1,500 altcoins in existence.
Converting altcoins into Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency isn’t an easy process, either. Right now, you need to go to an exchange and manually trade in altcoins for fiat currency, then you need to use this fiat currency to buy Bitcoin and wait for it to be confirmed which can be tedious and time-consuming, not to mention, Bitcoin transactions can take a few hours to confirm.
With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies, we have seen a rise in the number of startups searching for solutions to more easily integrate blockchain technology into our everyday lives.
One of the startups working to make our adoption of cryptocurrencies more seamless by increasing the interoperability, scalability, and usability within the blockchain ecosystems is Fusion.
The platform is working on a system that will connect a variety of tokens more efficiently, and ultimately plans to break down the barriers which are currently preventing widespread use of blockchain technology in order to make it more accessible. One of the ways it will do this is by making the transfer of cryptocurrencies simpler, and less time consuming.
For example, if two people are conducting a cryptocurrency transaction and they both have Fusion accounts, they will be able to transfer Bitcoin to one another in mere seconds, which is a process that usually takes over an hour
Furthermore, if one of the users wishes to purchase a product and pay in Ethereum, but the merchant only accepts Bitcoin, they will be able to initiate a smart contract through Fusion that will swap the Ethereum for the required amount in Bitcoin, then pay it to the merchant in exchange for the product.
Years ago, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were associated with hackers, scams, and illegal trades. But as cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies continue to become ever more integrated into our lives, the reality is that using them to buy products can soon become the norm. Today PayPal is ubiquitous as a payment portal for companies and individuals, many many PayPal alternatives are starting to emerge.
Back in the 1950s when credit cards were first introduced, using them instead of cash to pay for products seemed like an extremely far-fetched concept. Fast forward to today, and cards now account for more than half of all purchases in the UK.
The biggest roadblock preventing Bitcoin from being used for payments right now is that it is treated as a commodity instead of as a currency. However, even now, we are witnessing an increase in the number of stores accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
Accepting Bitcoin as payment has several advantages over accepting cash, such as increased privacy for customers, access to a broader market for merchants, and fewer worries about customers canceling payments after they have received the items purchased.
Cryptocurrency payments becoming mainstream is definitely still quite a long way down the road, but the question is no longer if it will happen, but rather when it will happen. Whenever it does, it will be revolutionary.
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