Bitcoin adoption – the early users and challenges

22nd Dec 2017
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From starting off at a humble exchange rate of $0.003 in March, 2010, Bitcoin has come a long way. November 28, 2017, saw the value of Bitcoin surpass the $10,000 mark. While writing this article, on December 21, one Bitcoin was quoted at $16,890.

The acceptance of Bitcoin as a form of currency by businesses has increased over the years, alongside its value. Business owners and consumers alike have been adopting Bitcoin as a convenient method of payment for their sales and purchases. Point of Sale systems such as Shopify POS and Square POS, among others, already accept Bitcoins for transactions.

Being aware of the fact that businesses now accept Bitcoins for transactions raises several other questions as well. How evenly is this acceptance of Bitcoins spread across the globe? What kind of businesses seem to be accepting Bitcoins the most? What has the adoption rate for Bitcoin across different countries been like? And these are just the questions we have answers for.

Let’s take a look at how businesses across different countries currently accept Bitcoin as a currency for transactions.

Source: coinmap and Spend Bitcoins
Source: coinmap and Spend Bitcoins

As all things tech go, the US has been the frontrunner in adopting Bitcoin for e-commerce and over-the-counter sales. Over 37 percent of all businesses that accept Bitcoins are based out of the US. Canada comes in at a not-so-close second, being home to 6 percent of all businesses that accept Bitcoins. Spanish businesses contribute to 3.9 percent of the share, and Germany and UK both take 3.6 percent of the cut.

Indian businesses currently attribute to only 0.2 percent of the share of Bitcoin-friendly businesses worldwide, which shows the Indian market is not very open to the idea of using Bitcoins for payments.

coinmap and Spend Bitcoins
Source: Coinmap and Spend Bitcoins

Breaking the businesses down based on the industry reveals further insights about the kind of verticals that are keen on accepting bitcoin for payments. The shopping/retail and food segments are ahead of other industries in accepting Bitcoins for payments, contributing to 26.7 percent and 15.6 percent of all business worldwide. Restaurants take 10.7 percent of the cut, and the hotels/travels industry takes 7.8 percent of the share.

Breaking down the shopping segment further shows electronics retail stores accept Bitcoins most actively, contributing to a good 11.7 percent. Jewelry and photography stores come in second, contributing to 3 percent of the share each.

Several Indian businesses have been keeping away from trading in Bitcoins owing to the recent Income Tax raids. The Income Tax Department of India has been surveying exchanges that accept Bitcoin for irregularities in transactions that point to tax evasion, and this has created reservations about dealing in Bitcoins in the hearts of many.

Despite the apprehensions that business owners might have about adopting Bitcoins as a method of payment, there are certain distinct advantages that come with choosing to trade in cryptocurrency.

Zero Transaction Fees

Using a service like Bitpay allows you to transact in Bitcoins for up to 30 times a month with zero transaction charges. Even after that limit is reached, Bitpay charges a nominal fee of 1 percent per transaction thereon. With debit/credit card and e-wallet transaction fees ranging from 1.5 percent to 3 percent, businesses will welcome the 0 percent transaction fee tied with Bitcoin transactions.

Free Marketing

Businesses that accept Bitcoins as a method of payment India have been getting a lot of media attention for being early-adopters. Several impressed customers have been posting pictures of businesses and business owners that accept Bitcoins on social media websites over the past few weeks, which has made businesses popular overnight.

Customer and Mobile Friendly

Much like e-wallets, all that a Bitcoin payment requires is a standard internet connection and a mobile phone. This means all a customer needs to do is carry their mobile phone to make a transaction. The hassle-free experience makes it easy for customers to pay without fat wallets, pin numbers, and “exact change” getting in the way.

International Made Easy

Bitcoins make it easy for a business to accept international payments. Several businesses put off accepting international payments due to the heavy cross-border transactions fees, but transacting Bitcoin puts an end to that owing to the significantly smaller transaction fees.

A quick look at the trends suggests that more and more businesses will continue to adopt Bitcoin to make consumer transactions easier in coming months. With Bitcoin prices soaring, consumers are heavily investing in Bitcoins as an asset, which means more people will want to deal in the cryptocurrency as well, as opposed to more traditional methods of payments.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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