As Bitcoin continues its surge through 2014, it doesn’t take new adopters of this little crypto to realize what all the fuss is about. And if you still haven’t heard of Bitcoin yet, then we’ll just let a few Fortune 500 companies do some of the talking. Apple, Dish Network, and Amazon are among the three companies that have recently sent a spark throughout the Bitcoin community in what has already been an explosive year for this coin.
At first, Apple and Amazon had turned a blind eye towards Bitcoin. Apple even went as far as to remove all Bitcoin wallet apps from their apps store sending fans of Bitcoin into a rage by smashing their iPhones and switching over to Androids. Amazon simply said that they had no future plans to adopt Bitcoin into their payment network, but in saying this, they had inadvertently put Bitcoin into the spotlight, which only seemed to increase its popularity.
Now, both of these companies have seemed to come around and change their original stance towards Bitcoin. Last week, Apple had their policies changed, which will now allow iOS apps to handle Bitcoins. And Amazon is now managing a new patent, which specifically deals with a payment service, centered on Bitcoin.
eBay and Paypal have also been rumored to be sniffing around the Bitcoin hype as well.
So what is it about this coin that has merchants, big and small, so excited for? Well, for one, Bitcoin transactions are secure, irreversible, and do not contain customers’ personal information. This prevents losses from fraud or chargebacks due to identity theft. This will make denied or red-flagged credit cards a thing of the past. A past in which merchants will soon happily forget. On average, merchants can lose up to 30% in revenue a year through electronic payments due to fraudulent or flagged credit cards.
Bitcoins can also be sent almost instantaneously to anywhere in the world, with little to no fees as well. This allows merchants to expand into larger markets with fewer administrative costs. And with Bitcoins protocol being cryptographically secure, this makes it impossible for any individual to manipulate or control it. As a merchant, adopting Bitcoin is a no brainer.
But, Bitcoin wouldn’t have the lure it does if it was only tailored for merchants. Fortunately, the every day, average Joe can hop onto this crypto wave and vastly improve their daily lives with it, including the lives of other people around them.
Because Bitcoins can be sent instantly to anywhere in the world, parents can send their children funds should they be attending a college or university overseas. If you wish to support a charity or sponsor a child in poverty, you can send them Bitcoins with the confidence that every bit is getting to its destination, without being gouged by exchanges and extensive time delays. You can crowd fund social projects, support political parties or even tip an independent artist who is looking for a little support.
But above all else – and this is my favourite feature – Bitcoin is completely decentralized. This means that no governing body controls it. Much like no one controls the Internet. Because of this feature, you will never see a counterfeited Bitcoin, inflationary economic bubbles, or fraud committed through its usage. One could even stand to argue that we will see a crypto currency become the world’s reserve currency some day, maybe even Bitcoin. But that is a topic of discussion for another day.
Yes, Bitcoin is quite astounding to say the least, however it is still in its infancy. The reason for this is because its spending features are limited, people have never heard of a Bitcoin, or if they have, they tend to associate it with the Mt.Gox or Silk Road fiascos; none of which had any fault to do with the technology of Bitcoin. So until crypto currencies become widely accepted by the populous, and it is inevitable that it will, we can only sit back and wait as this little wave shifts and shapes itself into a massive tsunami, which will soon engulf the entire world in its wake.
The more we see it grow and expand, the more we will slowly see a brand new world start to materialize and take form as this paradigm shifts from an old and corrupt monetary system, into a decentralized utopia.