Even though the cryptocurrency market seems to be going through a bit of a slump at the moment, there is no denying that the industry has grown from strength to strength in recent years, especially from an adoption point of view.
To date, a recent study found that the number of adults in the United States using digital assets for daily shopping will increase by 70% by the end of the year compared to 2021, with the measured value increasing from 1.08 million to 3.6 million users. .
The lead author of the study points out that as the volatility of the cryptocurrency market continues to decline – thanks to the growing use of stablecoins and central bankers of digital currencies (CBDCs) – more and more people will view these offers as a legitimate means of payment. In fact, by the end of 2022, research indicates that the total population of adults in the United States using cryptocurrencies will rise to a staggering 33.7 million.
By the end of 2023, this figure could potentially rise to 37.2 million, a figure that is quite realistic, especially given the fact that investors entering the global cryptocurrency market have almost doubled in different countries such as India, Brazil and Hong Kong last year. 12 months. On the subject, Narek Gevorgian, CEO and founder of CoinStats – Director of cryptocurrencies and Distributed Finance (DeFi) – told Cointelegraph:
“Crypto is at the forefront of the financial system in many cases, not at zero compared to the current market. “Millions of non-bankers have access to cryptocurrency transactions from their mobile phones, and because this is an unused market, it is difficult to monitor and measure its growth from the economic lenses we have today.”
The introduction of cryptocurrencies in retail is preparing to grow
Max Krupyshev, CEO of CoinsPaid’s cryptocurrency, believes that while the aforementioned figure, 3.6 million, is quite impressive, it still accounts for only about 1% of the US population. In his opinion, there will be an exponential growth in cryptocurrency payments over the next 3-5 years, adding:
“I think we will be able to talk about tens of millions of users in the United States alone by 2025. The US market is fertile ground for all innovative solutions. Another factor that drives the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a daily trading currency is that it is becoming increasingly easier to buy, spend these assets with international brands.
He further added that when it comes to cryptocurrencies, Asia has the potential to reach America in the long run as the region as a whole is quite flexible when it comes to adopting new and emerging technologies. “We should also pay attention to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in African countries. There is a great demand for cryptocurrencies and other investment tools that offer a low access threshold, “Krupyshev added.
Brandon Dallman, chief executive of Deizen Ecosystem Marketing, told Cointelegraph that for the longest time, ecosystem retail / cross-border payments were managed by a select few players such as Western Union, PayPal and Stripe. However, with the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in recent years, digital assets have helped people circumvent issues related to intermediaries and high fees, as well as the inherent inhibitory red tape associated with traditional financial economies. He emphasized:
“Fast blockchain networks are suitable tracks for CBDCs such as digital dollars, the euro, etc. A blockchain that is able to meet the demand put forward by financial institutions such as stock exchanges and refineries will win the battle. We are seeing banks of all kinds. sizes dip their toes into the water to see how they can begin to interact with the new digital world in front of them, driven by the growing fear of being left behind. “
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Not everyone is convinced of the growing impact of crypto in the retail segment. For example, Ben Caselin, Head of Research and Policy for AAX Cryptocurrency Exchange, told the Cointelegraph that while we may see the confiscation of secured stablecoins in the near future, it is highly doubtful that we are heading for some kind of cryptocurrency utopia, adding:
“With increased integration, we can expect more scrutiny and regulation that will not bode well for cryptocurrencies at all. There could be several places where certain tokens can be your preferred currency, for example a Bored Ape-themed restaurant is likely to accept ApeCoin payments. But in other respects, I believe that in the end, real payments and value-added will merge with Bitcoin, although this will not slow down the continued growth of online and offline micro-economies.
Nevertheless, Caselin said it was encouraging to see the general trend shift towards a better and more open understanding of what money really is. “If we can see traders or companies actually owning the cryptocurrencies they get paid for, then this could be very interesting,” he said.
Which digital assets are suitable for retail?
As it stands, Dallman sees Solana (SOL) as a leader when it comes to facilitating day-to-day trading because the network offers fast speeds and a very cheap gas charge, which makes the network more accessible. Furthermore, as major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) are beginning to find general acceptance as legal tender, he sees the flagship asset gaining more popularity as a digital payment medium.
A similar view is shared by Krupyshev, who believes that Bitcoin, rather than some stablecoin, will become a more popular means of payment, even though the value of most products or services is in US dollars, adding:
“I consider Bitcoin the most likely candidate for the role of an international payment instrument. It has already proven its viability, overcoming more than one crisis and surviving more than one cryptocurrency.
That said, he acknowledged that it was very unlikely that we would see a mass implementation of BTC-centric payments in the next few years. This is largely due to the fact that production costs are still paid in fiat currencies and are usually pegged to either the US dollar, the euro, the British pound, the yen or the yuan.
For Gevorgian, Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) seem to be two of the most likely candidates for international retail adoption, thanks to their market dominance and investor popularity. “Bitcoin seems to be working for bigger trades and slowly but surely it will become a more viable option for smaller trades with the advancement of solutions based on the Lightning Network,” he added.
He further suggested that the most promising cryptocurrencies to gain a foothold in the payment arena will be those that are most held and used. This will probably see the top 20 largest currencies by market value prevail as commercial currencies.
Contrary to the beliefs listed above, Yair Testa, Head of Business Development for Blockchain COTI-based payment systems, has no doubt that stablecoins will be the number one choice for retail payments in the near future. He told the Cointelegraph:
“Companies and traders need to use a large part of their income to cover operating costs and can not afford the risk. They need stability and reassurance that their income will have the same value tomorrow as it does today. We see managed stablecoins and CBDCs as a leading long-term payment method.
Public bodies that accept cryptocurrencies
As cryptocurrencies have garnered widespread public support in recent years, the list of well-known brands accepting digital currencies has been expanding at a furious pace. For example, Microsoft allows its users to pay for various in-house services – including Xbox Live, Microsoft apps, games, and more. – with Bitcoin.
Overstock, an American online furniture retailer, seems to be a leader in the cryptocurrency business. This is because the company now accepts a number of digital tokens alongside Bitcoin such as Litecoin (LTC), ETH and Monero (XMR). Similarly, Home Depot, the largest hardware store in the United States, allows Bitcoin payments through Flexa’s payment system, which is supported by Gemini – enabling individuals to build an entire home using just cryptography.
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Starbucks has also partnered with the future Bakkt Stock Exchange, which allows users to pay for their morning coffee (and much more) with digital assets. The same goes for the US multinational supermarket chain Whole Foods, which recently partnered with the spending program SPEDN, which allows users to buy all their groceries with BTC, LTC or Gemini dollars (GUSD). SPEDN is not just for Whole Foods as it also allows users to spend their digital assets on Regal Cinemas, GameStop, Jamba Juice and Baskin Robbins.
In the telecommunications industry, AT&T is the first US mobile phone company to offer its customers cryptocurrencies, albeit indirectly. Using BitPay, a third-party payment gateway, users who want to take advantage of the company’s various offers / services can do so using Bitcoin as well as several other assets.
In addition to the names listed above, some other prominent brands that now accept cryptocurrencies include entertainment company AMC, travel booking company Travala, US franchisee JCPenney, the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and GameStop, among many others.
As we move into a future where digital currencies continue to grow in popularity at a rapid pace, it will be interesting to see how cryptocurrencies fit into the global retail landscape, especially in terms of either competition or complementarity with the current global fiat payment system.
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