Bitcoin, the virtual currency that has the potential to transform the way money is exchanged, is making inroads into a whole new market.
Now it is being used to make payments in the real world, from coffee shops to online retailers.
The move is gaining momentum, but it’s also causing headaches.
In an article for CoinDesk, a Bitcoin-focused website, Josh Barro of CoinDesk explained how the digital currency is being made into a currency used for online shopping and buying goods and services.
“In essence, the payment method can be converted to fiat currencies and converted to Bitcoin,” Barro wrote.
“In this process, the user is able to purchase the same products or services that are being delivered in the physical store or service.
For instance, the person could buy coffee from Starbucks.
If the coffee is purchased using BitCoin, it will be sent to their wallet as Bitcoin.”
Barro wrote that Bitcoin is “now being used by retail merchants and online retailers to make transactions in the U.S. and the rest of the world.”
But how does it work?
How does it fit into the mainstream?
Barro writes that it’s not too late for businesses to adopt Bitcoin and accept it as a payment method, but that it is also “not too late” for people to move beyond Bitcoin as a form of payment.
“The main hurdle for merchants is that they will have to take the step of accepting Bitcoin and converting their customers’ Bitcoin purchases into fiat currencies,” he writes.
“Bitcoin, however, has several advantages over traditional payment methods.”
“Firstly, it’s a cryptocurrency,” Barrow writes.
“Unlike a traditional currency, a cryptocurrency has no value, meaning it is virtually indistinguishable from any other type of payment.”
“It’s not just a new form of money, but a new way of making money,” he adds.
“It can be exchanged for other goods and service, for example, by purchasing an item with Bitcoin.”
What’s next for Bitcoin?
“BitCoin has proven to be a very effective form of cryptocurrency,” he concludes.
“But it’s still not ready for mass adoption, or widespread use in the mainstream.”
He also wrote that it “is a lot like cash in the sense that you can buy a large amount of things with it, but you can’t pay for everything.”
“As the Bitcoin market matures, more and more businesses will be able to accept it, especially if they have the capital to buy in,” he wrote.