Originally published in the ChangeNOW blog
The popularity of cryptocurrencies is growing exponentially over the years. The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is currently nearing $400 billion. Bitcoin (the first cryptocurrency, launched in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto) has grown in value from less than $1 to more than $15,000. Unlike any central bank currency, Bitcoin has a total fixed supply of 21 million coins, over 18 million coins out of which are already in circulation.
Over the years, especially with the current pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, the US fiat dollar has been devaluing rapidly. That led to inflation and loss in the money buying power. Why? Well, unlike Bitcoin, the US dollar can be printed (or minted) with a click of a button. And that’s exactly what’s going on these days.
The United States Federal Reserve has been printing trillions of US dollars. If analysts at Goldman are to be believed, this currency is expected to lose up to 20% of its value over the next few years. During the same period, Bitcoin is supposed to be strengthening in value.
In the early days of Bitcoin, crypto enthusiasts believed it would replace the fiat currency someday. However, it turned out to be a long-term store of value similar to that оf gold. So, will cryptocurrencies ever be able to replace fiat currency? Will you ever be able to pay for groceries by some crypto?
Let’s find out and ponder about the crypto prospects in retail.
Cryptocurrencies in Retail So Far
The early adoption of Bitcoin attracted a lot of investors shopping for it. However, there’s only a handful of merchants accepting Bitcoin payments at the moment. The most notable of them are Overstock.com, Microsoft, Newegg.com, and Reeds Jewelers Inc. Just recently, PayPal, the world’s biggest online payment platform, made the announcement on letting its users buy Bitcoins. This statement opened the doors for more than 425 million new Bitcoin users around the globe.
Furthermore, the evolution of cryptocurrency has drawn the attention of many enterprises. Shopify, a multinational e-commerce company, is currently considering the option of moving into the cryptocurrency retail market. The company already supports payments in over 300 digital currencies (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.).