Here’s How Bitcoin is Broadening Its Base

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What are the prospects for widespread acceptance of bitcoin during the 2020s? So far, things are looking up for the world’s first cryptocurrency. In fact, it’s getting to the point where you can’t look at a financial news site without seeing the name of another major retailer or bank that accepts BTC, the coin’s trading initials. Throughout history, the biggest hurdle every form of money faced was wide public acceptance. In today’s varied global economy, that translates into sectors like retail, securities trading, financial institutions, personal spending, and more.

trading

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to watch the seesaw price swings of BTC and conclude that it’s not ready for prime time, or is inherently unstable. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because, with each passing week, more and more people, companies, banks, e-commerce stores, and governments sign on to the bitcoin bandwagon. You can easily track the recent price increases of BTC based on social and economic acceptance. Since 2017, when few retailers accepted the coin, and BTC-ATMs were very hard to find, prices for the coin went from the $13,000 range in late 2017 to $58,000 in March of 2021.

Major Stores

There’s a bit of confusion about retailers who accept BTC. Some, like Starbucks, don’t accept it directly but only through a proprietary app. Last year, rumors circulated that the world’s biggest coffee seller was ready to go all-in and accept the alt coin at counters. Later, executives announced that there would be a delay in the launch and that consumers would, for now, have to use an app to pay via bitcoin. Still, breaking into a massive food and beverage niche was considered a major victor for the coin. As for major retailers, Microsoft, Starbucks, Overstock, Home Depot, Whole Foods, and a growing list of others are already full-fledged members of the ‘bitcoin accepted here’ club.

Micro Futures

In the world of high finance, you’re nothing until one of the major exchanges allows your stock to trade on the futures market. Recently, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) started allowing its customers to buy and sell bitcoin futures. Actually, BTC futures contracts have been around since 2017, but only in their larger, full coin, sizes. This recent announcement by CME is a watershed because it means the group is now opening up the door for micro contracts, which are one-tenth the size of the larger ones.

This is significant for one key reason, that in addition to institutions, individuals can now take part in the trading of BTC futures contracts. Whenever an exchange opens up opportunities for retail-level investors, lots of money tends to flow into the space. It might take a few months before this new micro contract takes hold and ordinary investors learn how to trade bitcoin, but its existence is one of the biggest stories of the year, so far, for the world’s largest crypto.

Debit Cards

One of the most ingenious workarounds by the alt coin’s management team has been the introduction of debit cards. If you’re a consumer, you can now pay via the card even at retailers who don’t accept anything but traditional forms of payment. In a way, the cards act like a go-between for anyone who likes to keep their plastic rectangle loaded up with virtual cash.

ATMs

Cryptocurrency managers at bitcoin have spent a large portion of their time trying to make it easy for consumers to acquire BTC. Until recently, if you wanted to exchange cash for virtual money, you had to open an account at one of the many online exchanges, verify your identity, wait a few days for approval, set up a secure wallet for storage, and then purchase however much of the coin you wanted. It was a tricky process and kept a lot of people away.

Now, you can short-circuit that convoluted routine by using one of the many ATMs set up for the sole purpose of turning your cash into the prized form of virtual money. Just a few years back, when the machines started turning up at retail establishments (mostly convenience stores), they were hard to find. As of early 2021, there are nearly 30,000 of the free-standing ATMs dotting the U.S. landscape.

Price vs Acceptance

Price rises are a decent gauge of institutional acceptance for any cryptocurrency. There’s an old saying that goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and for BTC, the proof of viability is in how many institutions and individuals accept it. And, by that measure, the leading cryptocurrency has already succeeded.

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Here's How Bitcoin is Broadening Its Base
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Price rises are a decent gauge of institutional acceptance for any cryptocurrency.
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