Although Bitcoin has been operating and expanding its clout since 2009, it is only the leaps and bounds taken in the last two years that confirm the belief (additionally, for some, the fear) that the cryptocurrency will indeed become a mammoth force to be reckoned with in the ecommerce industry. And not in a matter of decades, but years.
Over the last 24 months we have seen Bitcoin emerge from what was regarded as a shadowy subculture into the mainstream. This transition is largely due to the acceptance of the currency by influential ecommerce sites. The summer of 2014 saw heavyweights such as Lord Taylor, Virgin Galactic and NewEgg all begin to offer Bitcoin as a method of payment.
However the announcements by these companies were dwarfed the following month when Dell, the privately-owned company with over 100, 000 employees and with an excess of $60 billion USD in annual sales, tweeted that they would be accepting Bitcoin at Dell.com.
Something was clearly in the air that summer as shortly after Dell’s tweet, John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, said in an interview that he predicted Bitcoin would soon play an ‘important role’ in PayPal. Talking to CNBC, Donahue stated that he believed that in the not too distant future ‘we’re going to have to integrate digital currencies in our wallet.’
That same month Apple altered their App Store regulations to allow the inclusion of apps that trade in Bitcoin, so long as it was classed legal tender in the region it was being sold.
In their own words:
Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.
Beyond individual companies, countries as a whole have been coming around to the charms of Bitcoin.
The Netherlands are arguably the global frontrunners in embracing cryptocurrencies. Last month BitPay revealed that one of the country’s most prominent ecommerce merchants, Fonq.nl, have begun to accept Bitcoin alongside other conventional payment methods. Perhaps because the use of Bitcoin is – relatively – so common in the Netherlands, this news was hardly news at all within the country itself. The Dutch city of Arnhem, with 150, 000 inhabitants, has christened itself ‘BitcoinCity’ proclaiming that it is the most Bitcoin-friendly place in the world, with over 100 retail outlets accepting the currency. Bitcoin enthusiasts can only hope that other countries will follow where the Netherlands is leading.
The benefits of Bitcoin to the ecommerce industry are vast and plain to see, to such an extent that to those who are familiar with the cryptocurrency find the spread of its adoption frustratingly sluggish.
Ecommerce are expanding in number at an accelerating pace. Today, even those with the most meager knowledge of coding and web development can have a simple site up and running in an afternoon. Web hosts like 11 have begun to offer remarkably cheap domain names as well as basic web building programs within their packages. The stumbling block for those attempting to set up ecommerce sites usually begins with the initiation of a payment gateway and when incorporating the bank’s API.
When using Bitcoin, by cutting out the middle man many of these difficulties are alleviated. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the instantaneous nature of Bitcoin transactions means that customers do not have to be concerned that payment has been processed while the transaction remains pending. Similarly, when merchants need not wait days for a payment to clear, packaging and shipping can take place right away, a boon to both customer and company.
It is these benefits that are persuading international corporations to re-evaluate Bitcoin; and where the big fish lead, the minnows will surely follow.