The idea of bitcoin as an alternative currency has essentially lost out to the idea that cryptocurrency is more effectively used as an investment. Bitcoin, for all intents and purposes, is now a commodity, and is treated as such by most who are involved with it. As it happens, the cryptocurrency has had a fairly good 2019 in this regard, to the point that there’s now some speculation that it’s gearing up for another breakout. This is the sort of commentary that typically surrounds bitcoin, and will continue to for years to come.
Even if the battle is lost for the alternative currency advocates however, it doesn’t mean that bitcoin can’t be used in this fashion. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that bitcoin won’t be used more frequently in this fashion as time goes by. It could be (though there are sensible arguments in either direction) that if and when bitcoin becomes more reliable as a commodity, it will also become more appealing as a currency. Whatever the merits of that line of thinking may be, there are plenty of people who still want to use bitcoin as a currency – and there may indeed be more opportunities to do so in the future.
These are some of what we might call the imminent opportunities that remain for bitcoin as a currency.
1. Massive Retail Stores
At times in recent years there have been subtle whispers about Amazon adopting cryptocurrency (or perhaps even creating its own). We have no idea if this is going to happen – or when it will if it does – but it does keep the question out there of what would happen if some of the truly massive retail stores the world depends on started accepting bitcoin. Right now, Overstock is probably the biggest example of an online retail giant that does so. All it would take is one or two more though to add a significant demand factor to the bitcoin market.
2. Social Media
Just as there are occasional whispers about Amazon embracing cryptocurrency, there has also been talk of Facebook creating its own. Again, it’s unclear if or when this might actually happen, but the idea of social media companies using digital currencies for peer-to-peer transfer or perhaps internal purchasing opportunities is a fascinating one. Should even one of the biggest four or five social media companies ever look to add bitcoin functionality in this manner it will make a massive impact.
3. Major Airlines
Travel has been one of the most active sectors for bitcoin purchasing pretty much since day one. Specific opportunities have come and gone, but as of 2018 there were still several travel platforms accepting cryptos, and many of these remain. That said, while these platforms do allow you to book and pay for travel, you still have to sort of go out of your way to find them. If major airlines or famous travel booking agencies followed suit though, there would be millions upon millions of consumers exposed to the idea of using bitcoin in financial transactions.
4. Digital Media
Digital media seems to be a broader term with each passing day. It might refer to a subscription to a video streaming service, a similar subscription to an online newspaper, or even to something like a video game or song download. The idea here is simply that it’s not unreasonable to expect that in time a currency invented to be the first entirely digital resource of its kind will become favored for certain companies and providers dealing exclusively in digital inventory.
5. Video Games
We might consider video games to be their own branch within digital media, particularly given that more and more gamers are getting their experiences through downloads rather than physical purchases. We mention video games separately, however, because there has already been some momentum toward bitcoin purchases in this specific industry. Given that Microsoft still allows users to buy game downloads via bitcoin, it’s not at all difficult to imagine a future in which bitcoin is among the primary options for buying games.
6. Online Casino Games
As another branch in the video game category, casino sites could also become an opportunity for bitcoin in the future. These games will be foreign to some readers who may be in areas where gambling activity is prohibited. However, the most-recommended casino sites from places like New Zealand and the UK (which are known for providing a lot of these games) are full of a variety of different electronic payment methods. Anyone familiar with these sites would agree that bitcoin would fit right in. In fact, some sites in this sector have already embraced it.
7. Security Upgrades
This is more of a hypothetical than an area in which there’s demonstrated interest. It does make a certain sense though. We’re currently seeing an evolution in home security, such that more and more people are relying on smart, digitally connected systems they can monitor and control – and potentially upgrade – from their phones. People are going to care a great deal that purchases in this space are as secure as possible, which would seem to open the door to crypto consideration.
8. Gift Cards
Gift card purchasing is actually one of the more exciting opportunities for bitcoin spending already. A few different sites allow for it, and it is basically seen as a way of turning bitcoin into more widely useful money. Should this practice become more widespread, it could lead to a fairly noticeable uptick in bitcoin spending, even if it’s largely a workaround for cryptocurrency.
9. Public Transportation
Public transportation is another area in which we’re certainly trending toward more frequent use of purely digital transactions. And just this year we started hearing about bitcoin-based taxi payments in London. That doesn’t necessarily mean sweeping change is on the way, but the groundwork has been laid for more integration in this space, and it represents another way in which it’s at least easy to imagine a common bitcoin option in the coming years.
10. Debit Cards
This is a more complex idea than some in terms of how it would technically be executed. But with various payment processing services (PayPal, Cash App, etc.) now supplying their own debit cards, one can imagine bitcoin doing the same. The hitch is that it wouldn’t actually come from “Bitcoin,” because there is no such company. Still, the idea of a related company designing a bitcoin debit card that automatically made use of your cryptocurrency balance in everyday card payments is one that almost seems inevitable. It’s essentially a more useful version of the gift card idea.