It’s Time to Stop Celebrating Businesses Whenever They Integrate Bitcoin Already: The Happening
Bitcoin is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies in circulation and common use by the online community.
And while it has been in circulation for over a decade as of right now, it still struggles from a chronic challenge of obtaining mainstream adoption in spite of its own community's recalcitrance towards change, as well as a general sluggishness and resistance from major companies in accepting it as a medium of payment.
To give us some perspective of how long it's been in comparison with other blockchain solutions, Overstock.com made digital history as the very first online retail company to accept Bitcoin as a medium of payment back in January 2014, creating a significant level of excitement throughout the community.
And since this time, the number of businesses following suit has increased exponentially. Even so, it has ceased to become news as much as these companies represent yet more dominoes falling in the inevitable embrace of these digital currencies.
So is it All Good News for Bitcoin?
For the crypto community, yesterday represented one of the better days for the world of Bitcoin, at least on a surface level. And why wouldn't it in all honesty?
On the first count of good news, we saw Digitec and Galaxus make the announcement that it would be working to accept a range of payments from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin as well as Ripple (XRP). Having a firm reputation as one of the biggest digital and brick and mortar retailers operating in Switzerland, of course, it's going to be good news.
Next up came Avnet, which has also obtained a reputation over time as one of the world's largest, and better-trusted distributors of electronic hardware and various components, has announced that it would also be working to enable payments with a range of cryptocurrency mediums, thanks in large part to its existing collaboration with BitPay.
So just how well has this integration of cryptocurrency gone for the US-based Avnet? According to the team, it has already received up to ‘several multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency transactions within the first month of accepting Bitcoin.'
This amount sounds staggering to the outside observer, this will likely be dwarfed by the average amount of fiat payments conducted on the platform in a similar amount of time.
During the early years of Bitcoin, initial excitement about the inclusion of Bitcoin payments, especially whenever it was picked up by a major brand is understandable. But with this being 2019, where we are seeing far more institutional investment, what exactly does this kind of overly-inflated hype tell us about the state of blockchain and cryptocurrencies at the moment?
How We Can Break Down This Hype
Over the course of these years of observing the kinds of developments coming from the world of Bitcoin and Blockchain, these new announcements shouldn't be making us as excited as we're being.
There are those that would certainly argue that major companies joining in on the world of blockchain and implementing a payment solution for cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, can only represent the broader adoption cryptocurrency by the mainstream. But while this can be argued, the reality doesn't match up to the starry-eyed optimism held by crypto enthusiasts by assuming as much.
For every time a company has announced the inclusion of Bitcoin as a medium of payment, there have been just as many companies subsequently announcing that they will be ending Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments, citing a high level of market volatility from the market as a whole, making it untenable as for major companies.
Some of these include the likes of the international online travel giant, Expedia, which announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin as of 2014, thanks in part to its partnership with Coinbase. While this was met with initial excitement, the company since tactfully ended support for the cryptocurrency in question, likely for the same reasons.
If we needed another example of the ‘ah!' ‘oh,' effect of the introduction of cryptocurrencies has, Stripe, caused an incredible amount of hype when it announced the inclusion of Bitcoin payments during the same year as Expedia.
And while the move was warmly welcomed, it lasted up until January 2018, when the company cited a range of issues, including volatility, limitations with the network's scalability, as well as a general increase in the unwillingness of customers to pay with the digital currency.
Another example? Crypto boosters also expressed a huge amount of jubilation over the news that Valve, the world-renowned video games distribution system, would begin accepting Bitcoin as a payment system in 2016.
But, once again, the amount of time that enthusiasts had with which to celebrate was very little. Steam would go on to announce that, on account of the “High [transaction] fees and volatility” when regarding its underlying value, it would end support for these kinds of payments as of late 2017.
A more low level example also includes a small business, especially in comparison with some of the major multinational names dropped already. Seymour Locksmiths began accepting Bitcoin among other virtual currencies as a means of payment since 2014. But as of right now, they've had a total of zero crypto payments.
We Need to be Real and Blunt
During the early stages, especially from 2014-2017, companies merely adopted cryptocurrency payment solutions as a way to ‘edge-out' rivals and make it seem to be innovative and attract a consumer base that they believed could be brought into their sphere, bringing a lot of money with them.
So when the adoption was made, and the diminishing returns in terms of actual crypto payments were dwarfed by the outstanding issues that came with supporting them, these companies saw the shortcomings of trying to appear innovative to appeal to a new crowd.
These shortcomings are made all the more glaring for companies, especially when considering that many of these rely on some form of third-party payment solution in order to conduct transactions on a daily basis. So by attempting to extend this out to customers, the companies themselves don't receive or hold these cryptos. So, for the companies, what on earth is the point in allowing for crypto payment support?
It is an important lesson for cryptocurrency enthusiasts to learn, while having the flexibility to choose to pay for various goods and services through Bitcoin may seem like a step in the right direction, for companies, they're economically unsustainable for the time being, and for holders and advocates of cryptocurrency on an almost ideological level, doesn't it smack of cardinal hypocrisy to lambast ‘greedy capitalism' and yet celebrate the days when you can pay for your soy latte with Bitcoin?
So, while there are a number of companies out there that have taken it upon themselves to accept cryptocurrency payments from their would be customers, the unspoken truth about any of these singular celebrations is that they will not translate to any longer-term meaningful adoption any time soon.
So if we're not supposed to be celebrating companies, and they don't translate to any wider success, what's the problem? The issue is that while companies are accepting it, how many people are actually inclined to USE Bitcoin in this way? Precious few.
So, with all of this taken into consideration, the question surfaces once again: why on earth should we be celebrating companies that decide to integrate cryptocurrency as a method of payment?