||Guest Blog: Susan May ||
Proponents of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have long been trying to convince critics of its benefits and possible uses. The use of this digital alternative to money as we know it today has by no means become mainstream – yet those proponents are gaining more talking points all the time, given that by now there’s a surprisingly high number of practical applications for cryptos.
In fact, many industries you probably already interact with are accepting cryptos, and we’re here to point out some of the big ones. In addition, there are also some markets that haven’t fully embraced digital currency just yet, but which we see as being uniquely conducive to crypto usage. Read on below for some examples, both of the existing mainstream ways to use cryptocurrency and of the opportunities we expect to see soon.
1. People Without Bank Accounts
One of the big arguments in favor of using cryptos is that they decentralize the banking system and take the power away from big banks that have proven to be unstable in the past, and which are unavailable to some. It will certainly be difficult to convince a society that is already comfortable and accustomed to big banking to change its ways entirely – but not as much so in communities where banking in the traditional sense is still uncommon. Some of the most noteworthy examples of this can be found in Africa, where people use mobile money instead of keeping their money with a bank, at least in many cases. Although cryptos and mobile money are not the same thing, their benefits are similar: Both provide quick, easy, and safe transactions that don’t involve a centralized system. As a result, this is one area in which we could easily see a crypto boom in the near future.
2. Online Gaming Communities
Online gaming has become one of the more popular applications of cryptos. For instance, you can load bitcoin onto your Xbox account to purchase games for your console, and there are some online arcade sites specifically built around cryptos. Some game developers have even toyed with the idea of using cryptos to replace game-specific versions of “coins” or “tokens,” bringing real money into the fantasy world, in a sense. Online casino games also see a lot of potential for cryptos, particularly due to their quick transaction times and built-in security. Essentially, the idea is that winning online with bitcoin could become as convenient as winning cash at a physical casino. Right now only smaller casino sites are actually on board, but keeping an eye on some of the international digital slot providers from hubs in New Zealand, Western Europe, and Canada, we expect to see some of the big players adopting cryptos.
3. Internet Shopping
More and more online retailers, both large and small, are starting to accept cryptos as a form of payment. Overstock.com is currently the largest shopping site that does so, which is fairly convenient considering you can get almost anything you could ever need for your home on this website. Many small retailers that only operate online are also accepting cryptos, due to their advantages for small business owners looking to avoid hefty transaction fees and long wait times for money transfers to happen. It’s difficult to predict specifics in this space, in terms of which sites will next embrace cryptocurrency, but we do expect there will be more with each passing month.
4. Subscription Service Management
Surprisingly, many online companies you may be paying monthly subscriptions to are already accepting cryptos as well. Dish TV is the biggest example in the television streaming realm, and Microsoft accepts bitcoin payments for media items (such as movies, TV episodes, and games, as mentioned regarding Xbox above). Both of these companies are at the top of their respective fields, so it is not unlikely that some of the smaller companies will follow suit to become more competitive, nor that some other major competitors will adopt cryptos in order to keep pace.
5. Travel Itinerary Booking
One more market that likely has a lot of potential for the use of cryptos is travel. CheapAir is a popular online booking agency that accepts cryptos for purchasing flights, hotels, and rental cars. Expedia did the same for a while, though currently it is no longer accepting cryptos. And some smaller companies in the same vein have also begun to accept digital currency. For a more out-there example still related (in a way) to travel, bitcoin is also being used to purchase flights to outer space. If you’re at all interested in purchasing a seat on Virgin Galactic’s commercial flight to outer space, for instance, you can do so with bitcoin. This is how the famous Winklevoss brothers purchased their tickets back in 2013, just as bitcoin and other cryptos were becoming popular.
Keep an eye on these areas in the next year or two, and you may just witness cryptocurrency’s transition from the fringes of society to the mainstream.