We went a long way since the first time two people decided to exchange goods. At the dawn of civilisation, barter was the only peaceful way to acquire items or services from one another. Money, as we know it today, did not exist yet and people had to establish their items’ value each time the transaction took place.
This, of course, wasn’t an ideal way to monetise on or store a surplus of goods. If a fisherman wanted to trade some of his catch for grain from a farmer, they were both at risk as they dealt with perishable goods that could only be kept fresh for a limited time.
Eventually, certain commodities universally recognised as valuable became a price reference for the exchange of goods. Those varied, depending on the area of the world, but the principle was similar whether it was salt, shells, cattle or the Chinese white deer skin banknotes.
Things started to change with the discovery of metals. Metal was a material a lot more useful for crafting tools and weapons than stone and was easy to divide and shape. With time, local rulers began marking bits of metal to guarantee its purity and therefore — its value. This allowed for a lot more accurate and faster transactions.
Paper money was first used by the Chinese as early as 7th century, but it was the European promissory notes, that eventually became banknotes as we know them. Traveling with large sums of coins wasn’t safe nor practical, so traders began issuing paper IOU (“I owe you”). Those could be later exchanged for a pre-agreed value in coins, but in time — they became a generally accepted currency on their own.
The XX century technological advance began yet another major shift in the way world dealt with, and traded, money. In the second half of the century money started to be represented digitally and by 2000s most money existed in a digital form stored within bank databases.
The financial crisis of 2008 was definitely a factor in the birth of the world’s first cryptocurrency — Bitcoin. The text embedded in the genesis block (the first block mined on Bitcoin’s blockchain) “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” seems to have confirmed that.
Bitcoin was the first decentralised currency, free from control by any single entity like a central bank or a government. It was the answer to a growing distrust towards bodies issuing, and manipulating, global fiat currencies.
Bitcoin was the first currency to allow the digital transfer of funds without a need for a third party or any financial intermediary. Each transaction was instead recorded on a public blockchain and secured by cryptography.
Each Bitcoin (BTC) payment is a peer-to-peer transaction and doesn’t require any personal identification, other than the anonymous wallet address. This allows for a very high level of security of both — the funds and personal data — especially if compared to a traditional credit card payment that usually involves as many as four financial intermediaries.
Bitcoin was gradually adopted by users all over the world and soon recognised by merchants too, as it offered multiple benefits when compared to fiat currencies. The fact that payments could be processed using a mobile phone-based digital wallet and did not require carrying a physical card, meant more ease of use for customers. But the fact that BTC payments are irreversible and can only be refunded by the recipient — guarantees no more merchant chargebacks nor steep fees associated with them.
Accepting cryptocurrency payments is also a lot more cost-effective than accepting credit card payments. The latter can cost as much as 5% per transaction (with a flat fee often added), while cryptocurrency payments can be sent and received at a very low cost, or in some cases — no cost at all.
Various benefits of cryptocurrency use were quickly noticed, which reflected in the rate of global user adoption. There were 139 million cryptocurrency users by December 2018 and this number is growing fast. It is now possible to use cryptocurrency to purchase anything from a Subway sandwich to a luxury apartment.
But cryptocurrency payments are so much more than just paying for stuff. Venezuela, a beautiful country on the northern coast of South America, has been struggling with hyperinflation for years now. According to a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University Steven Hanke, the hyperinflation reached its record high of 117,681% on January 10, making the national currency, Bolivar, virtually worthless.
The difficult situation boosts the cryptocurrency adoption within the country. Cryptocurrency offers a relatively stable alternative and has proven useful to the Venezuelans — especially since it is beyond the control of those, who brought the country into this difficult situation in the first place.
The times when cryptocurrency was being used only by bespectacled stereotypical nerds sitting in their parents’ basements, are long gone. Cryptocurrency is making its way into the mainstream in a big way. Several US states (New Hampshire, Indiana, California, Arizona) are preparing to accept Bitcoin for tax payments, while Ohio already does that since 2018.
Cryptocurrency is being recognised and regulated in many countries all over the world and first international cryptocurrency trade deals are becoming a reality. A good example is the purchase of pesticides and fumigation products from Argentina by Paraguay in February 2019. The deal was completed in Bitcoin, which was then converted into Argentine pesos.
It’s just a matter of time before cryptocurrency use will be as widespread as the use of plastic payment cards is today and that creates a need for reliable, licensed cryptocurrency payment gateways. According to various studies, as many as 80% of companies show interest in using cryptocurrency for transactions.
BitBay, one of the largest European cryptocurrency exchanges, noticed that trend and decided to act on it. Since its conception in 2014, BitBay reached a daily turnover of $5-$8 million generated by nearly 1 million registered users worldwide. It allows trading in over 20 cryptocurrencies and deposits/withdrawals in multiple fiat currencies.
It was a natural move for BitBay to utilise its experience and ecosystem and scale up to accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing market.
BitBay Pay is the BitBay’s answer to the requirements of a modern merchant and a modern consumer. As a fully regulated and licensed cryptocurrency payment provider, it handles payments in 10 different cryptocurrencies and can instantly convert them to USD, EUR and PLN or store them in the source currency.
An Estonian cryptocurrency licence means that BitBay Pay can easily process crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto withdrawals, while making the entire process as easy as possible for both — users and merchants. And to top it all — BitBay Pay supports online businesses as well as traditional brick-and-mortar locations.
Subway, British Airways, Burger King, McDonalds, Amazon, Lyft and Shopify all have one thing in common. They all expressed that they plan to accept cryptocurrency or already began to.
BitBay Pay makes it possible for any business to follow those giants and enter the XXI century payment infrastructure.