Most people think that Bitcoin is just for traders and financial big shots. But there’s actually much more to cryptocurrency than raking in short-term profits. Cryptocurrency is an incredible innovation that can be put to good use in a huge variety of scenarios.
From CEOs to school children, more people are learning about cryptocurrency every day. But how exactly can you use Bitcoin in the real world? Let’s find out.
Bitcoin as payment
Bitcoin has been used as a method of payment since its creation. In 2010, a developer called Laszlo Hanyecz used Bitcoin to pay for a product for the first time. Hanyecz bought two pizzas from Papa John’s for 10,000 BTC. If Hanyecz conducted the same transaction at today’s prices, the pizzas would cost almost half a billion Euros! Consequently, the cryptocurrency community celebrates May 22nd as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
At the time of the famous pizza purchase, there weren’t many options if you wanted to pay in Bitcoin. Ten years on and retailers are flocking to add Bitcoin as a payment option. The payments giants Visa and Paypal added Bitcoin in early 2021. Tesla founder and crypto memelord Elon Musk also announced that people could now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin. But it’s not just the world’s biggest companies that accept cryptocurrency.
Millions of small and medium-sized retailers now advertise Bitcoin payments. Coinmap is a handy site to find cryptocurrency merchants and ATMs all over the world. From a coffee to a chinese takeaway, the chances are that you can easily support local businesses with your Bitcoin.
But cryptocurrency payments aren’t limited to your local area. With Bitcoin you can book a whole holiday without having to dip into your traditional bank account. From flights, to food and accommodation, you can pay for it all with cryptocurrency.
Beyond short term indulgence, cryptocurrency can also be used to enrich your future prospects in more ways than one. Many educational institutions around the world now accept payment in Bitcoin, meaning your first step into the cryptocurrency world could also coincide with reskilling and a brand new career.
Cryptocurrency might be outside of the mainstream, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have concrete uses in the real world. When you pay with Bitcoin you aren’t just supporting a business or purchasing a product. You are playing a vital role in a revolution that provides a better financial world for all.
Bitcoin as an asset
Bitcoin is probably most famous for being traded on international cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin’s price has fluctuated in recent years, giving traders incredible opportunities to buy low and sell high.
But, unlike stocks, on which 80% of investors lose money, Bitcoin has an inherent advantage. When Nakamoto designed Bitcoin, he made sure that only 21 million coins could ever exist. This small detail gives Bitcoin power over all stocks and currencies. This hard cap of 21 million means that Bitcoin can never be printed. As a result. Bitcoin’s price will never be artificially inflated.
What this created is something called digital scarcity. Investors realise that only a certain amount of Bitcoin can ever exist and are scrambling to buy as much as possible before the supply runs out. As a result, Bitcoin’s prices soar.
Bitcoin has had incredible historic returns. An investment of $1000 in 2011 would see a total return of 6872980.737%. That’s an end value of over $68,730,807. It’s hard to define a fixed figure for Bitcoin’s long-term value but thanks to ever increasing awareness and adoption of Bitcoin, combined with its inherent digital scarcity, many analysts think that Bitcoin’s prices have the potential to rise stratospherically.
Bitcoin for remittances
Millions of migrant workers realise that cryptocurrencies have life-changing possibilities. Many of these workers come from low and medium income backgrounds and send significant portions of their earnings back to their families in their home countries. These payments are known as remittances. Even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, where wages and employment fell, remittance flows were over $500 billion. But the current system is failing those that need it most.
Currencies created by national governments do not reflect the international age. Exchange rates fluctuate. International transfers can take several days. Sending money abroad incurs costly fees. But here’s where cryptocurrency is changing lives all over the world: Bitcoin transfers are almost instant and cost far less than the options offered by mainstream finance.
To use the mainstream financial system, both the sender and the recipient need bank accounts. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in developing countries. Over 1 billion people are ‘unbanked’, meaning they have no access to the wider financial network. Even if they have access to accounts, the funds often need to be exchanged at least twice, losing value through fluctuating prices and high commissions. But that’s not all, the banks at both ends of the transactions will often levy a charge for sending and receiving the funds, leaving the recipient with significantly less than the sender intended.
With cryptocurrency, there are no banks involved, no need to exchange currencies and no waiting time. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection.
Bitcoin as a safe haven
Bitcoin’s incredible price performance also created another interesting use case for cryptocurrency. Bitcoin as a store of value.
Investors are becoming ever more disillusioned with the dismal performance of traditional finance. Many people work hard and save up their earnings in fiat currencies, such as the euro, only for the currency to lose value through inflation. For perspective, $1 dollar in 1914 is worth $27 in 2021. That’s a cumulative inflation rate of 2,579.7 percent. The sad truth is that, in the current climate, savings kept in most traditional bank accounts will lose value. For investors that have saved up their whole lives, this is nothing short of an injustice. Luckily, there’s a solution: Bitcoin!
Bitcoin is being used as a way for investors to store their wealth without depreciation. Unlike fiat currencies like the US dollar, Bitcoin cannot be created out of thin air by central banks. Each individual coin is created through a process called mining. Mining is a process in which powerful computers crack complex mathematical problems to create “blocks” of verified transactions. Mining also verifies coins, meaning that the same Bitcoin token cannot be created or spent twice. The remarkable technology that underpins Bitcoin, paired with the ever-growing adoption of cryptocurrencies in societies around the world, are all playing their part in boosting prices.
Bitcoin’s historic prices are a tonic for savers that are sick of an economic climate where investment rates barely creep above zero. Bitcoin was initially traded for as little as $0.0008 only ten years ago. With an all time high of over nearly $61,000 in 2021, savings held in Bitcoin are set to increase in value instead of festering in the feeble options offered by mainstream finance.
Salaries paid in Bitcoin
Short of buying and selling, there are other ways to get your hands on Bitcoin. Many employers now allow workers to receive part or all of their salaries in Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency companies have been paying employees in Bitcoin for years. Bitwage is just one service that offers employees the opportunity to receive a portion of their wages in digital assets. As more employers learn about cryptocurrency options, cryptocurrency payments will likely increase in popularity.
Charities accept Bitcoin
There is belief in the cryptocurrency community that Bitcoin can be the tide that lifts all boats. Cryptocurrency investors not only see that Bitcoin offers many options to generate profit but also to create and develop a financial network that allows people to improve their own financial autonomy.
Consequently, many charities accept donations in Bitcoin. Many charities operate in developing countries that have collapsed political and economic infrastructures, cryptocurrency is a way of bypassing all structural problems and helping funds reach those that need it most. There are many websites that list charities accepting Bitcoin, with some of the most prominent being Save the Children, Greenpeace and the WWF.
Bitcoin might have started out as a niche payment tool but it has grown into a financial colossus that is disrupting traditional finance in ways never seen before. Unlike its competitors, Bitcoin is adaptable and designed for the internet age. Cryptocurrency is a tool applicable across all levels of society, from helping lift people out of poverty, paying for a coffee at a local business to boosting the value of your life savings.
Your journey with Bitcoin begins here .