In December 2021, the year might be known as the one where cryptocurrency went mainstream. Despite the massive global challenges of 2020, the crypto market continues its march towards acceptance. Here are some of the trends driving this growth for the remainder of 2020 onward.
Bitcoin (BTC) continues to climb in price as of mid-November. On November 13th it crested above $16,290, a significant increase from the 2020 low of $4,904 in mid-March. Many analysts predict explosive price gains for 2021 as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become mainstream payment and investing vehicles. This should drive demand to new heights, and push prices along.
Institutional investment in BTC and other cryptocurrencies is expected to remain high throughout 2021, which means these investors are holding for the longer term and expect price gains. Firms such as payment processor and tech innovator Square are actively buying Bitcoin as a strategic reserve asset, further pointing to the currency’s stability and potential.
ATM Usage Expanding
According to data compiled by Coin ATM Radar, the number of Bitcoin ATM (BTM) installations has increased by 85% in 2020 to 11,798, eclipsing last year’s record-setting 50% rise. This explosive growth is tied to greater adoption and interest, as well as the desire for contactless payment options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth in the BTM market reflects the consumer public embracing cryptocurrencies to store their cash and to make purchases. Enabling this growth are firms like Bitcoin Depot, a leader in BTM installations that offers user friendly machines. The company’s cryptocurrency machines allow users to create an account in a minute, so they can buy multiple currencies and instantly convert them to cash at their own convenience. With companies like Bitcoin Depot expanding to over 1,000 BTMs this year, there doesn’t appear to be a slowing in the progression of this type of need for consumers across the globe.
Cryptocurrencies continue to enjoy adoption in 2020, a trend that will accelerate in 2021 as big-name players embrace the benefits of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In October 2020, PayPal announced a new cryptocurrency service for the U.S. The service will include bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash and Litecoin to start. The company plans to allow users to buy goods and services with cryptocurrencies in early 2021. A statement from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman encapsulates the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency, stating “The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system.”
PayPal holds a massive 346 million and counting user base which provides a considerable opportunity for cryptocurrency growth and broader understanding among the public.
Improving the User Experience
As adoption grows among businesses and individual consumers, there’s also a need to improve the user experience. Cryptocurrencies are no longer just for techies, they’re mass market financial instruments. This means the purchase, sale and management of cryptocurrencies must be as simple as ordering an Uber or performing other mobile-based actions. The proliferation of BTMs is a core part of this improved user experience, as they add instant convenience along with security.
Cryptocurrency users must have confidence in their ability to instantly convert their coins into fiat currency. More crypto-based debit cards and streamlined apps will make it easier for consumers to choose how they use their holdings, whether it’s for investment or day-to-day purchasing, or both. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it easy for app developers to bundle them together, so if the currency has a big enough market, it can be included in an app to give consumers maximum choice. This universality is a core part of the user experience.
As travel rebounds later in 2021 there’s further opportunity for cryptocurrency as travelers have a streamlined way to pay with a unified payment form. New developments for “cryptoback” reward systems will also give consumers the chance to earn percentages back on their purchases, in a similar dynamic to rewards debit and credit card offers.
All these developments will further familiarize people with cryptocurrency, further breaking down any worries or uncertainty, as usage continues to grow through 2021 and beyond.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.