Crypto Goes Mainstream, Still Way To Go Till Full Disruption
‘In the past few years, the crypto industry has seen a great deal of change. What sounded like a fantasy back in 2016, has become 2021’s reality: decentralization is going mainstream, and cryptocurrency debit cards are finding their way into the wallets of former skeptics.
Today digital currencies are accepted by over 15,000 businesses worldwide; this number is growing by the day. Tech and finance are taking the lead, as big players like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK), Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL), Visa Inc (NASDAQ:V), and MasterCard Incorporated (NASDAQ:MA) strive to be known as early adopters. Others follow: they realize that they can’t afford to be left behind.
A business has to be innovative to win the competition these days, and crypto is too good of an opportunity to miss. Marketing-wise, its adoption helps attract new customers and expand their offer with in-demand services and features. Technology-wise, it provides all the benefits of the tech – such as performance boost, cheaper and faster cross-border transfers, and convenience of everyday payments.
With all the above, for most companies it’s not a question of whether to integrate crypto-related services or not; it’s how to choose the right partner to help them with the process. It looks like the full adoption is finally on the way. But is that really so?
Fiat As An Intermediary
Making direct payments without the need for intermediaries is one of the greatest advantages offered by blockchain technology. Still, these days most of the PSPs perform crypto transactions through double-conversion: first to fiat, and then back to crypto. This means we are not using the tech’s benefits to the full, and the real revolution in payments is stalled. So what stands in the way of making direct crypto transactions?
First, there’s still a great deal of skepticism and wariness around cryptocurrencies. Many are still wondering, can crypto be a major payment method? Well, during the last months, we’ve seen that as Bitcoin‘s (CRYPTO:BTC) adoption grows, it gets more stability and general trust, – proving once again that crypto coins can be a store of value. The more big players create precedents around it, the more inertia the market gets to keep developing on its own. Hopefully, Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) going public on Nasdaq will be another step on the long and winding road to the global recognition of digital currencies.
Second, the regulatory measures are getting more straightforward, – but there is still a long way to go before the rules on how the crypto can be used are finally in place. Regulators have to decide on the role of digital currencies in today’s finance. Will they be considered legal tender? Can they be used to pay tax? Are they treated as property, therefore subject to tax? Well, even convinced bears can’t deny anymore that the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies is happening – so every country will eventually have to find answers to these questions.
Banks Of The Future
I do not doubt that the industry will continue developing, and the demand for crypto will grow. As Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance’s report shows, in the third quarter of 2020, there were about 101 million crypto owners globally, – and the volume of crypto transactions has been going up steadily. Little by little, the change is happening. When the most traditional banks are ready to embrace it, we will see the global rise of crypto as a universal payment method.
What would finance and banking look like? According to the experts, in the next few years, we should see more countries issuing their own CDBCs. When it happens, and when digital currencies see full adoption, I expect that the banks to show the trend towards universality. Then we will probably get access to CBDCs, crypto, and fiat currencies via the same banking app: in the same way, that we now use digital wallets to store the data of our debit, credit, and discount cards. That will be the point when we know that the crypto revolution has been successful, – and I believe that we are to witness it soon.’