Bitcoin at the Cash Register

Mar 15, 2018

Bitcoin, as the first cryptocurrency, has more credibility to its name than less well-known altcoins. Cryptos in general, however, are still working to overcome investor concerns regarding long-term viability. As a new assets class, it may require time for cryptocurrencies to establish staying power and be adopted on a broader scale. As Avi Salzman posits in his piece “Are Merchants Finally Ready to Accept Bitcoin at the Register?”, a sentiment shift may already be underway with Bitcoin at the forefront.

Salmzan cites a 2018 Nomura study which indicates that 60% of Square, Inc. (SQ) merchants are willing to accept Bitcoin payments as a substitute to dollars.  While this news alone is an encouraging sign, it holds more importance when considering that a similar study conducted in 2014 showed little interest among merchants to participate. The significant growth in both popularity and value of cryptocurrencies as whole over the past year appears to be translating to large-scale acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

While sentiment towards Bitcoin appears to be trending positive based on this development, there is also a potential challenge to consider. Bitcoin has gained the reputation as having notoriously slow transactions network due to limits on the number of transactions that can be processed simultaneously. If Square, Inc. merchants were to begin accepting Bitcoin as payments, it could serve to further diminish the already low speed of the Bitcoin network. An increase in traffic and demand for Bitcoin would certainly be positive, but it may also raise further concerns. Bitcoin’s success in overcoming this challenge could provide a boon for not only Bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies collectively.

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