As you’ve likely heard or seen lately, bitcoin has been surging, with a far stronger performance early in 2019 than anything we saw throughout last year. It’s still going to ebb and flow over time, and those forecasting smooth sailing from this point forward are likely in for a rude awakening - but this gradual, prolonged bounce has still been reassuring for bitcoin advocates. The longer the cryptocurrency demonstrates this kind of strength without a dramatic crash (or spike that would almost inevitably lead to a crash, as occurred in 2017), the more bitcoin will begin to seem legitimate in the eyes of its doubters.
This is all relevant primarily to the crypto investment community and any related businesses or entities, but it also matters to those who would like to see bitcoin become more of a functional, everyday currency. To be clear we’re still a long way from that reality, and even if bitcoin doubled its 2019 surge to date we wouldn’t get there (in fact, we might be further from it). However, legitimacy and stability could indeed mean more spending opportunities in time. So now seems like a good time to check in on where specifically you might be able to put your bitcoin to functional use in the next five years or so.
So far mass retail has been the biggest hurdle for bitcoin spending opportunities. Overstock gets plenty of attention for accepting the cryptocurrency, but it was not the trendsetter some hoped it would be. However, if bitcoin does in fact remain relatively stable, it’s likely we’ll see other mass retail sites and companies at least flirt with accepting it. In fact, even now there are reports of interest from Amazon (which could be the single most important company in bitcoin’s journey toward mainstream status).
Travel booking is somewhat like mass retail in that we saw some major companies accepting bitcoin fairly early on only to withdraw support later. Even now though there are actually numerous platforms through which you can purchase tickets or book accommodations with cryptocurrency, which means the door is open for more activity in the years to come. If a company like Priceline or Kayak started accepting bitcoins, or major airlines or hotel chains did the same, it would signal a great deal of crypto business to come.
Online Casino Gaming
Online casino gaming is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to payments. A lot of sites will take deposits from basic credit cards, and plenty more will accept PayPal and some of its close competitors. Major gaming sites in Ireland and Great Britain provide users with free games as well so that not everyone even has to treat this as a paid service. But some casino sites - typically on the smaller end - have actually dipped into the crypto market. It’s a natural fit, providing gamers with the security and accountability they crave when gambling, so this is another area in which we expect to see more opportunities.
Betting is essentially a business that’s related to online casinos - in some cases directly, under the same companies. But it should be mentioned as well as an industry in which bitcoin could become very useful. Here too there are some small opportunities to use cryptocurrency already, but if bitcoin becomes reliable, the underlying tech - namely, blockchain - is so perfect for betting transactions, it’s hard not to see it being more widely used.
The blockchain can also be handy in jewelry purchases, and frankly in any transactions involving particularly valuable products or assets (the real estate business is also one some are looking to for blockchain adoption, for instance). Some companies are in fact already using the blockchain to track diamond sales so as to assure buyers that gems in question are not in fact conflict diamonds. This lays the foundation for a jewelry trade based largely on the blockchain, and which could certainly incorporate bitcoin.