The buzz blockchain and crypto technologies generated in 2021 planted the seeds for an exciting future, says BitPay CEO Stephen Pair. Look for 2022 to bring more mainstream acceptance of crypto. Read his thoughts in the PYMNTS eBook, “In a Word: 50 Thought Leaders Sum Up 2021.”
It could be because celebrities like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk talked about cryptocurrency (crypto), especially dogecoin, or because there were payment services like Mastercard and PayPal entering the space, too. In the end, the publicity is great news for the blockchain community, as it means crypto is becoming mainstream and available to everyone.
As a result, consumers are not only demanding that merchants accept crypto payments, but many are pushing for multiple coins to be accepted widely. It’s not just about bitcoin anymore. This year, dogecoin, litecoin and shiba inu were added to the list of most preferred coins by customers.
Algorand and Cosmos are also topping the list of what coins should be accepted next. A recent survey by PYMNTS found that 46 million consumers plan to use crypto to pay merchants — just another reason for merchants to evaluate accepting crypto.
The survey also pointed to the top five things crypto owners would consider buying. These include travel and leisure, real estate, professional services, furniture and appliances and financial services. The retail industry is seeing crypto used for day-to-day purchases of food, travel, electronics and clothing, as well as online gaming and trading. As the price of bitcoin went up, extravagant goods were a hot purchase item, from high-end autos like Bugattis, lavish watches and jewelry, to ski chalets in Tahoe, condos in Manhattan and even luxury yachts.
When crypto was not accepted at a merchant, consumers found other ways to make purchases using it. They would buy gift cards and load or top up a crypto debit card, also enabling Apple Pay and Google Pay. Consumers are able to spend anywhere Mastercard debit is accepted around the world, including for online purchases and to withdraw cash from ATMs.
To make it even easier to spend crypto anywhere, the ability to pay in-store, in-app or online through Verifone is on the horizon as the telecom giant already works with 74 of the top 100 global retail brands.
Merchants are listening — and not just the small merchants, but also large top 100 retailers and household names like APMEX, the Dallas Mavericks, Dish, Jomashop, Microsoft, Newegg, Pacsun, RM Sotheby’s and Shop.com. This year, they all announced they’d be adding or expanding crypto options. It also helps that the crypto market is huge, with consumers expected to make $55 billion in purchases using cryptocurrency in the next 12 months, according to the same survey.
By accepting crypto payments through a service like BitPay, a merchant can broaden its customer base while being protected from the price volatility of crypto transactions. The ability to accept crypto expands a merchant’s sales opportunity into new domestic and international markets where accepting traditional credit cards is not practical. It’s also a way of reducing high fees and increasing payment transparency and efficiency.
For 2021, it was about making it easy for merchants to accept and for consumers to spend crypto.
In 2022, blockchain payments will continue to transform how merchants and consumers send, receive and store money around the world.