To say Bitcoin has had a rollercoaster year so far in 2017 would be an understatement. Read the financial headlines on any given week and it seems like it’s either boom or bust for the world’s leading cryptocurrency. For instance, on March 17, 2017, CNBC published a story that outlined how Bitcoin’s market value dropped by $2 billion due to a debate in how transactions were being processed.
With some suggesting the blockchain in its current state is flawed, the market reacted by dropping the price of a single Bitcoin from $1,255 to $1,142 over the course of three days. In contrast, if you fast-forward to April 17, the same news network reported that Bitcoin’s value jumped by $1 billion thanks to Japan’s recent regulation that now classes it as a legal payment method.
While financial analysts and Bitcoin experts will continue to track and debate the value of the currency over the coming months, the main story when it comes to general consumers is that Bitcoin is now a thing even for mainstream audiences. When Satoshi Nakamoto first published the whitepaper on Bitcoin before it went live in 2009, it failed to break into the mainstream straight away. In fact, Bitcoin remained in the wilderness for more than five years before things started to change.
Today, although the world still hasn’t made Bitcoin its standard currency, more people are using it and, more importantly, more industries are using it too. As we know, where the major corporations move, consumers typically follow and in 2017 there are plenty of ways people can pay with Bitcoin. One industry that’s been on the Bitcoin bandwagon for a while is iGaming. Take a look at any of the leading online casino sites and you’ll see that one thing really matters to players more than anything else: security.
At 32Red Casino online, players are given a number features designed to keep them safe. For example, as well as receiving certificates of fairness and licenses from agencies such as eCOGRA and the UK Gambling Commission, 32Red Casino uses SSL encryption to protect its player’s personal data and their financial transactions. These features are commonplace among leading casino sites like 32Red because players value their privacy and, moreover, their bankroll.
Because of this, Bitcoin is now being utilized by a number of platforms. As well as being a self-regulating currency system, Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. Because users don’t have to input any personal details to make a deposit or withdrawal, they’re less likely to have their funds stolen by a cybercriminal. This is a huge benefit for online casino players and one of the reasons Bitcoin is becoming popular in the industry.
Another industry that’s driving the currency growth of Bitcoin is banking. Seeing the potential in blockchain technology, banks such as Barclays in the UK and UBS have started experimenting with new processing methods. When a payment is made, a bank will put the transaction through various processes to verify it and then clear (authorize) it. This process is one that can take several days using the current T+2 and T+3 systems.
Indeed, if we go back to our previous look at the world of iGaming, casinos such as PlayOJO and Mr Smith offer a variety of withdrawal methods. At the former, players have to withdraw at least $20 using Visa, while the latter has a minimum limit of $10. In either instance, the site will process the request within 24 hours. Unfortunately, players still have to wait between three and five days to get their funds because of the processes their banks use to clear the transactions.
In contrast, the average processing time for confirming a Bitcoin transaction is 10 minutes. Using the above example, this means that players would be able to get their funds within a few hours rather than a few days. The same is also true in other industries and it’s one of the reasons banks are now looking to harness the power of blockchain technology.
Seeds of Change Are Starting to Grow
If institutions like UBS can move away from their old systems and use one that can verify payments instantly, it would benefit everyone. Businesses would be able to receive customer payments in less time and could therefore process orders in less time. Banks would also be able to improve their own businesses by streamlining their networks, reducing costs and, because blockchain is automated, enhance security.
As you can see, Bitcoin is providing a platform for a more secure, more efficient payment system and industries around the world are starting to embrace this. Although there may be a way to go before everyone ditches their traditional currencies in favor of a virtual one, the seeds that were planted back in 2009 have started to sprout in 2017 – and that should mean we’ll being seeing more developments in the coming years.