It’s often rather difficult to predict exactly how technology will develop and impact our day-to-day lives. Before the release of the iPhone, for example, who would have thought that one day, the “phone” aspect of the device would essentially be an afterthought? In a way, this is what has happened with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well. These fintech resources emerged as intended challengers to fiat currency, but in a matter of years most people stopped thinking of them as money and started thinking of them as commodities – or, in practice, investments.
While bitcoin may be popularly defined as a commodity at this point though, we shouldn’t let that eclipse the fact that it has some real-world utility as well. So here, we’ll take a look at some of the significant types of businesses that have at least explored bitcoin acceptance – or, as with our first example, have simply been affected by the rise of digital currencies.
- The Tech Industry
This is probably the most obvious of the industries affected by cryptos, but the effects might be more wide-ranging than you’d expect. Ever since the advent of cryptos, the prices for computer parts have skyrocketed. This is due at least in part to the fact that bitcoin enthusiasts will often purchase high-end parts for themselves in order to speed up their computer, and therefore, accelerate the rate at which they mine bitcoin. On a related note, the crypto mining has also affected worldwide electricity use in a significant way. We’ve just passed the point at which cryptocurrency miners are using more electricity than the entire country of Switzerland– and it’s only going to increase in the near future (even if most bitcoin has by now been mined).
- The Casino Industry
Now we’ll get into some more positive effects. Casinos have always been rather quick to pick up on new financial trends, and the use of bitcoin has proven to be no exception. And for an industry that revolves so directly around clients having secure ways to use funds, perhaps this should come as no surprise. Right now, the majority of the web’s top casino sites rely on more mainstream payment options like Visa, MasterCard, and even PayPal – coupled with a variety of digital security assurances. Adoption of cryptocurrency, however, more or less comes with those security assurances built in, which is why we have seen some online casinos start to deal in bitcoin. This appears to have been a success so far on a number of sites, so it’s likely that larger platforms will ultimately explore crypto use as well.
- Online Shopping
Plenty of online shopping websites allow a variety of different payment options, but a select few have reacted faster than others to the changing times. Websites like Overstock, Newegg, and others have paved the way when it comes to usage of cryptocurrency, allowing shoppers to spend their cryptos just as easily as they would ordinary money. And at the same time, websites that technically don’t support cryptos are getting back-doored into compatibility, in a sense. Just take a look at how Purse.io works for proof. This site acts as a middleman between bitcoin owners and online shopping giant Amazon, making Amazon’s enormous stock available for crypto purchasing despite a lack of official support.
Crossing over one surprising tech innovation with another, ridesharing services have changed the transportation industry as a whole. We went from a world where getting into a stranger’s car was an unthinkable concept to having it be a common part of everyday life. Now, we’re seeing this development and that of cryptocurrency intersecting, with some ride share apps beginning to allow crypto funds. Right now it’s primarily through some of the lesser-known rideshare apps that we’re seeing this development – though it’s worth noting that Uber and Lyft recently partnered with Facebook to help develop the new Libra cryptocurrency – which means even the big ridesharing players could soon be in on the action.