Will Bitcoin ever become mainstream ??? Will we ever see a “Visa/Mastercard/Discover/Amex/Bitcoin” accepted here signs on many of your local merchant doors ???
Although Bitcoin is well known, and strongly supported by some, it is hardly mainstream, yet. What will be the one thing that brings Bitcoin to equal standing with other common forms of tender like credit cards? And, if that were to happen, what kind of time frame are we looking at ?
I think… the one main thing that needs to happen for Bitcoin to become mainstream is… for employers to embrace the acceptance of Bitcoin, and offer employees the option of getting paid in Bitcoins. Ideally, employers would offer the ability to split-tender net pay between USD and Bitcoin.
To me, it really doesn’t make much sense for the average Joe to earn USD, then have to purchase Bitcoin to spend. Bitcoin miners, like myself, of course make their own Bitcoin, so there is no conversion involved. Even though I support Bitcoin, I can not see myself spending USD to purchase Bitcoin for my consuming needs, when I have checking, debit, and credit cards to do so. So, unless I was sending 5-million overseas, I see no advantage to convert my USD to Bitcoin just to purchase a loaf of bread, or buy a tankful of fuel, when I could more easily just use USD cash, debit or credit.
Now, closely following the 1st. thing (Bitcoin wages)… is the general public needs to be educated on the advantages of using Bitcoin. Let’s list those here:
Well… come to think of it, there are no real advantages… yet. Why… because many merchants don’t accept Bitcoin, and because merchants don’t offer any incentives for consumers to use Bitcoin. However, and this is under the education effort… I think if merchants understood the advantages of ACCEPTING Bitcoin, and incentivizing consumers to use Bitcoin, then more consumers would use Bitcoin. The simplest way to get merchants to become interested in accepting Bitcoin, is to whisper the most hated aspect of accepting the other forms of electronic tender… “chargebacks” ! Credit card chargebacks are the necessary evil of merchants accepting electronic tender. Chargebacks are costly, frustrating, and many times are tantamount to theft of goods and/or services. And of course this cost is passed on to ALL consumers in the form of higher prices.
What if… consumers were offered a discount for using Bitcoin. A discount much like we have all seen many merchants give for using cash. Most merchants will incentivize consumers to use cash because they know that: a) there will be no chargeback, and b) they don’t have the added cost of the bank transaction fee. That’s what most would call a win/win for both parties to the transaction.
So… what can YOU do to support increased use of Bitcoin ?
1) Talk to your employer about looking into payment of wages in Bitcoin. This will need to be a small portion of your wages at first, until the acceptance becomes more widespread. Most employers now offer to direct deposit your wages to at least 2 different accounts.
2) Start asking the merchants you do business with if they take Bitcoin, and if not… whisper the word Chargeback in their ear.
3) And lastly, if you’re new to Bitcoin yourself… try it out. Purchase some Bitcoin and see that it can be as convenient as credit cards to use. Remember… the more educated people become, the more merchants will become aware, and the closer YOU become to getting discounts on the things you buy everyday.
Now, one thing I could have listed under advantages to the consumer would have been “security”. That’s an involved discussion. However, in short, when you partake in a transaction with credit/debit cards, as you well know, your personal information travels with the transaction, and such is also stored at the financial institution which issues the account, as well as perhaps the merchant POS systems. With a Bitcoin transaction, it doesn’t matter who you are, just that you have the available Bitcoin balance to cover the purchase amount. So, in that respect, you are less susceptible to credit card fraud, and/or identity theft by using Bitcoin. But like I said, the security aspect of using Bitcoin is an involved discussion, with opinions on both sides of the issue. It would be best to do your own research, and form your own opinion, about any security advantages or disadvantages of using Bitcoin relative to security. Think of Bitcoin as electronic cash. Just like there are (security) disadvantages of using cash, the same applies to Bitcoin. You certainly protect any cash you have… and you need to protect any Bitcoin you may have also, with the same degree of precaution.
Have an opinion of your own? Post a reply. The more Bitcoin is discussed, the more known it will be.