With any new technology, it’s difficult if not impossible to know when usage will flip from a niche market of early adopters to a mass audience of regular users. This is especially true of cryptocurrency, which, after an explosive bubble of hype in 2017 has settled into a now multi-year bear market, with strong opinions and predictions on all sides of the discussion (Bitcoin is dead! Long live Bitcoin!).
But what real-world signs can we see that global acceptance of the technology is actually moving forward? Here are just a few of the recent developments in cryptocurrency adoption.
1. Several US States are moving towards accepting Bitcoin for tax payments
Some might say the ultimate sign of adoption and legitimacy is when governments begin accepting cryptocurrency for tax payments. Most governments are at best warily skeptical and at worst openly hostile towards cryptocurrency. Why would a government accept cryptocurrency unless they saw it as sound money?
Well, several states in the U.S. may be moving in that direction. In fact, the state of Ohio already allows its residents to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. While Ohio may be the first, it doesn’t appear to be the only U.S. state opening the doors to cryptocurrency tax payments. New Hampshire, Indiana, California, and Arizona all have legislation under consideration for legitimizing cryptocurrency tax payments in some form.
While the U.S. federal government probably won’t recognize the legitimacy of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for tax payments any time soon, the fact that individual states are moving in that direction is a huge step forward for cryptocurrency adoption.
The news of growing acceptance by U.S. states mirrors similar developments internationally. The city of Zug, Switzerland, for example, began accepting Bitcoin for municipal fees in 2016, and recently a UK member of parliamentbegan making the case for accepting Bitcoin for tax payments in that country.
2. Argentina begins accepting Bitcoin for public transit fees
Accepting cryptocurrency for taxes may be a huge step forward, but tax payments only happen, at most, a few times per year. What about more daily use cases?
Well, Argentina recently became the first place to accept cryptocurrency for public transit tickets. Argentine commuters can now top up their transit cards using Bitcoin, and considering the country’s recent inflation worries, it may indeed be an option that many people start taking advantage of.
3. Germany’s largest food delivery app now accepts Bitcoin payments
In another significant step forward for daily adoption, Germany’s most popular home food delivery app, Lieferando, recently began accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. The app boasts millions of users and 13,000 restaurants to choose from, and its parent company, Takeaway.com, also allows Bitcoin payments in their other European markets: Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, and Romania.
4. You can now use the lightning network to buy Dominos pizza with Bitcoin
Bitcoin hodlers in the U.S. also have a way to satisfy their munchies now with Lightning Pizza, which allows users to pay for Dominos pizza with Bitcoin anywhere in the States using the Lightning Network. The service, designed to spread cryptocurrency awareness and adoption, gives users a 5% discount on their pizza orders, while settling transactions within 30 seconds and delivering pizzas in 30 minutes.
5. Australian property owners are accepting Bitcoin for real estate sales
If taxes and pizza aren’t enough to persuade you that cryptocurrency adoption is moving forward, how about the use of Bitcoin for the largest purchase most people will ever make in their lifetimes, if ever?
Despite the extended cryptocurrency bear market and volatility concerns, homeowners are still offering their properties for sale in Bitcoin. The trend has been observed particularly in Australia, where properties as high as AU$799,000 have recently been on offer. Recently, a prominent real estate company in Turkey, one of the biggest growing markets for cryptocurrency, also announced their support of Bitcoin for property sales.
6. National governments are using Bitcoin to pay for trade deals
Governments accepting cryptocurrency for taxes is huge, but governments paying their own bills in cryptocurrency is even bigger.
Last month, a trade deal conducted between Argentina and Paraguay was paid for with Bitcoin. While the deal, reportedly for fumigation products, wasn’t worth an incredibly large sum at $7k, the fact that both governments recognize the value of Bitcoin in terms of transaction speed, security, and low fees, enough to complete a trade deal using the cryptocurrency, is a huge signal of its growing legitimization on the global stage.
7. Philippines Central Bank helps launch a two-way Bitcoin ATM
Another governmental authority, in another recent first-ever move, has recognized the value of cryptocurrency by facilitating the installation of a Bitcoin ATM in Manila.
The Philippines Central Bank, Bankgo Sentral, recently partnered with Philippine retail bank UnionBank to launch an ATM allowing users to both buy and sell Bitcoin, recognizing the cryptocurrency’s “potential to revolutionize.”
77% of the Philippine population is reportedly unbanked, and the metropolitan area of Manila, known as Mega Manila, has recently become one of the fastest growing markets for cryptocurrency.
8. Wyoming becomes the first US state to enact comprehensive blockchain-friendly legislation
In another important governmental first, the state of Wyoming recently became the first U.S. state to enact a series of comprehensive pro-cryptocurrency laws.
The legislation, comprising a total of 13 laws, does things like: recognize digital asset property rights, authorizes state support for blockchain banking services, and bring digital assets under the existing commercial legal framework, which is arguably the most business-friendly in the U.S..
9. Latin American countries are adopting cryptocurrency at record rates
Plagued by economic and monetary problems, many residents and even governments of Latin American countries are turning to cryptocurrency as an economic lifeline.
With its current political and economic crisis, Venezuela is often spoken of as an ideal use case for cryptocurrency, and indeed, demand for Bitcoin reached record highs in the country in February, 2019. But Venezuela is far from the only growing cryptocurrency market in Latin America. Public confidence in governmental economic management is notoriously low in many Latin American nations, and Argentina is seen as another important market for cryptocurrency due to similar economic problems.
10. Japan’s largest online retailer is pro-cryptocurrency
Rukuten, often described as the Amazon.com of Japan, recently revised their corporate structure to include a cryptocurrency exchange, and appear to have indicated that the upcoming update of their e-commerce app will support native cryptocurrency payments.
The retail giant recorded $1.3 billion in earnings for 2018 (a 28.4% increase from 2017), and boats 1 billion users around the globe in 29 countries.
Of course, these are just some of the few most visible recent signs of cryptocurrency adoption. All over the globe, people, companies, institutions and governments are moving steadily toward acceptance of cryptocurrencies as not only legitimate but necessary forms of payment and value storage.