With each passing day, the bitcoin community continues to grow in strength. The niche community that had about 1.3 million members in 2014 is set to increase over threefold to hit 4.7 million by 2019.
A study conducted by Juniper Research states that the adoption of bitcoin as a payment option for online purchases would not make much difference to the user base or transactions. Due to slow consumer adoption, the growth in the number of customers using bitcoin to pay for their online purchases will be negligible. The report advises retail companies not to bother too much about facilitating bitcoin payments on their sites. It advises them to focus on implementing other emerging payment technologies.
According to Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper states — Bitcoin is neither a key differentiator nor a unique selling point for retailers. Retailers should instead focus on other emerging payment options like Apple Pay that deal with fiat currency rather than pursuing cryptocurrency based payment options.
The Future of Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin & Altcoin Impact & Opportunities 2015-2019, authored by Holden predicts the bitcoin community to reach 4.7 million by 2019. In spite of huge growth in the user base, bitcoin transactions will remain relatively unchanged. According to the prediction, the total sum of transaction values will drop this year due to concerns over bitcoin’s future. The drop will be followed by a gradual increase through 2019.
The volatile nature of bitcoin price combined with issues of theft and missing funds faced by exchanges and ignorance about bitcoin among consumers are preventing bitcoin from entering the mainstream economy. Due to these issues, the bitcoin community remains a niche user group.
On the brighter side, the volatility issue plaguing bitcoin is likely to result in few short/medium term regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges.