Bitcoin, since its inception in 2009 has faced an uphill task to reach where it is now. Initially, most people didn’t have a clue about bitcoin, but those who understood and realized its true potential started working on creating businesses and services around it. Bitcoin has now come to a point where it is on the verge of becoming a mainstream payment option. Thanks to entrepreneurs and early adopters who went out of their way to simplify the process so that people can easily understand and use bitcoin for their everyday transactions.
Nowadays, we hear news about companies and even governments adopting and offering bitcoin based payment methods to the public. Rakuten, Dell, Time Inc. and even the state of New Hampshire in US is planning to accept taxes in the form of bitcoin. With the entry of new players like Bitreserve and BitPesa, the money transfer and remittance market is seeing a rapid change. These bitcoin based money transfer services have the industry heavyweights like Western Union and MoneyGram under pressure to innovate or bite the dust.
It is worthwhile to mention few such companies helping bitcoin enter the mainstream economy.
Coinbase is playing a huge role in bringing bitcoin payments to mainstream by partnering with multinational giants like Dell and Time Inc. Coinbase launched its US based bitcoin exchange with over $100 million investor backed funds. They allow customers in the US to buy and sell bitcoin on their platform. They are also facilitators of bitcoin-based transactions for other companies. They help them convert bitcoin payments to fiat currency.
In the recent turn of events, hackers have hit two large bitcoin exchanges — Mt. Gox and Bitstamp. These exchanges have put together lost over 550 million USD to hackers and cybercriminals, Coinbase promises that it will keep its customers safe by working with safety regulators and providing insurance, to build trust with its users.
Bitrated is another bitcoin based payment processor that offers escrow like services. Bitrated is similar to eBay’s PaisaPay in few aspects. It uses multi-signature transaction involving a third party known as trust agent. One of the drawbacks of bitcoin transactions, unlike normal card transactions is the inability to initiate chargebacks once a customer pays for a product or service with bitcoin. Until now, this issue had prevented people from paying with bitcoin while shopping on an online store. Now, Bitrated is about to change it.
When someone makes a purchase using Bitrated payment solution, the processor will withhold the payment (bitcoin) and will release it to the vendor only after he fulfills the order. Bitrated requires two signatures out of three to unlock the payment (buyer, seller or trust agent). If customer is not satisfied and raises a dispute, then the trust agent initiates arbitration to solve the issue.
Bitreserve is on its way to create a revolution in the way money transfer happens. Bitreserve allows users to deposit, send or receive bitcoin anywhere in the world without being affected by bitcoin’s market volatility. Fluctuating bitcoin price is a concern while making transactions with bitcoin. For example, if you receive a payment of $262 in the form of bitcoin for your services (that will be 1 BTC according to current value) and the price drops to $250 by the time to exchange it or decide to spend it on something. In this case, you will be losing about $12 due to price fluctuation. So far, this risk has been a deterrent, but Bitreserve allows the user to convert bitcoin to its corresponding value in any of the 8 currencies it currently supports for a nominal one-time fee of 0.45%. You can then do whatever you want with the funds available in your Bitreserve account.
Bitreserve allows users to transfer bitcoin to anyone across the world and that person upon receipt can convert it into his/her currency of choice.
There are other services like TipperCoin, ChangeTip and Blockai. They have made micropayments and tipping easy. One can easily send a bitcoin tip to someone by just sending a Tweet or a Facebook comment.
All these bitcoin based services have covered everything that bitcoin needs to go mainstream, while alleviating the fear among public. People are realizing the impact bitcoin and other digital currencies can have on financial reforms and global economy. There are many reports calling for governments and financial bodies to adopt bitcoin technology to keep up with the current trends and needs of the global economy.