The latest report released by BitPay states that Bitcoin is significantly shifting away from being a commodity towards an actual currency used to pay for goods and services. The report also reveals that North America remains the largest Bitcoin market, accounting for 57% of global volume, while the total number of Bitcoin transactions more than doubled last year as a result of this transition.
At the same time, the average price per Bitcoin has dropped by about half, which means that as merchant and consumer adoption increases, Bitcoin is increasingly being used as a real payment method.
A growing Industry
Industry figures released in February revealed that the number of retailers accepting Bitcoin as a payment method has surpassed 100,000. Major firms and organizations like Microsoft, Dell, Wikipedia, Twitch, Greenpeace, Expedia and PayPal have also shown interest and are starting to come in. 53% of these 100,000 companies and organizations, accepted Bitcoin payments, totalling more than $150m (£102m) worth of Bitcoin in 2014.
BitPay’s European marketing manager, Wouter Vonk states:
“As bitcoin becomes a more established technology, we expect to see more consumers using it; investors are usually the first ones to hop on new technologies, but as bitcoin becomes more mainstream, and as the amount of transactions increases, we should see bitcoin being used by more and more average consumers.”
The report goes on stating that only 3% of worldwide transaction volume has taken place in South America and Africa, however, the top emerging country in 2014 was Brazil, with 406% merchant sign up growth from the previous year.
Bitcoin is breaking down the barriers to financial tools that many people in emerging countries have access; it is being used in emerging markets as an alternative to the current banking and monetary systems. Bitcoin is also said to be the key to growth in Africa and Latin America for this decade. Africa and Latin America are seen as the emerging markets because the lack of a traditional banking system or the difficult access to it has open a breach where Bitcoin can succeed.