Mass Adoption: Slowly but Surely!
Throughout 2019 so far there have been many businesses and corporations that have publicly announced that they are in some way working with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in hopes of improving their business and moving forward technologically. Recently Fidelity Investments announced that they would be rolling out some cryptocurrency trading options for their customers. Facebook’s “GlobalCoin” is currently being developed as a stable coin for use over the Facebook platform. On top of both of these large companies moving forward in the cryptocurrency space, some companies like AT&T, Starbucks, GameStop, Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods, and many more are in the process of accepting bitcoin in their stores as a method of payment by the end of the year. Throughout this article I hope to break down the recent developments of these companies in the cryptocurrency space.
In the beginning of May, Fidelity Investments spoke to Bloomberg disclosing some information about bitcoin trading on their platform. Fidelity spokesperson Arlene Roberts told Bloomberg “We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on the platform. We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdiction, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.” While Fidelity Investments is primarily focusing on Bitcoin trading, it is a positive development for public perception that a large institution like Fidelity is stepping into the space. Fidelity also emphasized that it was primarily focused on rolling Bitcoin services out to their institutional customers, as Yogita Khatri from CoinDesk reports that “around 22% of investors have some exposure to digital assets” according to a Fidelity survey. Fidelity Investments has also added a “Beyond Bitcoin” page on their website with some educational content about bitcoin and blockchain technology. On top of this recent development from Fidelity, they also launched a cryptocurrency custody program earlier this year. It is also rumored that E*TRADE Financial and TD Ameritrade are going to soon roll out some support for cryptocurrencies.
Moving on to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has been busy with some blockchain technology of his own. Currently according to the BBC, the official launch of Facebook’s GlobalCoin is planned for Q1 of 2020. While there is a lot of room for marketing and general understanding of cryptocurrencies before Facebook’s coin launch, Zuckerberg and Facebook are looking to make payments faster, and easier for the average consumer. On top of making payments easier, Facebook is also looking to make general money transfers easier, marketing to people who do not have access to bank accounts. On top of making payments faster, and easier, Facebook is looking to make the GlobalCoin cryptocurrency a secure network and platform, where users can exchange dollars and other currencies for GlobalCoin. Facebook has not been clear about exchange expectations, but it can be assumed they will work with closely with regulators to provide some exchange options. There have been some rumors regarding some online merchants accepting Facebook’s GlobalCoin, but nothing confirmed yet. Facebook has publicly stated that they are going to work with some merchants to integrate GlobalCoin so there can be some legitimate usage, but have not mentioned any names yet. Facebook was in the news regarding GlobalCoin recently as they are currently in the beginning of communicating with the CTFC to better understand the regulatory framework present for Facebook’s GlobalCoin.
A writer for Forbes, Michael del Castillo wrote on May 13th, 2019 that “receipts provided to Forbes from a few of the hundreds of beta app testers confirmed that crypto purchases were made at GameStop, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Whole Foods.” Forbes also reported that “emails from Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, and Nordstrom were also provided by Flexa to confirm the stores’ participation in the project” which are all massive consumer retail stores. This project lead by the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and Flexa, the company that built these applications for payment processing. Throughout the data gathered on the beta testers of this project “89% of the beta users spent cryptocurrency at one of the locations announced today, according to Flexa data” and “81% of those spending multiple times at more than one location” (Michael del Castillo). This project is exciting for retail usage, and it will be a huge step towards a cryptographic adoption type of event. The list of companies that are now officially accepting bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin cash, zcash, and the Gemini Dollar (GUSD) are Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Carte & Barrel, Express, GameStop Jamba Juice, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot & OfficeMax, Petco, Regal Cinemas, Ulta Beauty and Whole Foods Market. These retail locations making the shift to accept multiple forms of cryptocurrency is massive for adoption. Not only is this positive for general cryptocurrency usage, but it will also slowly shift the general public’s perception in a positive way towards cryptocurrencies, and hopefully begin to educate the masses.
The push for more retail business to accept cryptocurrency is long overdue, and will likely begin to shock the traditional financial systems. The fees for cryptocurrency payments have the potential to be cheaper than credit or debit card payments, as well as completely circumventing traditional financial systems like banks. Larger institutions like Fidelity and Facebook getting involved in their own individual ways is positive for many ways already mentioned throughout this article, but hopefully it also leads to better regulation around the space. Facebook meeting with the CTFC about their GlobalCoin is a positive development, and hopefully the regulatory environment surrounding cryptocurrency continues to improve with the help of companies and experts. In summary, throughout 2019 so far many businesses and institutions have started to implement cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in some way. This is exciting for many reasons, and hopefully begins to shift public perception towards cryptocurrencies as a whole.
To conclude, as a friend of @TraderStacking would say, “The Virus is Spreading.”
Written by @DragonBTC.
DragonBTC is a technical analyst, writer, and Digital Den contributor who discovered bitcoin back in 2016. Read up more about DragonBTC, here.