Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity worldwide. And while much of this is thanks to their having carved out a place as investment commodities, there is also expanding interest in the actual use of cryptos. They are, after all, still valued for transaction security, transparency, and their decentralized nature, which can all be appealing to both consumers and businesses alike. And this, combined with the fact that more people are gradually becoming more familiar with cryptocurrency, is leading to a slow but sure increase in usage spending opportunities.
This can only make you wonder where people might regularly be spending cryptocurrency in another few years, if and when it becomes more ubiquitous. So we took a stab at a few predictions.
Granted this is a very wide-ranging pick, but it’s also the easiest prediction to make as to what companies might accept digital currencies in the next five years. Cryptos can make for simple additions to retail sites’ existing methods of payment, simply because they’re already operating everything digitally. Furthermore, there’s relatively little risk of confusing customers, or turning away those who aren’t interested in cryptos, because in all likelihood crypto payments would just be new options – not replacements for existing ones.
Food and Coffee
It’s happened so gradually that it’s almost been imperceptible, but food and coffee purchasing has largely gone digital. Just think about lines of people breezing past the cashier at Starbucks scanning their apps to pay for lattes, or people picking up mobile orders at your neighborhood Chipotle. In the next five years, we may well see restaurants and coffee shops like these beginning to accepting cryptos simply as additional digital options (as well as because of the security and protection against fake bills or other unreliable transactions they provide). In fact, it wouldn’t even be entirely surprising to see some major chains establish their own crypto tokens to function within their existing digital apps.
All around the world, gambling has become, primarily, a digital activity. Top casino sites on the international market are based in hubs from New Zealand to Western Europe, and thus reach gamers and bettors from all over the globe. And for the most part, these sites have made immense strides in providing trustworthy and secure services than, say, the less refined gaming sites of the early 2000s. Part of this effort has involved making sure that gamers’ and bettors’ money is handled securely, and already it’s beginning to look like cryptocurrency could represent the next iteration of this ongoing process. With some casino sites already embracing crypto deposits, and a digital, encrypted currency making so much sense in a business striving constantly to establish deeper trust, this area looks ripe for increasing crypto activity.
Cryptocurrencies are hailed by some as the best way to exchange money because they avoid financial institutions and intermediaries large and small – which also means avoiding fees and wait times. This alone should ultimately make them popular for peer-to-peer transactions, such that over the course of the next few years we may see bitcoin and similar options essentially replacing (or potentially partnering with) the likes of Square’s Cash App or Venmo, or other peer-to-peer financial apps. This could also be the primary area in which Facebook’s forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, has an effect, given that the social network has already tried to make its in-message payment option popular.
Just as people conducting more personal exchanges might prefer cryptocurrencies for their security, privacy, and lack of big fees, anyone making a larger purchase – say, a new vehicle or even a new property – will value them for the same reasons. In the next five years we can expect to see the number of large purchases using cryptos shoot up, as more people come to recognize the benefits of cutting out expensive and inefficient intermediaries. This, coupled with the fact that blockchain-based transactions can help lower the risk of scams (though cryptos aren’t immune to scams entirely), may actually make this one of the most significant categories to watch.