There is a constant uncertainty and mystery surrounding bitcoin- a type of digital currency that lets people perform transactions without any middlemen, aka banks or other regulatory/administrative agencies. Ever since bitcoin went open source in 2009, there has been persistent buzz surrounding this controversial virtual currency; while there are those who are finding this new form of currency a boon for performing easy, hassle-free and untraceable transactions, international financial regulatory agencies and governments are treating it like a hazard that is promoting illicit purchases. Whatever side you may be on, bitcoin is surely the currency to look out for. Here is what’s going on in the world of bitcoin.
Bitcoin – Gaining Acceptance with Merchants
With San-Francisco based international payment processor ‘Stripe’ having integrated bitcoin payments into its system after almost a whole year of beta testing that supposedly gave extremely positive and promising results, bitcoin’s infiltration into mainstream commerce systems couldn’t be more apparent. More and more merchants have started accepting bitcoin payments and the reason behind this is purely based on profits.
As per the results obtained during Stripe’s beta testing period with bitcoin payments, it was observed that the merchants received bitcoin payments from more than 60 countries! This clearly demonstrates how better the merchants can connect with potential international customers by accepting bitcoin payments. Stripe will be charging a 0.5% processing fee on every transaction. With Stripe having initiated bitcoin payment integration, other major payment processors are expected to join the bandwagon soon.
Anonymous Transactions- The Biggest Reason behind Bitcoin Success
The biggest reason bitcoin is experiencing such a phenomenal growth internationally is the anonymity associated with it which makes it the most preferred currency for those who do not want their transactions to be back-tracked to them. While every bitcoin transaction is logged in a public distributed ledger, the notes are only made of the participants’ wallet ID’s, not their identities. No wonder, bitcoin is now gaining popularity among those looking to buy illicit drugs anonymously. This is one of the major concerns that make governments apprehensive about bitcoin.
Governments Finding Ways to Regulate Bitcoin
With bitcoin gaining acceptance among mainstream merchants, governments are finding ways to draft regulations that can keep a check on bitcoin transactions and bring them under the purview of law. IRS (Internal Revenue Service) of US has already differentiated between bitcoin purchase through exchanges and bitcoin mining so that tax-payers owning bitcoins do not feel that they need not pay tax on bitcoins. Other governments too are drafting laws to clearly define bitcoin ownership and usage among citizens.
The day is not far when bitcoin will become a commonly used currency for even the most regular of transactions such as grocery shopping and bill payments.
Picture: Jason Benjamin Flickr https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/