Despite The Slowed Adoption, Merchants Say They Processed Nearly $1,5 Billion Worth Of Cryptocurrencies In 2019

The crypto sector managed to get out of the crypto winter of 2018 with almost doubled results. Meanwhile, retail businesses see gains in crypto usage, with Bitcoin leading the pack. Bill Zielke, CMO at BitPay, reported $1 billion worth of cryptos, processed by the payment company in 2019. Bitcoin (BTC) is still the preferred way to enter crypto commerce, with Ethereum and Ripple way behind. Coinbase recorded a six-fold increase in transactions to and from its Coinbase Commerce payment solution in 2019, as opposed to 2018.

Chainalysis, a crypto research company, estimated that payment processors processed nearly $4 billion worth of Bitcoin over the past year. However, the rate of adoption for the entire crypto sector is slow, as opposed to the $3,7 trillion credit card purchases, reported by the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

Sahil Amoli, an engineer at Coinbase, commented that Coinbase would continue to seek further ways of improving and scaling its commerce platform in 2020.

“Coinbase will provide an end-to-end merchant solution to enhance both business and retail experience, as well as bring vital insights about cash flow. We will expand not only geographically, but also monetary, with more currencies and stress-free integration with other Coinbase services”, Amoli clarified.

It turns out Bitcoin sits behind a broader market expansion, as Fold CEO Will Reeves noted that 80 percent of the 2000+ through the Fold app was made on the Lightning Network. The Lightning Network resembles an instant payment blockchain, based on the original Bitcoin scripting.

“The largest shopping giants, like Sephora, Starbucks, or Amazon, managed to get on the Lightning train, as they were the most gifted brands by their users,” Reeves added. Furthermore, Lightning users can now utilize Zap’s Strike application, which allows U.S. dollar instant payments over the Lightning Network.

“Apart from speculative trading, it is maybe a bit too soon for Bitcoin to enter the commerce sector,” noted luxury lingerie business owner Jean-Michel Daumas. Daumas and his business are Coinbase Commerce customers. However, Lola Luna’s owner clarified that the shop receives no more than four crypto payments per month.

“Cryptocurrencies are considered as a status symbol, so users tend to buy luxury items with them – jewelry, high-tech products, or precious metals,” BitPay spokesperson added. “Crypto users are mostly active around the Christmas holidays, which has nothing to do with Bitcoin’s price,” Lola Luna’s owner concluded.

The controversial lingerie brand, best known for their open G-string models and “open” bras, may be considered a bit too extreme to occur on a credit card history. However, Daumas noted that it’s too early to make general statements about trends.

Territory-wise, Europe and the Middle East lead in the field of high-value transactions. North America, however, accounts for the highest number of unique transactions. 

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