The support of top payment giants like PayPal is promising for building the case of mainstream Bitcoin payments. However, Bitcoin’s rapidly increasing price in the USD poses a tough challenge for the adoption of Bitcoin denominated payment systems. A number of altcoins are rallying alongside Bitcoin, and making payments in cryptocurrencies may not be the preferred choice for many. Just as Nic Carter, Partner at Castle Island Ventures puts it in his talk with Frances Coppola, renowned economist, and author, “I always regret it when I buy stuff with Bitcoin”. With returns of nearly 27.6% YTD, Bitcoin payments may not pick up anytime soon. Denominating Bitcoin in the USD makes it a lucrative investment opportunity and limits its adoption to traders and investors looking at it as a wealth-generating high-risk, high-ROI asset. This limitation is sure to hinder the adoption of Bitcoin denominated payments.
The volatility and network momentum that is critical to Bitcoin’s adoption is a double-edged sword. The same volatility that is increasing the price, is making it less lucrative for traders and individuals to part with their Bitcoin. Through active involvement and buying from institutions, the bull run may receive boosts from time to time, however, the impact may end there. With regard to Bitcoin’s growth, this may not be the ‘Eureka’ moment that maximalists and proponents have waited for. It is more likely that the current price rally is an incentive to trade and adopt, however, adoption may be the game-changer.
Currently, the number of transactions has exceeded the monthly volume since January 2017 based on data from Statista.
The chart shows that the number of transactions in January 2021 has exceeded that of the past 3 years since January 2017. However, even the current transaction volume is nowhere close to the expected transaction volume. When mainstream adoption kicks in, transaction volume and price may no longer be significant metrics, as more critical metrics like transaction processing time, settlement time on exchanges, deposit and withdrawal time to and from wallets would be of greater significance. Until then, Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption may be a pipe dream.