The Future Of Crypto Usage

Digital currencies are being viewed increasingly as trading commodities, rather than new forms of cash. At the same time, however, they are still being used in a variety of functional ways. And as more companies explore accepting digital payments, and more consumers grow comfortable with the specifics, cryptocurrency adoption is only going to increase.

With that in mind, we wanted to look ahead at the near future for cryptos, and some of the ways – beyond trading – that they may be widely used in the coming years.

Online Retail

Some online retailers are already accepting bitcoin, which remains the leading cryptocurrency. Overstock and Shopify are top options, and were among the very first major companies to explore crypto acceptance, having added bitcoin purchasing options in 2014 and 2013, respectively. They’re not alone, though for the most part we’ve seen smaller or more independent online retailers joining the crypto club. However, once more consumers start to realize the safety and convenience that cryptos provide, demand for acceptance may increase. And if at that point more online retailers are comfortable with the price stability of bitcoin and its counterparts, we could well see some significant stores join the likes of Overstock and Shopify.

Online Gaming

The diverse world of online gaming figures to get a boost from digital currencies, too. Already, there are bitcoin-based games (called dApps), like CryptoKitties and Hunter Coin. We’ve also learned that video game giant Ubisoft is developing blockchain-based gaming products with ethereum. Maybe most significantly though, it looks very much as if the onlinecasino gaming space could become a major crypto adopter in the years ahead. Right now, major gaming hubs in Britain and Canada are mostly known for their broad game selections and for the free-play slot options and convenient payment methods that make them so approachable to gamers. But in the name of security, speed, and accountability, a few smaller casino sites have also become known for accepting cryptos. It seems very likely that this will spark a trend, either of new online casinos founded on crypto use, or of adoption by established platforms.

Travel

Cryptos have already had an interesting journey in the travel industry. They were accepted fairly early on by Expedia, but the company eventually halted the practice and went back to exclusively dealing with more traditional payment methods. However, that doesn’t mean bitcoin and other cryptos might not disrupt travel booking. As was stated by one Norm Rose in an article on bitcoin’s potential impact on the travel industry, crypto’s apparent “failure” on Expedia mirrors the acceptance arc of any emerging technology: “It gets overhyped, and then it crashes. Then, slowly, it emerges as an actual, impactful solution.” The crash has happened, and the reemergence is bound to happen next, only gradually (with some booking sites in fact accepting bitcoin today).

Payment for Freelancers

Today, a lot of freelance work platforms function essentially as payment intermediaries. Clients funnel payment through these platforms to get it to their freelance workers, which effectively slows down the process and typically means the platforms take a cut. Cryptos could potentially eliminate this system, giving freelancers and clients a more direct, yet equally secure way to do business. With an option like bitcoin, operating on the blockchain, a freelance worker can expect efficient, secure payments, and ultimately slightly more money, given that the clients won’t have to allow for fees taken by intermediaries. This isn’t something we’ve seen happening a lot just yet, but don’t be surprised if online freelance work markets end up being fairly significant crypto adopters as well.

There is no telling just how much crypto will be used in the future. And again, its most significant impact will be in trading and investment. But the potential of bitcoin (and blockchain, for that matter) to impact various facets of life is undeniable. Expect to see some of the developments listed above, as well as some we probably can’t even imagine yet, in the near future.