Just a decade ago Bitcoin didn’t exist. Five years ago it was still a concept—or by that point a project—on the edges that aroused serious interest only in tech junkies. Today however it’s well known. With financial markets somewhat unstable in the wake of Brexit, the US presidential elections and Turkey’s constitutional reforms, the appeal of Bitcoin is on the rise as more and more people and companies are looking for ways to diversify their wealth, bearing in mind that old adage of plural eggs and singular baskets.
And with a current value of around £1,400 despite having only crossed the £1,080 value mark for the first time ever a fortnight ago, it’s easy to see why so many individuals and companies are looking to a Bitcoin-fuelled future. Some of the first industries to embrace Bitcoin were those found in the same habitat as Bitcoin: the internet. Rather predictably, companies whose existence is owed to the internet and whose products or services are provided via the internet tend to be more open to technological developments than traditional industries.
A company like WordPress, which deals in professional and personal blog writing tools and obviously a net-native company, gladly accepts Bitcoin as payment. The fact that they do business with people across the world adds further incentive. Companies that migrated from bricks and mortar to digital are also often on the cutting edge of technological developments. One of these sectors is the online gaming industry. In addition to companies such as Microsoft and Steam accepting Bitcoin payments alongside fiat currencies, some other game providers have chosen to accept cryptocurrencies exclusively. One of these, Crypto Games, was founded by self-described cryptocurrency fans, who, back in 2014 launched an online casino to cater to players looking for secure online Bitcoin gambling providers. In another sector, innovation-driven company Tesla will happily allow you to pay for their newest model using the cryptocurrency.
As Bitcoin starts to enter the public consciousness more and more frequently it’s even becoming a form of payment accepted at physical locations and in traditional industries. Although founded by a major technophile, Branson’s Virgin Galactic still has a physical presence and is a company accepting Bitcoin. Smaller, independent companies such as pubs and bookshops are starting to accept payment in the cryptocurrency at the owners’ pleasure.
Swindon’s businesses are increasingly focused on capitalising on this growing acceptance of Bitcoin as they move forward into the future. For a customer who pays in cash or with a credit card the idea of paying in Bitcoin in a café may still seem outlandish, but it offers tremendous opportunities to businesses.
Far from it sounding silly, after 35-years working in Swindon the Abbeymead Heating & Plumbing have decided that they’ll happily mend your pipes in exchange for Bitcoin. In nearby Bristol, Italian goods importer and café Divino Deli are just one of the many concerns now accepting the cyrptocurrency. More are sure to follow, locally and nationally. For the uninitiated, a Bitcoin machine has recently opened up in Swindon at Town Gardens in the Quarry Road where users can deposit cash in exchange for Bitcoin in the way one would use a normal cash point.
Bitcoin itself, being a decentralised monetary unit—that is, not legally or otherwise bound to any particular country or bank—can act as the ultimate bridge builder where business is concerned. An old enough reader might recall a time when a trip to Europe meant exchanging money whenever one crossed a border. The simplicity of travel brought about by the introduction of the Euro has propped up the tourism industry as prices become easier for travellers to manage. Bitcoin has the potential to bring those stabilising effects to Swindon and the world but allowing business to interact with clients and customers the world over.