Even though it seems like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been around for years (which they have, with Bitcoin being launched back in 2010), they only truly came into the spotlight around 2017, when Bitcoin, in particular, saw a huge price surge. That sort of price rise has been tempered in recent times, but 2020 has still been quite an encouraging year for those who believe that cryptocurrencies and digital currencies are the future of our financial and economic systems.
The ongoing pandemic has contributed to this as well, as quite a few people have taken to looking at digital investments during this time. At the same time, there has also been much greater adoption by several sectors, with many online portals and merchants beginning to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. Leading the way in this regard is the online gambling sector. Online gambling has seen a rise in interest in 2020 due to the pandemic, which has led to land-based casinos being closed almost everywhere globally. Many casinos have taken advantage of this increased interest to also begin to push the usage of cryptocurrencies on their sites, with users able not only to play casino games for bitcoin but also to make deposits and withdraw their winnings to the crypto asset of their choice. This has led to many crypto users beginning to use online gambling websites as well, and could be a template for other sectors to follow.
Nevertheless, this is not the only reason for increased interest in cryptocurrencies this year. Governments, central banks, financial institutions and the media have all been paying a lot more attention to this space, which, in turn, has led the general public to be interested as well. Bitcoin saw a huge fall in price earlier this year too, which fueled a lot of buying interest as people looked to pick it up for cheap. All of this points to the fact that digital currencies are not just a fad, and are here to stay. In fact, research is projecting that 2021 could be a huge year for this space.
One of the biggest bits of news which supports this assertion is the announcement by PayPal, that it would begin supporting cryptocurrencies on its platform from next year. While this will be restricted to the USA for now, the company aims to roll it out globally during 2021. This will definitely bring cryptocurrencies into a lot more households and make it a part of many more conversations, given the reach that PayPal has all over the world. This new feature will allow users to use Bitcoin and other supported cryptocurrencies like they would use regular currencies on the platform, while it will also be supported at the thousands of merchants which use PayPal.
The company will convert cryptocurrencies into the relevant local currency for payment to the merchant whenever a user makes a payment using crypto, so the end payment will be in fiat currency, but it is bound to increase the usage and transaction value of cryptocurrencies. Younger people are especially more likely to use cryptocurrencies, and this is supported by a recent report by JPMorgan, which said that millennials are likelier to invest in crypto than they are in gold, which shows that the shift towards digital currencies is well and truly underway.
Digital currencies are much more accessible today, and this ease of access is improving as time passes. As these currencies become more stable, expect more and more people to begin moving money into them as a store of value, due to fiat currencies being volatile and open to manipulation by central banks and governments. While it is still some time before cryptocurrencies can replace fiat currency, they are definitely in line to be adopted and used a lot more than earlier certainly in 2021.
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