Bitcoin’s mainstream acceptance has been a subject of heated debate among major stakeholders in the global financial system. The virtual currency’s acceptance is on the rise. Moreover, there is considerable evidence that bitcoin might eventually become mainstream.
Before that can happen, though, more understanding on the viability of bitcoin as a currency that can be used to pay for goods and services is necessary among the public and merchants. This will also help roll back the effects of the negative image some people have about the currency due to its association with criminal enterprises on the Internet. Already, major world governments are giving the currency a stamp of approval, but more is needed before bitcoin goes mainstream.
Uncertainty over bitcoin’s regulation is one of the greatest barriers to its acceptance. Bitcoin needs to win over major world governments and get recognition as a currency. Other barriers include the lack of easy access around the globe, and the failure of some business entities to accept bitcoin payments.
Bitcoin markets became popular after its main underlying principles proved to be valid in real-life financial situations. To begin with, bitcoin set itself apart from other major virtual currencies by having applications that extended beyond the virtual world. Unlike some virtual currencies such as Second Life’s Linden Dollars, bitcoins could be used outside a virtual platform created by the currency’s developer. This immediately gave bitcoin a head start.
Additionally, some governments initially strongly opposed to the use of this currency for settling financial transactions softened their stands or gave the use of bitcoin a greenlight. More importantly, bitcoin boasts of a strong security system in addition to offering fast and cheaper ways of paying for goods and services, something most people appreciate.
Obviously, bitcoin will not become a mainstream currency overnight, and probably not in 2015. Nevertheless, if the current trend is anything to go by, 2015 might be the greatest year yet for bitcoin in terms of acceptance. 2014 witnessed the adoption of bitcoin as a viable payment processor among several major retail outlets such as Overstock.com, PayPal and Microsoft. Consequently, 2015 is likely to experience the addition of major online businesses to the list of companies that accept bitcoin payments.
There are very clear signs that bitcoin is going mainstream. Governments around the world are officially recognizing the virtual currency as a valid payment mode and merchants are starting to accept bitcoin in exchange for goods and services. However, additional effort is needed before bitcoin becomes a mainstream currency. For instance, more acceptance from merchants and additional government approval from around the globe.
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