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Businesses Need to Start Taking Bitcoin Seriously

Cryptocurrencies might not be an entirely new concept, but over the last 12 months the rise of Bitcoin and its peers has become a major story in the business world. When Satoshi Nakamoto first published his (the exact identity of the author isn't known) paper on Bitcoin back in 2008 it was hailed as "the future" for payment processors.

Indeed, after the open-source software was released in 2009 it looked as though Bitcoin would become a natural choice for businesses and consumers within a few years. Unfortunately, following an initial spike, its popularity waned as it didn't quite pique the interests of the masses as many thought it would.

However, that slump certainly wasn't the end of cryptocurrencies. In fact, today you'll find that Bitcoin is now accepted in a plethora of places online. Not only that, but people wishing to use an alternative can now choose from hundreds of options (740+ and counting), including: Litecoin (2011), Mastercoin (2013) and Sunny King's Primecoin (2013).

     Breaking Down Cryptocurrencies

So what are cryptocurrencies? In simple terms, they are virtual units of currency that are created, stored and exchanged online. Each unit of currency is created through a process of mathematical calculations known as mining. The number of units in the network helps to determine the value of each unit, while cryptography is used to secure both the creation and transference of them.

The reason cryptocurrencies are popular is because unlike traditional currencies that were established before the Internet, each unit is perfectly designed for use online. Indeed, Bitcoin is seen as a highly secure and efficient payment option and that's why it's becoming big news in the business world.

Although the price fluctuates, a single Bitcoin was worth 513/$681 at the start of July 2016. When you compare this to the value of 5,000 Bitcoins back in 2009 ($27), you can see how Bitcoin's increased popularity has helped to boost its value. Naturally, with more people starting to appreciate the benefits of cryptocurrency, it's easy to see why major businesses are now offering it as a payment option.

     Ways to Pay with Bitcoin

At one end of the spectrum you'll find websites like that only deal in Bitcoin. Offering an alternative to traditional online casino currencies such as dollars and Euros, Vegas Casino's bonuses and games are only available in Bitcoin. This means you deposit, play and withdraw funds using nothing but the cryptocurrency.

For online gamers this is great because casino gaming can often involve large sums of money which means security is paramount. Bitcoin helps to enhance the overall security of a site and that, in turn, is why it's becoming popular with online gamblers.

At the other end of the spectrum are companies like Microsoft, Amazon and British Airways. Instead of going all-in with their cryptocurrency payment options, these brands are starting to integrate them alongside more traditional methods. For example, if you want to purchase apps, games or digital content for Microsoft products such as Xbox, Windows or Windows Phones, you can now set "Pay with Bitcoin" as your payment preference.

     Bitcoin: The Next Frontier for Businesses

As it stands, the next frontier for online businesses should be the desire to take a leaf out of Microsoft's book and add at least one cryptocurrency payment option to their platform.

However, as the industry evolves and the general public start to accept that Bitcoin and its peers offer a safer way to pay, there's no reason sites can't become cryptocurrency-only. While it may take some time for this to happen, the evidence suggests it will and that means businesses need to react now to avoid getting left behind.



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