From unrealistic to realistic
For many years, buying or implementing cryptocurrencies has been considered unrealistic among publicly traded companies due to the high volatility.
However, during the past couple of years, fueled by the economic after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, that "unrealistic" action has become way more realistic. Many large companies have started to either hold bitcoins or accept bitcoins as a payment method. Gasoline was thrown on the fire when MicroStrategy first bought $425 worth of Bitcoin in the fall of 2020. Other big companies followed, including the fintech company Square (now Block) and the EV manufacturer Tesla. Not only do companies hold Bitcoin, but many large companies have begun to accept cryptocurrency as a payment.
Cryptocurrency as payment
Bitcoin has dominated the cryptocurrency market for years and has gained more and more attention within the last couple of years. Bitcoin has become a legitimate source of funds for many companies. You can, for instance, top-up your Microsoft account using cryptocurrency. However, Microsoft is not the only company beginning to accept cryptocurrencies. A study conducted by Hartford Steam Boiler showed that around 1/3 of small to medium-sized companies in the States are now accepting Bitcoin as payment for products, services, and goods. Let's dig into which companies have started to accept cryptocurrencies.
Companies that accept crypto
Not only can you top up your Microsoft account, but you can also use your Bitcoin as payment for other services, such as X-box Live, Microsoft Apps, and games.
PayPal has entered the crypto market to remain one of the top players in the financial technology sector. With PayPal, it is now possible to buy and sell cryptocurrency, but not only that. You can also pay with currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin cash, in stores that accept PayPal payments.
What is better than a well-made coffee in the morning? Maybe – a well-made coffee paid with crypto? Starbucks has also entered the crypto market. But, it is still not possible to pay directly with your crypto. You have to use a third-party digital wallet, Bakkt, which will convert your Bitcoin for dollars, which is accepted for use in merchant partners – including Starbucks.
Twitch, the enormous Amazon-owned streaming platform, also accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, and Ethereum. Twitch was one of the earliest adopters of crypto. They started accepting crypto in 2014. However, they removed it again in 2019. In 2020 they did nevertheless start accepting cryptocurrencies again. A bit of a rollercoaster ride for Twitch and crypto, but here we are – they are accepting crypto once again.
The effect of Elon Musk buying Twitter on crypto
Hopefully, this is not a surprise when you're reading this, but Elon Musk has bought Twitter. And hopefully, it is not a surprise that Elon Musk is a fan of the idea of digital currency. At least, that is what he is signaling. Twitter. And Tesla's holding of Bitcoin gives a pretty good indication as well.
But what does the latest Twitter deal mean for the crypto market?
One of the most significant moves Musk could make is pushing Twitter to buy Bitcoin (or other currencies) as an asset. Similarly, he had done this at Tesla and SpaceX. It would be a big move for the crypto community since Twitter is a powerful platform among US politicians and journalists.
We cannot speak of Elon Musk and cryptocurrencies without mentioning Dogecoin - the "meme coin" which rallied more than 30% after the news of Musk's Twitter takeover. Musk has shared his passion for the meme coin many times on Twitter. In 2021, he tweeted that he would send a physical Dogecoin to the moon, which did send the coin up 75% within a short time. So due to Musk's passion for Dogecoin, his Twitter takeover could be potentially good news for Dogecoin owners.
From a more fundamental perspective, the crypto-community is watching how Musk could reimage Twitter into a more decentralized social media platform. Bluesky, an internal project, is focused on creating a more decentralized social media platform. By the way, the former CEO and co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, is on board and is a very pro-crypto person.
One of Elon's highest priorities is to remove bots from Twitter. It is widely suggested that users could transfer a small fraction of Bitcoin via the lightning network as a security deposit to get some verification.
But for now, it is pure speculation, and we can do nothing but wait to see what the future brings. Exciting times are approaching, both for Twitter and the implementation of cryptocurrency in the social media world. The crypto community is bullish on Elon leading Twitter leading to faster and broader adoption of Bitcoin and other digital assets.
The bigger picture
Let's jump into the helicopter, zoom out and look at the bigger picture. We should, by now, have an idea of the direction that cryptocurrencies are moving on a company scale. But let's zoom out and look at it from a larger scale.
Bitcoin was introduced to the financial world in 2009. Today, tax authorities, enforcement agencies, and regulators are still debating the usage of digital currency globally. Whether you can use Bitcoin or not depends on the country you live in. Some countries may have a complete ban on Bitcoin, whereas, in other countries, it may be completely legal.
Legal in countries
United States of America
The U.S Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (a long name, sorry) has been guiding on how to deal and operate with cryptocurrency since 2013. They even defined Bitcoin as "a convertible currency with an equivalent value in real currency or one that can act as a substitute for real currency." It can not be a surprise that crypto is legal in the US since the four companies mentioned beforehand are all American.
The European Union
It is not illegal to use Bitcoin within the EU. However, the European Bank Authority keeps stating that cryptocurrency usage is outside control. Furthermore, they warn the public and businesses about crypto usage due to the higher risk compared to the risk of regular fiat money. In 2020, the European Commission suggested a new proposal for cryptocurrency legislation, which has been endorsed by many within the union. The proposal was made to help regulators keep the same framework and to help all financial institutions to be on the same level.
Other countries in which cryptocurrency is legal to include Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and the UK. Oh, and do not forget El Salvador, the first country to declare Bitcoin a legal tender.
Illegal in countries
While Bitcoin is accepted in large regions of the world, several countries are cautious about its volatility and decentralized nature. The Library of Congress identified up to 42 countries with an implicit ban on cryptocurrencies, many of which are in Africa. Furthermore, nine countries have a complete ban on digital currency. China is, no doubt, the biggest of those nine countries.
Let's round it up
Hopefully, it is clear by now that the adaption of crypto is moving fast forward. Companies not only keep Bitcoin as an investment, but they are also beginning to implement crypto as a payment method. The fashion giant Gucci is the latest to do so (the 5th of May). Gucci is now accepting cryptocurrency as payment. Marco Bizzari (CEO of Gucci) stated, "now that we can integrate cryptocurrencies within our payment system, it is a natural evolution for those customers who would like to have this option available to them."
I want to highlight Bizzari's usage of the word "natural." I believe that implementing and accepting cryptocurrency as payment will become a natural move for many big brands in the near future. The movement we are witnessing within the financial sector is also a significant indicator of our direction. Companies like Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and Block are all battling to become the leading and first choice within the crypto-sector. Suppose we add brands like Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Meta to the equation. In that case, it is no doubt that the crypto revolution is coming. However, with that said, it is needed to become a globally accepted and regulated movement to become a natural evolution for brands, companies, and countries.
This text is intended to inform and is not an investment recommendation.
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