Just a month ago the chief currency analyst at JP Morgan Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou told a newspaper, “The virus crisis is propagating the reassessment of Bitcoin. There is a reassessment about its value here as an alternative currency, as an alternative to gold”. His comment, however, shocked few in the money markets. Just a week before, Bitcoin had jumped above $17,000 to a three-year high. It was only a matter of time.
The increase in market investment was driven by demand for Bitcoin’s perceived inflation-resistant qualities. There is no reason to think that growth won’t continue into 2021, as the markets increasingly view Bitcoin as a currency investment. So, who is investing in cryptocurrency as a payment vehicle and as a new e-commerce opportunity?
When PayPal announced it was opening its network to cryptocurrencies, AJ Bell’s investment director hit the nail on the head when he noted “The ultimate endorsement of crypto is whether you can buy your groceries with it and pay taxes with it. That would be the ultimate acceptance”.
Back in 2014, people were able for the first time to buy a car online with Bitcoin. The company Beepi said it was the first peer-to-peer car marketplace to accept virtual currency. But things have moved space since then. Today you can buy a cup of coffee or a loaf of bread, using crypto currency.
“The great advantage of using ForumPay”, says Joshua Tate, CEO of the e-currency payments company, “is that it gives consumers the ability to pay for everyday goods and services in cryptocurrency and the merchants get paid in any currency they prefer. There are no hidden fees for the merchant, no loaded exchange rates for the consumer and no waiting for either of them. The consumer and merchant each know the value of the transaction to them instantly and transparently at the point of sale”. It has been a roaring success. And its advantages over using a credit card from one of the big banks are obvious.
“Whether you are a customer or a merchant, when you use a credit card, there are six people involved in the transaction. With us, you have the consumer, you have ForumPay and you have the merchant, making payment transactions substantially more efficient.
Businessman, philanthropist and angel investor William Erbey explained why he chose to invest in the company. “To me, cryptocurrency was like tulip bulbs. Despite their value, you could not use the currency for anything. But then I read an article about the six characteristics of money, and the one that was missing was acceptability. Crypto simply failed at that.” He continued “You were not able to walk into a store and buy a bunch of flowers or anything with crypto”. In order to make it a usable currency, Erbey needed to invent a way to be able to pay for everyday goods and services.
“At ForumPay, we set out to provide a technology which facilitated payments in everyday life via cryptocurrency, on behalf of merchants who should be agnostic as to the method of payment, as long as they receive what is expected. So it is a blending of the worlds of crypto currency and traditional money”, said Tate in a recent interview.
According to Chris Gollop’s respected ecommerce blog, there are more benefits than disadvantages when it comes to using cryptocurrencies. He lists the advantages of quick transactions, lower fees, stronger security for both merchant and customer, and a broader market, with better user experience via block chain. Chris says the growing popularity of cryptocurrency is because it presents new e-commerce business opportunity.
Changpeng Zhao is a Chinese-Canadian business executive, who is founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto currency exchange, and a huge player in the industry. He had previously helped develop Blockchain.info and worked as chief technology officer of OKCoin. Zhao is currently worth 1.1 billion American dollars. This year the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hired the same company Binance uses, to glean insights from its blockchain, which runs BNB, to keep its own tabs on the blockchain and to deter ‘bad actors’.
“We’re always working closely with regulators and law enforcement worldwide,” Zhao said in an interview for Bloomberg. He says he’s expecting his company to have profits of between $800 million-$1 billion this year – nearly double last year. It is no wonder the influential Crypto Weekly magazine voted Zhao top of its 100 List of movers, shakers and investors in the crypto world.
Jack Dorsy’s background was different. He established himself as the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, and has been advocating Bitcoin since the early days. Having launched a crypto division of Square called Cash App which helps newcomers buy Bitcoin, he is now making plans to lead the way to mass BTC adoption in Africa.
“I think the Internet warrants a native currency and Bitcoin is probably the best manifestation of that thus far.” he told Reuters. “I cannot see I can’t see that changing, given all the people who want the same thing and build it for that potential.”
Known as the King of Crypto, Barry Silbert founded a crypto investment company, the Digital Currency Group, which focuses on the development of a global financial system. This company has accomplished much by investing and supporting Bitcoin and blockchain companies. Recently, it acquired CoinDesk, a leading crypto news publishing website, and also hosts an annual conference of Bitcoin. DCG is currently the leading investment firm in crypto space.
Blyther Masters is the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings. She was a former MD at JP Morgan. DAH is mainly focused on building different tools that can improve crypto trading experiences specifically for bitcoin. DAH made the headlines when it came in partnership with GoogleCloud for providing the tools for cloud services.
Some of the smartest investors are involved with Bitcoin and see the advantages of e-commerce not only as an investment, but as a payment vehicle, which can increase their revenue stream.
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