Services are developing, the Bitcoin network is growing bigger, transactions are increasing and more and more merchants are accepting Bitcoin. We could very well be on the verge of mainstream adoption. 2014 has been the year of growth of the Bitcoin infrastructure which is a good thing! For the public to accept Bitcoin there needs to be places that accept it, exchanges that make the acquisition of Bitcoin easy and applications that justify the use of Bitcoin over other traditional payment methods.
We seem to be on the verge of this development! We have seen newer and better exchanges come in to existence with easier ways to purchase Bitcoin. Bitcoin payment processors are taking on more merchants with the most recent example being Bitpay supporting Microsoft with Bitcoin payments. Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin for payment with certain services which is very big news in itself! There are now approximately 80,000 merchants accepting bitcoin which is a big increase from the 20,000 of last year.
On top of that there is now approximately $290 million dollars invested this year in to bitcoin start up companies which is roughly equivalent to what was invested in internet start up companies in 1995. Venture capital investment is critical as this will allow for new Bitcoin start ups to develop and grow new services and products for Bitcoin which in turn will attract more Bitcoin users. There needs to be Bitcoin specific applications to justify using Bitcoin, and allow for user adoption.
One critical example of this is Changetip. A Bitcoin application that allows you to tip people over the internet for a youtube video, Twitter post, Blog post and more. You can tip someone from a penny to many pounds if you wish. A reward for their online persona, content and opinions. This was never possible with older payment methods as it is not economical to send a payment less than a few pounds as the charges for doing so are large. The usefulness of this new service can be documented on this Youtube video where ‘Famos Amos’ received tips from many people across the globe instantly and free of charge for his video content.
It looks to be an interesting time for Bitcoin. Many are focussed on the stagnant price of year 2014 but with the crazy high price of over $1000 in 2013, the infrastructure and services were not developed enough to justify such a high speculative value. For the price to climb yet again, there needs to be justification for such a high Bitcoin value. We will only achieve this with mass adoption which will only occur when there is a clear need for Bitcoin over other payment systems. With the investment and development in new Bitcoin related services, this will surely follow and 2015 will be the beginning of mainstream adoption.
(Photo by jphilipg)