At the end of 2017 Global News reporter Marney Blunt wrote about the growing Bitcoin buzz in Regina.
Less than a month later, the future of the crypto-currency is in question.
On Wednesday, Stripe joined Microsoft, Steam and a number of notable online companies that have stopped accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment. Stripe became the first major online payment company to accept bitcoin in 2014, and provides the financial backbone to major online companies like Facebook, Shopify and Lyft.
In a blog post on their website, Stripe said “We’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease and of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially.”
The post continued, noting it was costing customers roughly $10 per Bitcoin transaction, and many failed because in the time it took to complete the transaction the price of Bitcoin had changed; meaning someone either payed too much, or too little.
“Think about the number of transactions you can clear with Bitcoin, it’s very few transactions per second, whereas with Visa you can clear thousands of transactions per second.” Daniele Bianchi an associate professor of Finance at the Warwick Business School explained.
The result means banks, and companies, don’t trust Bitcoin.
“I foresee a time in banking where there will be crypto-currency, absolutely,” beamed Conexus Credit Union’s CEO Eric Dillon. “I don’t think you’ll see Bitcoin – the product, the single variation of crypto-currency – emerge as a central currency.”
If crypto-currencies are the future, but Bitcoin doesn’t play a part, the question is what happens to it?
According to Bianchi, one of two things: either the technology evolves, or gets left behind.
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“You might have other different, alternative currencies coming up, fixing the flaws of bitcoin in the first place, but that’s the natural evolution of the crypto-currency market.”
But the evolution doesn’t mean the demise of Bitcoin.
“I don’t see Bitcoin disappearing, it might change form, might change use, but I don’t see it disappearing anytime soon,” Bianchi said.
In its current form experts expect bitcoin to transition, from a method of payment, to an asset.
“Certainly we would tell our clients it is wildly speculative today, and it would be no different than investing in gold mines in the Yukon,” laughed Dillon.