The bitcoin technology market registered a CAGR of 8.3% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. The true size and nature of the Bitcoin market are determined by the transaction volume data. The global bitcoin technology market was valued at USD 273 million, in 2018. Due to the zero risk of inflation, bitcoin is trending over the years. The bitcoin system was created with the sole purpose of being finite. Thus, without the possibility of issuing excess currency, the threat of inflation comes down to almost zero. This point benefits both the seller and the buyer.
Transaction fees for bitcoin payments are significantly lower in comparison to the ones made for credit and debit card purchases. This feature is an advantage for SMEs as they have a limited budget. There is no fee to receive bitcoins, and many wallets let the user control how large a fee to pay when spending. Higher fees can encourage faster confirmation of a transaction.
Commercial payments are slowly warming up to the prospects of Bitcoin. Most recently, in October 2019, Data by Ico data revealed that as of 2019, about 15558 businesses were accepting Bitcoins around the world, with Slovenia having the highest business, which accepts Bitcoins at 314 business outlets.
In 2019, Starbucks announced that it would be integrating the upcoming Bakkt cryptocurrency payment service. Similarly, US-based Quinn Emanuel started accepting Bitcoin in 2019.
Moreover, regulation has played a vital role in the widespread adoption of Bitcoins. In 2017, when the Japan Financial Services Agency enacted a new law on April 1, 2017, authorizing the use of digital currency as a method of payment, essentially granting it the same legal status as any other currency. Bitcoin was classified as a prepaid payment instrument.
However, the hackers have, in particular, exploited the anonymity aspect of Bitcoins, and this was evident in the recent incident, in 2018, where the victims of ransomware had to pay in Bitcoins. Similarly, in November 2019, Uber released documents mentioning that the company had to pay USD 100 million in Bitcoins to hackers.
Key Market Trends
BFSI to Occupy the Largest Market Share
A bitcoin payment is faster, cheaper, safer and less volatile than the local currencies in many countries. Therefore, it can be used in these countries for storing values, besides being used to pay for many products and services around the world and on the Internet.
The utility of bitcoin is that financial transactions no longer require any central authority and are immediately validated, cleared and settled. Bitcoin technology appears to be an innovation that promises a major change for capital markets and other financial services.
Banks are keen to take the opportunity to reduce transaction costs and the amount of paper that they process. Bitcoin can potentially save banks billions in cash by dramatically reducing processing costs.
For instance, in August 2019, Uruguay-based Bantotal, a core banking service provider that services over 60 different financial institutions across 14 different countries collaborated with cryptocurrency exchange Bitex, to facilitate cross-border payments over the Bitcoin blockchain. Additionally, Ohio is the first state in the United States to accept Bitcoin tax payments, and BitPay's platform enables the transactions.
Financial institutions have also grown eager to create investment products around cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin futures allows one to buy a future amount of Bitcoin at today's price.
According to Coin ATM Radar, as of March 2019, the main manufacturers of the Bitcoin ATMs were Genesis Coin and General Bytes, with 31.5 % and 31.4 % of the market share, respectively. The number of global bitcoin ATMs is also on the rise.
North America to Witness the Highest Growth
North America is one of the fastest growing regions when it comes to bitcoin mining and vendors offering bitcoin services also are expanding in this region. For instance, Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced launching a U.S. division in June 2019.
As the awareness of bitcoin is increasing. Newegg, the leading tech-focused e-retailer in North America announced they would give customers in Canada the option of paying with bitcoin. This move will drive the demand for bitcoin among consumers.
In June 2019, Plouton Mining announces its aims to build what will be the largest solar-powered mining operation in North America, providing people with an opportunity to participate in the growing bitcoin economy in a sustainable and affordable way.
According to Coin ATM Radar, the highest number of bitcoin ATMs is in the United States (3229 locations), followed by Canada (687 locations), as on 2018. This indicates the trend of bitcoin buying and selling in North America.
The bitcoin market is fragmented with startups coming up in the last 5 years which are offering commercial activities related to bitcoin. In the current scenario, most of the online merchants have started enjoying the anonymity and efficiency of bitcoin payments, which allows them to cut overhead costs compared to credit or debit cards transactions.
June 2019 - Facebook announced its new Libra cryptocurrency, which will let users make purchases or send money to people with virtually no fees - either online or at local exchange points like grocery stores.
March 2019 - Venezuelan Government launched crypto remittance service, where remittances can be sent using two types of currency litecoin and bitcoin. The service was launched by the Superintendency of Cryptoassets and Related Activities, Venezuela's main crypto regulator, which has also set a monthly limit and a commission per transaction.
January 2019 - Blockstream entered a joint venture called Crypto Garage with Japanese fintech industry heavyweights Digital Garage and Tokyo Tanshi. It is dedicated to building Bitcoin and blockchain solutions for the Japanese institutional market.