Businesses are expanding their potential customer base by accepting the controversial crypto-currency as payment.
Bitcoin, a controversial crypto-currency, is facing enormous headwinds in its journey to be considered a legitimate, globally recognized currency. Most governments have been nervous about embracing anything even remotely associated with Bitcoin because of its shady history; Bitcoins are commonly used on the black market to purchase drugs, weapons, hitmen, and other contraband.
Meanwhile, economists have condemned the crypto currency as a bubble, declaring that Bitcoin has no inherent value. The price of one Bitcoin currently sits north of $950 and economists would argue that Bitcoin has no value unless real businesses and real people accept it as real money.
In this regard, it now appears that the tides are turning. The NBA’s Sacramento Kings announced last week that it would begin accepting Bitcoins in exchange for tickets and merchandise. The new policy will go into effect on March 1st, and the Kings are the first professional sporting franchise to adopt such a big change.
Many people don’t realize, moreover, that many reputable businesses have already started to accept Bitcoins. Here are some of the most notable ones:
· Overstock.com (OSTK) : An American online retailer. Overstock is traded on the NASDAQ and had $1.1 billion in 2012 revenue. It is already reporting higher sales after accepting Bitcoin.
· Zynga (ZNGA) : One of the largest providers of social and online games. The company announced earlier this month that it will accept Bitcoin for some of its games that normally cost money.
· WordPress.com: A free and open source blogging service. WordPress now accepts Bitcoin for premium blogging content like special designs, templates and spam protection.
· Virgin Galactic: A company owned by Richard Branson that takes normal people into space for a hefty fee. In November, Virgin accepted its first Bitcoin payment.
· The Pirate Bay: A controversial BitTorrent website. The site now accepts Bitcoins in lieu of cash donations.
· Richard Sherman’s Official Website: The star cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. He announced via Reddit that his website would begin selling merchandise for Bitcoins. After making the game-saving play against the San Fransisco 49ers to win the NFC, Sherman’s sales and donations have surely spiked over the last couple days.
· Sacramento Kings: A National Basketball Association franchise. The latest reputable organization to begin accepting Bitcoins.
In addition to this trend, plans are already in place to create financial instruments out of Bitcoins. SecondMarket and the Winklevoss twins have filed with the SEC to create two separate Bitcoin ETFs, allowing investors to trade Bitcoin’s wild price swings and place bets on its direction.
With all this in mind, Bitcoin has a lot of momentum on its side. To attract a greater demographic of online consumers, more businesses will surely adopt the virtual currency. Although there are groups that vehemently deny Bitcoin’s existence as a currency, they may have no choice but to change their mind if businesses nationwide accept Bitcoin as real money.