Bitcoin’s journey from pizza to everyday services and cross-border payments

By Daniel Vogel, CEO of Bitso

Every year on May 22, the crypto community celebrates the anniversary of the first real purchase with bitcoin – two pizzas that would change the history of payments, inspiring projects, platforms and exchanges to make crypto truly useful.

In 2010, Florida programmer Laszlo Hanyecz managed to exchange 10,000 bitcoins (worth around $299,114,000 today) for a pizza. This day, widely known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day”, marks the moment when bitcoin fulfilled one of the key criteria of money: it became a medium of exchange, accepted as a means of payment for goods and services. Since then, crypto has reached and begun to explore countless use cases around the world.

Goods and services of everyday life

Today, crypto is used all over the world to buy cars, planes, houses, and even citizenship, and Latin America is no exception. In El Salvador, where bitcoin is legal tender, bitcoin can be used to buy almost anything. Mexican soccer club Tigres is among several sports teams that accept bitcoin in exchange for tickets, and delivery app Rappi accepts crypto payments for services. Each of these use cases positions bitcoin, and crypto more broadly, as an alternative to traditional fiat currencies – equally valid, useful, and valuable.

Crypto-funded tourism

Bitcoin doesn’t just help people buy everyday goods at home. It is also helping them to travel. In fact, travel agencies are among the biggest adopters of cryptocurrency. According to a Crypto Adoption Report, 11.54% of businesses accepting crypto have a connection to the travel industry. Industry-leading booking websites such as Expedia and Airbnb are already considering or allowing individuals to pay for their booking expenses with crypto, with airlines such as AirBaltic, Norwegian Air and LOT Polish Airlines following suit.

The added advantage of crypto as a means of payment for travel is its portability – with cryptocurrencies, tourists can make payments to any institution that accepts cryptocurrency, regardless of their location. residence, without having to pay an exchange rate between fiat currencies.

Cross-border payments

Recently, a new class of use cases is also emerging that positions cryptocurrencies not just as an equal alternative to fiat, but rather as the superior option. The most important use for the Latin America region: cross-border payments.

Global businesses move nearly $23.5 trillion between countries each year, and individuals are expected to send $630 billion in remittances by the end of 2022. By removing the need for intermediaries and enabling individuals to send funds directly in minutes rather than days, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reduce time and costs for those who depend on remittances. In fact, a report from Juniper Research suggests that blockchain technology will reduce the cost of international transactions by $10 billion in 2030. In addition to helping businesses achieve their bottom line, these savings are helping individuals s provide other essential goods and services such as rent, groceries and children. care.

The Future of Bitcoin Adoption

Since its inception in 2009, bitcoin maximalists have pushed for its adoption, touting its potential to transform our society. Over the past decade, these improvements have begun to take hold. New blockchains and cryptocurrencies are being developed every day, leading many people to draw comparisons between the mass adoption of crypto and that of the internet at the end of the 21st century.

When market pullbacks occur, it is easy to go bearish on crypto. However, the value of crypto is not its price, but rather its use. Crypto’s utility – its ability to facilitate faster, easier and more affordable transactions, support those in need with agility, streamline complex global processes and provide financial freedom for individuals – is what will drive inevitably billions of people around the world to embrace technology and achieve a better life with it. A far cry from just buying pizza 12 years ago.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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