The cryptocurrency markets are in freefall.
And for many crypto traders, it feels like the end of the world.
We've had one of the biggest scams of modern times with the collapse of the LUNA and UST cryptocurrencies, with at least $40 billion wiped off the crypto market capitalization.
Yet still, interest in crypto has never been higher.
The amount of crypto payment processors is increasing and thousands of businesses are adopting cryptocurrency, either as an investment vehicle or as a payment method.
With that said, we are still far away from the mass adoption of crypto used for ecommerce payments.
Crypto continues to divide opinions
Due to the current bear market, many crypto exchanges are in turmoil. Although the use of digital assets is generally on the rise, price volatility remains a major hindrance.
Over the past years, cryptocurrency payments have increased in volume although we are still quite far from mass adoption. Trading in digital assets still seems to be viewed with trepidation by many merchants.
Although there are countless respected crypto evangelists constantly telling us that Bitcoin will reach the $100,000 level by 2024, there are also naysayers who predict a complete meltdown of the crypto market.
To get a better understanding of whether we shall be seeing the mass adoption of cryptocurrency, let's have a look at some recent statistics on how crypto is currently being used.
Holding crypto vs using it for financial transactions
The vast majority of those holding crypto use it as an investment vehicle. The number of people using digital currency as a form of payment remains very small.
The Fed Annual Wellbeing Report
The Federal Reserve released its annual Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021, where for the first time ever, it focused some of its content on the use of cryptocurrencies.
According to this report, differences exist between those holding cryptos as an investment versus those using these digital assets for financial transactions.
Crypto usage is on the rise
In 2021, 12% of surveyed adults had either held or used crypto, but a much smaller 3% had used it for financial transactions in the last year.
Around six out of ten transactional crypto users had an income of less than $50K, and 13% didn't have a bank account.
Crypto users' income remains relatively modest
On the other hand, 46% of adults holding crypto for investment purposes had an income of $100K or more, while 29% had an income under $50K. In addition, 99% of these crypto investors had a bank account.
It is intriguing to note that although banks remain quite hostile to crypto, the vast majority of those who hold these digital assets are banked.
Crypto for investment or transactions
The gulf between those who hold these assets for investment purposes versus those who actually use them for real-world transactions is there for all to see.
There has been a massive increase in cryptocurrency transactions over the years though, with bitcoin transactions soaring.
However, we are still quite a long way off from crypto transactions becoming mainstream.
Adoption of crypto payments across the board
A recent report by global payments provider Checkout.com indicates that an impressive 40% of 18-35 year old's are planning to pay for goods and services with digital currency in 2022. That's up from around 30% in 2021.
The report, which surveyed 30,000 consumers and 3,000 merchants in 11 countries, indicates that consumers are pacing ahead of online businesses, only 23% of which say they aim to accept crypto as a method of payment by 2024.
With that said, the merchants who have embraced crypto payments experienced net-new growth, with some 82% declaring those options allowed them to rapidly lure new customers and reach new demographics.
Close to 70% of the surveyed merchants say that the speed with which crypto payments can be made and settled can potentially revolutionize their business models.
More than 80% of merchants with existing crypto-payment options admit it was easier to settle using crypto than using fiat currencies.
Data from payments giant Visa gives an indication that more than $2.5bn worth of payments were made through the company’s crypto-backed card in the first fiscal quarter of 2022. Although that's a minuscule amount in the paymentsuniverse, it still indicates that it is worth taking notice of cryptocurrency payments.
Who is operating in the cryptocurrency payments area?
There are several crypto payment processors, though one that stands out is Utrust.
Using Utrust, merchants can accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but still actually get paid in fiat.
In addition, Utrust processes all the payments on-chain, while companies like PayPal are closed database systems that claim to process cryptocurrencies but don’t operate on the blockchain itself.
Utrust also offers a competitive 1% transaction fee which increases profits from each sale. Data from the company also shows that there are 184 countries that are currently using crypto with 90% of the world's GDP. There's been an increase to 300 million cryptocurrency users which is quite substantial.
What about other Alternative Payment Methods?
Merchants can choose to accept bitcoin and other cryptos, but there are also several other alternative payment methods that can increase e-commerce checkout conversions.
Here are a few examples:
Giropay is a German payment method based on online banking, introduced in 2006. It allows customers to complete transactions online using their online banking environment, with funds debited from their bank account.
The customer selects their bank from the list of participating banks. After selecting the bank, the customer logs in to the online banking environment.
In the online banking environment, the customer reviews the prefilled payment details.
If all the information is correct the customer authorizes the payment.
After the authorization, the customer will receive a confirmation and the product will be sent. The method is ideal for any e-commerce business.
Giropay accounts for 10% of online checkouts in Germany
PayPal is an online wallet that makes paying for things online, and securely sending and receiving money, super easy. It is especially convenient since it has a very wide user base.
The downside to using PayPal is that its fees are quite high, especially with exchange rates.
When you link your bank account, credit card, or debit card to your PayPal account, you can use PayPal to make purchases online with participating stores. This method is quite popular on many ecommerce sites.
This payment method redirects users to their bank’s portal to authenticate the payment, and it typically takes 2 to 14 days to receive notification of success or failure.
Is ecommerce cryptocurrency gaining traction?
Whether or not you should consider accepting Bitcoin depends on your customer base, as it's most popular among the technologically inclined.
However, it would be good to keep in mind that its usage is becoming more common, and within a few years it may be much more in demand as a payment method.
Some online shoppers already prefer it exclusively, especially if they're located in a country in which other popular payment methods are difficult to use.
How do innovative payment providers come in?
Although traditional financial institutions such as banks remain hostile to the cryptocurrency world as a whole, there are other solutions.
Although we at FinXP do not directly offer crypto payment processing, we do offer support ecommerce merchants and crypto payment processors who are willing to take the plunge into this high-risk field.
FinXP provides such companies with Euro IBAN accounts that may be used for everyday banking purposes as well as for mass payouts.
Is mass adoption on the way?
Although using crypto for ecommerce purposes is on the rise, it is still very far from going mainstream.
Hence, for those merchants who wish to increase conversions it may make more sense to fire focus on more established alternative payment methods such as Giropay, Sofort, and Paypal. These offer secure and fast alternatives for online stores.
For more information on how to integrate alternative payment methods into your online store, feel free to reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org.