The days of cryptocurrency — and Bitcoin especially — as a futuristic and difficult-to-understand leading-edge technology are over. Bitcoin celebrated its 12th birthday in 2021, and the currency has been publicly traded for the vast majority of that time. In other words, plenty of investors are now reaping Bitcoin's benefits.
In fact, the days of Bitcoin as solely a vehicle for speculative investment are over, too. While many investors have earned serious returns from Bitcoin over the years, and the currency continues to be a source of revenue for large numbers of people across the world, this was never the primary intention of BTC's creators.
Instead, Satoshi Nakamoto — the mysterious creator, or group of creators, who gave us Bitcoin — envisaged the currency and the network as an alternative payment solution. This was designed to be something that would revolutionise payments in the digital era, not simply drive the wealth of those who want to keep hold of the currency.
Happily, for Bitcoin's originators, a shift is taking place. As increasing numbers of payment providers and vendors begin to support the currency, and as more and more individuals opt to use Bitcoin in their transactions, BTC is becoming a genuine alternative payment network. In other words, the reasons to use Bitcoin in transactions are on the rise.
But why use cryptocurrency to make purchases and payments? What are the Bitcoin pros and cons that are influencing the cryptocurrency's usage? Let's take a look in more detail.
Why use Bitcoin?
Let's start by taking a look at some of the key advantages of blockchain and Bitcoin features. This will give you some idea of how BTC offers a whole new way to pay for goods, transfer funds and complete transactions in the digital marketplace. These are the cryptocurrency benefits that are changing the way we approach payments, wealth and money in the 21st century.
Decentralised payment structure
Bitcoin is based upon the original blockchain structure. Whenever a transaction is initiated, randomly selected nodes within the network automatically perform complex calculations in a process known as "mining." Once mining is complete, the transaction data is written into the blockchain and becomes part of the chain's very fabric.
This means there is no manual input beyond the peer-to-peer communication between the sender of the funds and the recipient. The mining process completes the transaction automatically, with no need for third-party supervision or assessment, which translates to a smooth, efficient and reliable experience for both parties.
When you pay for something using Bitcoin or accept Bitcoin as payment, you are kept informed every step of the way. The transaction is initiated via the Bitcoin wallet or via another wallet that supports the currency. You will be able to see immediately when the funds have left the wallet, as well as when they are received.
The wallet interface allows you to check on the status of the payment, see when the block has been mined and keep track of the entire process. All of this data is delivered in real-time, so neither party is ever left in the dark. This is a welcome change from the familiar uncertainty of money leaving a traditional bank account and entering the limbo period of “pending transaction”.
No bank or transaction fees
There are no additional fees associated with Bitcoin. When we make a payment with a credit or debit card or send money via a bank transfer, it is common to encounter nasty surprises. Perhaps the sender or recipient's bank has applied an additional charge to the transaction, or the payment provider has fees of their own.
This is not the case with Bitcoin. When users make a payment with Bitcoin, the full amount is transferred between the two parties with no extra charges for standard transactions.
We've already touched upon digital wallets as one of the key benefits of Bitcoin, but there is more to mention here. The modern world is a digitally focused one, and we expect to be able to use mobile technology and applications to conduct business and other aspects of our daily life.
The digital wallets used in Bitcoin transactions are highly convenient and can be used on the go. Download the wallet to your smartphone and eliminate the need for a physical wallet or cash. As long as you have an internet connection and available funds, you will be able to make a payment.
Increasing numbers of supporters
We have discussed pros up to now, but one of the cons of cryptocurrency used to be a lack of widespread adoption. Bitcoin was once considered unreliable as a payment method because most vendors and payment providers did not support it.
This is no longer the case. There is now a large number of vendors and providers who support the cryptocurrency and a wide range of individuals happy to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. What's more, this number is increasing all the time, making Bitcoin more and more viable as a payment option.
High levels of privacy
Data protection and privacy are hot topics these days as public anxiety increases about the ways in which our information is used online. This makes privacy a key cryptocurrency benefit and a great reason to use Bitcoin for transactions.
You do not need to use your real name or any identifiable information when you engage in a transaction. Your personal data is not saved, and you can conduct transactions under a pseudonym. As a result, crypto offers major advantages to those seeking to protect their personal data online.
Safety for sellers
There are many advantages of blockchain, but perhaps the biggest is the fact that it is immutable. When a new block is mined and added to the chain, the entire blockchain ledger is updated and shared across all network nodes. This means there is a clear consensus regarding the status of a transaction, and no one can question the validity of the payment made.
Payment can only be reversed if the recipient decides to send crypto back to the original sender. With no possibility of a transaction being cancelled or queried, product vendors are protected from fraudulent users.
The pros and cons of Bitcoin
As with any other form of payment, Bitcoin has its own quirks, pros and cons. It’s important to be aware of them both as a spender and an investor alike.
Bitcoin is a volatile currency, and its value can increase and decrease rapidly. This can be a problem, particularly when you want to buy something with a specific dollar amount. Let's say you buy something worth $50 — in a week, or even just a few days, you could find that the BTC you parted with is worth far more than $50. Traditional currencies don’t tend to have this issue as a central authority regulates them.
All of that said, if you receive Bitcoin as a payment from someone else, you may find yourself on the winning end of the deal.
It may take a while to complete your transaction, sometimes up to a few hours. You can pay more to have your transaction completed sooner, but this goes against the idea of Bitcoin as a fee-less payment system.
In some cases, it may be difficult to receive a refund on your transaction. Many vendors will not offer dollar refunds for BTC transactions and will instead offer store credit.
Start building wealth and making payments with BTC Markets
BTC Markets makes it easy for people just like you to buy and sell Bitcoin on the open market. You can also use your digital wallet to complete payments and transactions using this innovative, trailblazing cryptocurrency. Set up your BTC account today via our easy-to-use website or reach out to our team to learn more.