3 Countries Where Bitcoin is Going Mainstream
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin is all over the news at the time of writing, after the value of the currency rocketed to over US$4,000 per virtual “coin.”
While some people, including Wall Street investor Howard Marks, remain skeptical as to the “intrinsic value” of Bitcoin, an increasing number of countries across the world are embracing the cryptocurrency to the point that it’s becoming an everyday part of life for many.
Here are three of the countries where use of Bitcoin has truly hit the mainstream:
Japan has recognized Bitcoin as legal tender since April 2017, an action that’s contributed to the currency’s rising value throughout the year. In addition, political tension in the region due to the threat of nuclear action between the USA and North Korea has lead people to consider Bitcoin as an investment option. It’s an alternative to stocks and traditional currency, both of which would inevitably become volatile investments should the aggressive rhetoric from both sides turn to action.
Meanwhile, it’s also very easy to spend Bitcoin in Japan. Marui, a department store chain with over 30 branches across the country, recently joined the multitudes of other stores to accept the currency. Spending online in the country is easy too. As an example, there’s now a BitCasino Japanese language option for those who wish to use their Bitcoin to have a flutter. In all respects, this online casino functions like any other – but deposits and wins are handled with Bitcoin instead of “traditional” money.
While the federal government of the USA continues to scramble around working out how to regulate Bitcoin in the USA, the ability to trade and spend it remains unaffected.
Spending Bitcoin, in particular, is very easy in the USA, with both small independent businesses and globally-known chains accepting the currency. The big names include Expedia, Overstock and Asos, but there are over 100,000 others to choose from. There’s also a well-publicized workaround for spending them in places where they’re not usually accepted – by exchanging them for gift cards!
A short journey from Amsterdam lies the small Dutch city of Arnhem – known locally (and by cryptocurrency enthusiasts) as “Bitcoin City.”
The city boasts hundreds of stores that accept Bitcoin for payment, and even persuaded its branch of Burger King to embrace the currency. As well as allowing citizens and visitors to pay with Bitcoin, Arnhem has encouraged a culture where some businesses retain some of their funds in Bitcoin with which to trade with other companies that accept them. With the value of Bitcoin solid but sometimes volatile, this no doubt adds an extra frisson to everyday business dealings!
There’s no doubt a difference in attitude to Bitcoin in different places across the world. Some countries have an outright ban in place or view Bitcoin as legally questionable. However, for many nations, especially those above, Bitcoin is going increasingly mainstream.
While the days when a tiny Bitcoin purchase could make you a millionaire may be long gone, it certainly appears that the currency is here to stay.