Another day, May 11, 2017, and Bitcoin has climbed another $100. Since late December of 2016, Bitcoin has been increasing in value rapidly. The value increase correlates with higher frequency of trading and increased public adoption. Bitcoin is setting records daily, and seems to be on track for widespread use as more online merchants and real-world locations begin to accept the digital currency.
It’s incredible to think that Bitcoin was worth less than $500 in May of 2016, and has climbed to over $1800 at the time of this publication. With three major ups and downs during that time, Bitcoin has shown strong resilience in rebounding, and appears to be on its strongest run yet. Lets talk about those three previous runs.
As CNBC reported around June 2016, there are three main reasons for the activity in
Bitcoin around that time:
- Problems with Bitfinex, and their eventual shutting down (price drop in early August)
- Uncertainty surrounding Brexit at that time
- The Yuan Effect, and Chinese markets
While Bitfinex, a major Bitcoin exchange in 2016, suffered with server issues and eventually being hacked for over $72M worth of Bitcoin, traders and believers in the digital currency had to contend with the influence of the Chinese Yuan as well as the uncertainty around whether or not a Brexit would happen. These are the three most influential factors in the action we see around June 2016 regarding the value of Bitcoin.
The next hiccup faced by Bitcoin enthusiasts came in January 2017, after briefly rising to near all-time-high prices during its most impressive run since 2013. On January 5th, the average price of a Bitcoin across most trading platforms sharply fell around $200. This specific price drop was speculated to be linked to rumors of increased regulation on the digital currency by the Central Bank of China, and the free fall continued for a full week.
The final hurdle in our incredible story of Bitcoin over the past year is still fresh in the memory of many Bitcoin traders and enthusiasts. After hitting record highs, and even surpassing the price of gold for the first time ever, an unfavorable decision by the SEC regarding the eligibility of a Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust to be traded on the stock exchange put the entire future of Bitcoin at risk. But this is not what caused the rapid loss in value of nearly $300 in just 3 days. The cause of this most recent hurdle comes from within the Bitcoin community itself (along with more rumors of Chinese regulations), as Bitcoin miners and thought-leaders debate over complicated software and tech issues.
At the time of this writing, we have yet to experience the next big roadblock in the blockchain-based digital currency’s journey to widespread adoption, as Bitcoin continues to soar at truly astonishing rates.
If you aren’t comfortable investing your own money, there are plenty of ways you can earn some around the web. Check out our comprehensive guide for earning free Bitcoin online to get started!
For those who don’t know what bitcoin is, this excellent and highly simplified analogy from coindesk should answer every question you have about it — except how to actually get your hands on some! No worries, we’re going to tell you how you can easily buy bitcoin, exchange bitcoin to USD, withdraw bitcoin to your bank, or accept it as a merchant with seamless exchanges directly into your SolidTrust Pay account!
Buying Bitcoin with SolidTrust Pay
Once you’ve set up an account and a bitcoin wallet, buying bitcoin with SolidTrust Pay is fast, easy, and highly secure. We’ve been around for over 10 years, and our dedicated support staff is always ready to lend a helping hand with any transaction or account issues, as well as to clarify anything you don’t quite understand. In order to buy bitcoin with a SolidTrust Pay account, simply follow these steps:
- Create an account at SolidTrustPay.com.
- Verify your account to the Standard Verified level.
- Set up two-factor authentication using your mobile device or desktop/laptop.
- Create a bitcoin wallet of your choice and connect it to your STP account.
- Deposit the amount you want to spend on bitcoin into your account via Bank, Credit Card, or transfer from another user.
- Go to the My Money –> Withdraw Funds section of your account and choose the Bitcoin option.
- Withdraw your desired amount and wait up to 24 hours for it to appear in your bitcoin wallet.
Steps 1 – 4 will only need to be completed once, of course, and then you will be able to easily buy bitcoin with steps 5 – 7. Once your account is Standard Verified and connected to a wallet, you may withdraw up to $2500 per 24 hours from your STP account to your BTC wallet (the Bank Verified limit is $5000 per 24 hours).
Selling Bitcoin with SolidTrust Pay
Selling bitcoin is even easier with SolidTrust Pay than buying it! You only need to have your account Card Verified in order to deposit up to $250 (automatically converted to USD) from your bitcoin wallet to your SolidTrust Pay account per 24 hours. This will allow you to spend or transfer your funds online as you see fit, or make a withdrawal to your credit card in USD. The deposit limit for a Standard Verified Account is $500 per 24 hours, and Bank Verified accounts are limited to $1000 per 24 hours.
Getting Bitcoin from your Wallet to your Bank
One of the biggest challenges people often have is how to withdraw bitcoin from your wallet to your bank. Using the same steps above to connect your wallet to your SolidTrust Pay account, you simply need to go a step further and connect your Bank account to your SolidTrust Pay account. From here, all you need to do is go to the My Money –> Deposit Funds area of your account and choose the Bitcoin option (bitcoin will be automatically converted into USD). Your funds may take up to 24 hours to appear in your account, at which time you will have the option to withdraw them directly into your bank.
Accepting Bitcoin as an Online Merchant
As an online merchant, likely chest-deep in all the responsibilities that come with running a business online, it can be hard to predict and adapt to trends in the market that aren’t currently affecting your business. Luckily, adding the bitcoin option to your SolidTrust Pay button will give your customers the option to pay with bitcoin, which is then automatically converted into USD and placed in your merchant account — no bitcoin wallet required!
Recent weeks have been reminiscent of the 2013-2014 Bitcoin explosion for many Bitcoin enthusiasts. Though it’s nothing like going from under $200 to over $1000 in just 2 months, the steady climb back to $1000+ has been encouraging. For many regular people around the world who have yet to use Bitcoin, recent weeks have been a swift introduction. In India alone, major Bitcoin exchanges such as Zebpay and Unocoin have reported a surge in user registration and trading volume since November, at least doubling registration and trading volume from previous months.
This is all coming off the heals of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8th decision to withdraw all 500 – 1000 rupee notes from the Indian economy. With 86% of India’s in-circulation cash being made worthless overnight, it’s not surprising that people are quickly looking for alternatives to spend and store their hard-earned money.
In a recent article on the topic of India’s economy and Bitcoin, Forbes tells us that, “with India’s recent demonetization, the volume of bitcoins being traded there has substantially increased to nearly two times its prior levels”. Furthermore, “Data from the ministry of electronics and information technology shows that the number of daily transactions through e-wallet services . . . has shot up from 1.7 million — recorded on November 8 when demonetization was announced — to 6.3 million as of December 7.” That number has continued to rise into the new year, with no signs of slowing down!
Today however, Thursday, January 5th, the stability of Bitcoin was called into question when we got a bit of a surprise from CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). Bitcoin dropped by nearly $200 in just 1 hour, though it quickly began to recover. However, volatility such as this is part of the reason Bitcoin has struggled historically to go mainstream with consumers and investors.
CoinDesk released a statement regarding the unexpected dip in the BTC trading price. “Today’s price move raises the question of whether the rally that began last month will continue into the new year – or if we’re in for a repeat of 2013-2014, when bitcoin peaked and quickly fell.”
CoinDesk offered some additional perspective from Chinese bitcoin exchange Huobi, stating that “current trading volume is 37x of that in 2013 and bitcoin price fluctuates 15.95%, which is much more stable than the year 2013.” The Huobi rep goes on to explain that “in 2013, when the price was 8,000 yuan (around $1100), the weekly trading volume was 393,000 BTC, with an amplitude of the week up to 103%. The trading volume was very small. Today, bitcoin [prices] broke 8,000 yuan with 735m BTC trading volume, which is expected to double in a week.”
With all this excitement about Bitcoin, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of other ways to spend, store and transfer money online. Digital wallets, phone apps and various UPIs have seen growth explosions in India since November 8th, and they’re following a global trend that has money going digital more and more each day.
It was just over 10 years ago when online payment processors started popping up – SolidTrust Pay among the very first. In that time, we’ve watched online shopping and eCommerce go from boutique websites facilitating some small number of specialized or custom items, to a full-on emporium; the internet has rapidly become the world’s most popular bazaar. It’s important though to take a step back and realize that we are only right around the middle of this development, with plenty of change yet to come. It’s perfectly reasonable to predict that by the end of all this, the internet could be the only bazaar left.
Below we’re going to look at some of the trends and possible changes you can expect, whether you’re an online merchant or shopper. But first, we want to talk briefly about Bitcoin and where it fits into all of this. Many of our users will be familiar with Bitcoin, but for those who aren’t it’s simply a form of digital currency known as a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies use cryptography to remain anonymous and secure; Bitcoin in particular uses a decentralized system to thwart corruption and certain types of fraud, as well as to maintain anonymity. The reason Bitcoin is important to this discussion is because it’s really the model for future digital currencies, or at least its model (the blockchain) will be the model for future digital currencies, having proven both secure and successful in most aspects. Future currencies will aim to operate like Bitcoin, using systems similar to the blockchain.
So, what constitutes Digital Currency?
Technically most money that is not physical is digital – so even the money stored on the computers at the bank is considered digital currency. However, that’s not quite what we mean when we talk about digital currency. A better example would be Russia’s Yandex.Money, a digital currency and payment processor which emerged in 2002, and has since been 75% purchased by Sberbank, which is in turn owned by Russia’s central bank. Yandex.Money is basically an eWallet where you can deposit funds and receive an amount of digital currency to spend online, and that’s basically what a digital currency is. The difference is that Yandex.Money is rapidly changing from a random digital currency to a national Russian currency, which leads us to our next point.
The Change is already here!
As noted recently by PayPal in their 10-year anniversary blog, “a couple of years ago, roughly 50% of money being exchanged was in the form of either cash or cheques. Today, that number has dropped to 40% and by the end of 2017, it’s predicted to drop even further to 25%. We are witnessing an obvious trend – physical money is digitizing.”
It’s not just online, but everywhere. People are using their debit/credit cards more than cash when they shop, and even Bitcoin is beginning to be accepted widely in ‘the real world’. Beyond 2017, there is no reason to assume this trend will slow down and by 2020 we might be operating almost entirely with digital currency instead of cash.
We mentioned above that Russia is already experimenting with their digital currency, Yandex.Money, but we didn’t mention that 24+ other governments around the world are doing the same thing. Canada, for example, ran simulations this year which explored the possibility of creating a version of its currency on the blockchain, and one third of Denmark already uses their smartphone to buy everything.
What does this mean for eCommerce?
As it’s getting easier to spend your digital currency in the real world, you might be wondering how this will affect eCommerce. You might even be worried that online shopping will decline in the face of Smart Cards and physical Amazon locations. In fact, many physical store locations are making great efforts to revitalize their models – doing things like offering yoga classes and wine menus to create a more fulfilling engagement and obviously increase their volume of customers. We’re here to tell you why, as an online merchant, you don’t need to worry about that – there is a reason they are making such an effort.
Causality is key. An important question to ask: is digital currency driving eCommerce, or is eCommerce driving digital currency? And the answer is undoubtedly neither/both. They are clearly evolving together, and in a non-zero-sum atmosphere, meaning that the success of one drives the success of the other, and vice-versa. We shop online more because it’s easier to do, but we’ve made it easier to do because of how much we love shopping online. It’s a two-way street, and with self-driving cars on the horizon we’re in for a much safer and more efficient experience on the road. Additionally, with new and exciting methods of delivery popping up in the form of drones and self-driving technology to accommodate the eCommerce trend, and to close the gap between purchase and delivery, we think it’s safe to say that the online shopping industry will not only continue to grow, but perhaps one day eclipse and even replace traditional purchase methods altogether.