Bitcoin’s Journey from Pizza to Daily-Life Services and Cross Border Payments

    By Daniel Vogel, CEO of Bitso

    Every year on May 22nd, 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, Floridian programmer Laszlo Hanyecz successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins (worth approximately $299,114,000 today) for a pizza pie. This day, widely known as ‘Bitcoin Pizza Day,’ marks the moment bitcoin met one of the key criteria for money: it became a medium of exchange, accepted as payment for goods and services. Since then, crypto has achieved and begun to explore countless use cases worldwide. 

    Daily-life goods and services

    Nowadays, crypto is used around the world to purchase cars, planes, houses, and even citizenship, and Latin America is no exception. In El Salvador, where bitcoin is a legal tender, bitcoin can be used to buy virtually anything. The Mexican Football Club Tigres are among several sports teams accepting bitcoin in exchange for tickets and the 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 isn’t just helping people purchase daily goods at home. It’s also helping them travel. In fact, travel companies are among the biggest adopters of cryptocurrency. According to one Crypto Adoption Report11.54% of crypto-accepting companies have some tie to the travel industry. Industry-leading booking websites such as Expedia and Airbnb either are considering or already are allowing individuals to pay their booking expenses with crypto, with airlines such as AirBaltic, Norwegian Air, and LOT Polish Airlines following suit. 

    The added benefit of crypto as a means of payment for travel is its transferability – with cryptocurrencies, tourists can make payments to any crypto-accepting institution, regardless of where it’s based, 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 merely 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 corporations move nearly $23.5 trillion between countries every year, and individuals are projected 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 cut time and cost for those who depend on remittances. In fact, one report from Juniper Research suggests blockchain technology will reduce the cost of international transactions by $10 billion in 2030. Beyond helping businesses with their bottom line, these savings help individuals afford other essential goods and services such as rent, groceries, and child care.

    The Future of Bitcoin’s Adoption 

    Since its inception in 2009, bitcoin maximalists have pushed for its adoption, touting its potential to transform our society. Over the past decade, those improvements have begun to take root. New blockchains and cryptocurrencies are developed every day, causing many 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’s easy to become bearish on crypto. However, the value of crypto is not its price, but rather its use. Crypto’s usefulness – its ability to facilitate faster, easier, more affordable transactions, support people in need with agility, streamline complex global processes, and provide financial freedom for individuals – is what will inevitably lead billions of people across the world to adopt the technology and achieve a better life with it. A far leap from merely purchasing 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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