After a tough battle with regulators in the first four months of 2018, blockchain technology is finally gaining acceptance among mainstream institutions.
Recently, the tech giant IBM announced that it is planning to hire nearly 2,000 people to work in its new branch in France, and the majority will be blockchain researchers. The financial services corporation American Express has announced that it will be collaborating with the online merchant Boxed to introduce a blockchain-powered membership rewards program.
These are just a couple of the latest examples of the many traditional corporations that have already adopted or are in the process of adopting blockchain-powered solutions. As cryptocurrencies continue to shed market noise, and with regulatory storms dwindling, mainstream adoption is likely to intensify.
The big question is how the technology will benefit ordinary people in their day-to-day lives. Up until now, cryptocurrencies have established themselves as speculative assets and not as mediums of exchange. The lack of regulation and the herd mentality, among other things, have made the crypto markets overly volatile, making a bad case for currency.
But now with more regulation in place and with solutions emerging to solve these challenges, cryptocurrencies are gaining acceptance as a store of value and medium of exchange. The current wave of mainstream adoption is very much about improving cryptocurrencies as an alternative payment method rather than as an investment asset.
Blockchain projects such as TokenCard have gone a step ahead to put the digital currencies on par with fiat currencies by introducing similar, yet improved, payment methods. With TokenCard, cryptocurrency holders will be able to make instant transactions by swiping the provided debit card the same way we do with the traditional cards offered by banks.
The best thing about the blockchain-powered payment card is that it is decentralized and therefore more secure, and there are no transactional fees involved. With it, users can easily top up by bank transfer or debit card and transact with millions of merchants across the globe. The cardholders can also instantly exchange their crypto holdings for fiat at accepted ATMs worldwide. Accompanying the TokenCard debit card is a mobile application to track and manage their holdings.
Another project, known as the Divi Project, is working on a solution that seeks to offer a better user interface by enabling the use of a personal email, Twitter handles or personal names for transactions, rather than an impossible to remember string of random characters.
In an interview with CNBC, Nick Saponaro, a co-founder of the Divi Project, noted that the aim of the project is to make the entire money-sending process more approachable for users. According to Saponaro, the traditional crypto transactions are complicated and out of reach to the majority of people who are not tech savvy.
Bitwala, a global blockchain platform with headquarters in Berlin, is another example of a project with an aim of bringing cryptocurrency to the masses. The project seeks to introduce an online cryptocurrency bank where account holders can get digital currency debit cards to use in day-to-day transactions.
The debit card will allow both cryptocurrency and fiat transactions, and users will be able to instantly withdraw at millions of ATMs worldwide. Traditionally, crypto holders rely on exchanges to facilitate transactions, a model that most find to be confusing and daunting.
By introducing a model similar to the bank, the project will be opening doors to almost everyone. So far, over 20,000 people have already signed up with Bitwala, and according to CEO Jörg von Minckwitz, the number is growing exponentially. Other projects aiming to bring cryptocurrency to the masses include Purse.io, GoCoin and Coinsource.With the rate at which the blockchain-powered payment methods are coming up, there is no doubt that the technology is ready for takeoff. This is, therefore, the best time for individuals and businesses to explore the benefits of blockchain-powered payment methods.
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