BitPay is the largest Bitcoin payment processor in the world, and their recent news has been very good: they’ve partnered with Microsoft, created a Bitcoin college bowl, and were largely responsible for the most successful Bitcoin Black Friday in history. Now, they’ve released some statistics on merchant usage, and the news is encouraging.
BitPay, while its primary function is to convert Bitcoin payments to USD, has allowed vendors to keep some of their income in Bitcoin for a while. According to their statistics, 4,400 BitPay merchants (10%) keep all revenue in Bitcoin, 18,000 (40%) keep some of their revenue in Bitcoin, and 22,000 (50%) convert all revenue to fiat. Those are impressive statistics: Bitcoin is volatile and still not as widely accepted as it might be. It’s remarkable that fully half of all BitPay merchants are participating in the Bitcoin economy to such a degree that it makes sense for them to keep a significant amount of Bitcoin on hand.
The hope is that, eventually, it might be possible to “close the loop” on the Bitcoin economy, allowing Bitcoin users to get paid in Bitcoin, store their Bitcoin securely (and with minimal volatility), and then pay for goods and services with Bitcoin, without the inconvenience or expense of going through fiat at any points. At that point, we can begin to realize the true potential of the Bitcoin economy, and the value of the technology. We’re not there yet, but these new numbers are an extremely promising sign.