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How contactless payment leaders are changing the Bitcoin landscape

Bitcoin is becoming more accessible than ever.

Covid hit the markets in an old familiar way that reminded many of the 2008 recession. This time, the difference was the obvious room that was made for emerging industries like crypto and blockchain.

The Bitcoin price surged about 300 percent over the last 12 months in response to mainstream adoption and institutional interest. Some new players have emerged, and more are on the horizon, positioned to attempt to cash-in on the free market.

In 2020 we saw Bitcoin reach an all-time high of $41,000. When writing this piece, the price has surpassed this record and reached an impressive $46,400.00. This recent escalation will make it interesting to watch traders’ reactions and price behaviour for the rest of 2021.

Suppose we see this bull cycle continue into the second half of 2021. In that case, the leading causes will be widespread adoption and the ever-alluring FOMO (fear of missing out) by consumers and financial giants alike. Bitcoin is still not considered a mainstream currency yet, but we are watching to see this shift as some major players take their positions on the field.

The players are changing, and people are taking notice.

The Venmo mobile payments app is going to look very different this year. It’s showing some semblances of shifting into neobank territory with expansions into budgeting, saving and cryptocurrency.

Venmo’s parent company, PayPal, entered the crypto market last November. They added support for buying, holding and selling cryptocurrencies in the U.S. through a partnership with the regulated crypto services provider, Paxos Trust Company. They announced that we could see similar features in the Venmo app this year and have not backed down from these claims. That time frame is still on track. PayPal confirmed this during its earnings call with investors.

In the next few months, Venmo users will gain the ability to buy, hold and sell crypto inside the Venmo mobile app, along with other investment alternatives. Venmo doesn’t aim to be a full neobank; instead, it imagines itself as more of a “digital wallet” of sorts.

Visa has partnered with neobank First Boulevard who will be the pilot test for Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs. While still in development, Visa is exploring options to assist financial institutes in enjoying the plug-and-play ability to connect with the growing market of crypto assets and blockchain networks.

If successful, we can expect to see Visa’s network of over 70 million merchants gain the ability to adapt the use of crypto wallets over a network of 35 various crypto platforms, or more, as they continue to add to their collection.

Copying is a form of flattery.

Although Facebook has not announced an interest in getting into the cryptocurrency game, they are seemingly mimicking it through their similar-but-different Facebook digital currency. This currency is not aligned with Bitcoin, nor are there any whispers that it intends to. The result may be consumer distraction. Consumers who may have joined the cryptocurrency party may be swayed to try Facebook currency due to its familiarity. Many Facebook users have been dedicated, daily participants for over a decade. Old habits die hard.

Unsurprisingly, competition is also coming from central banks. As reported by Banks for International Settlements, 80 percent of central banks are on the verge of developing some form of digital currency. Across the pond, China is working toward the adoption of a digital yuan. In many critical ways, these central bank digital currencies will be vastly different than bitcoin. This brings up the question;

Wouldn’t Bitcoin users push back at the idea of crypto exchanges supplied by central banks, as getting away from their archaic systems was the entire point of this currency revolution?

Financial giants and contactless payment leaders are finally reading the field and are positioned to make their plays in the growing world of blockchain finance. Although the competition appears to be coming in hot, Bitcoin remains the highest adopted form of cryptocurrency.

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