A report issued by software manufacturer DataLight in April 2019 compares Bitcoin with traditional payment systems, and shows how Bitcoin is already competing successfully with systems such as MasterCard, PayPal and Visa. The DataLight report finds that the Bitcoin payment system is far superior to traditional international payment solutions and transfers. Whereas MasterCard, PayPal and Visa have taken up to 60 years first to develop their payment systems and then achieve leadership in their sector, Bitcoin was instantly available worldwide and is only ten years old.
The report goes on to say that technical improvements to Bitcoin will pave the way for it to become the most important payment system in the world. Whereas the overall volume of transactions is comparable with the total for MasterCard, the fact that low fees are charged even for very large sums is a tremendous advantage for international transactions. The report also sees further such advantages primarily in the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and the absence of any opportunity for censorship. The low speed of Bitcoin transactions is currently the only factor that stands in the way of rapid network development.
The solution lies in the Lightning network with which Bitcoin aims to increase its upscaling potential and its network bandwidth by a factor of ten: “In just ten years, Bitcoin has risen to compete with the leading companies in the payment systems sector. Bitcoin is developing exponentially. If it can maintain this pace for another 10 years, it will overtake the competition.” How this future is shaping up can meanwhile be experienced in the Netherlands today. There, in the city of Arnhem with its 152,000 inhabitants, large numbers of cafés, restaurants, DIY stores, filling stations and even dental practices already accept Bitcoin. In total there are 158 locations (as of June 2019) where one can pay with Bitcoins, and the number is constantly increasing. There are more – 183 – in Prague, but the Czech capital also has ten times as many inhabitants as Arnhem, the Bitcoin city.
The Future of Money and Payment Is Bitcoin
Before us lies a future in which we can look back on the time when we were reliant on bureaux de change and plastic cards – even if there are still pessimists who doubt this will ever happen. Commenting on the coming development, internationally renowned Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos remarked that this “…is exactly as if back in 1992 we had said ‘we’re not ready for Facebook or Netflix’. If Netflix had appeared in 1992, one single person downloading a film would have brought the Internet to a standstill.” In the Bitcoin city of Arnhem we can catch a glimpse of the future payment system that awaits us. Bitcoin is the money of the future, and when everyone is ready, it will be there waiting to become the one currency used as a means of exchange, a guardian of value and an accounting unit. It will then represent the key world currency.