Will cryptocurrency ever become normal on the high street?

Study from Paymentsense reveals how other alternative cryptocurrency options have already established a foothold on the UK high street.

A third (35 per cent) of SME owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the high street within two years, according to new research from card machine provider Paymentsense. Some small business owners are even more optimistic about the its potential, with over a fifth (21 per cent) predicting that cryptocurrency will start appearing within one year.

Despite these bold predictions, the study revealed hesitation amongst SMEs to take the plunge and start accepting the payment method. Only one-in-ten small business owners said they already take cryptocurrency payments (13 per cent).

The recent volatility of Bitcoin doesn’t seem to have discouraged SME owners when it comes to their own cryptocurrency investment, however. Almost six in ten (59 per cent) said they’d consider investing in it, with approaching a fifth (18 per cent) already investing.

International and Premiership footballer Thomas Hal-Robson-Kanu, who founded The Turmeric Co. in 2016 says, ‘We started taking cryptocurrency payments at the end of 2017, and believe they are going to revolutionise global transactions for businesses at all levels. Instantaneous settlements with no need for centralised third parties and fees are a big plus. We’re a forward thinking company with ambitious growth plans, so this flexibility is important to us. Cryptocurrencies are a really exciting payment option.’

The study also reveals other ways of paying have established a foothold amongst UK small businesses.

Almost half (46 per cent) of SME owners questioned accept alternative currencies, with over a quarter (27 per cent) involved in schemes such as the Bristol, Liverpool, Brixton and Lewes pound to encourage local spending. A further 15 per cent said they accept national bartering schemes such as Bartercard, with 11 per cent taking regional gift vouchers.

Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense says, ‘It’s clear that cryptocurrencies are moving swiftly towards the mainstream. However, small business owners considering cryptocurrency as a payment option should be clear about how they can integrate it with their existing financial arrangements. Will suppliers or staff accept it? Can they pay local and national government agencies with it?

‘Also, the value of unregulated cryptocurrency changes fast. This has significant implications for an SME’s revenue security. Using a trusted payment processor or merchant service provider can help guard against this by allowing a swift currency exchange, and improve security processes. For entrepreneurs in emerging sectors it might be worth the risks involved, but for others in more established or slower-moving areas it could be wiser to wait and see how things evolve over the next six to 12 months.’

Further reading on cryptocurrency

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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