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Bitcoin is a game changer for retailers and emerging markets

Bitcoin was introduced as an answer to the global meltdown of 2008 in early 2009 from the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper. It is fast becoming a favorite of retailers and emerging markets, reports Forbes today.

Bitcoin Conference Held In New York City
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Retailers began to catch on to bitcoin use for payment in 2013 due to the efficiency of a digital currency to cross over geographical boundaries and no central bank system to enter into its valuation. The statistics now place 65,000 bitcoin transactions a day and 13 million bitcoins are in the global system of holding. The conversion rate on close yesterday of $589 BTC places a value of $8 billion on those bitcoins. The original Nakamoto algorithm provided 21 million bitcoins.

Retailers and non-profits world-wide are catching bitcoin fever. Jana, a payment survey group, found that half of the respondents from Africa and Asia are confident in bitcoin. In Kenya it is at 74 percent.

Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of New York Department of Financial Services, announced the BitLicense in July for business owners in New York State. Lawsky found in review of bitcoin that it was extremely cost efficient for workers particularly in New York City to have access to a very inexpensive method of sending money to family and friends across geographical borders.

This remittance market has had a flow of $414 billion in 2013 according to the World Bank. Its forecast for 2016 is to grow to $540 billion.

Kenya does not have access to PayPal so bitcoin is an extremely convenient choice plus the small fee charged the sender of only one percent or less of the amount transferred. Western Union may charge up to 20 percent to send money globally across borders.

An undisclosed source from a transaction unit of a major bank has revealed to me that the American Express fee for certain businesses owners will drop from its over 3 percent to 1.69 percent. Bitcoin is creating competition.

Lawsky and others are correcting reading the pulse of bitcoin. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill for cryptocurrency to be classified as “lawful money” in June.

Vietnam’s VBTC is the first live bitcoin exchange in the world. It has benefited from the earlier exchanges by offering a multisignature wallet with its trading services. This is a step to curb fraud. Due to high inflation rates in Vietnam use of bitcoin makes it attractive.

BTC China offers trading and exchange services and a wallet app, although China as many governments are reluctant to embrace bitcoin and restrict its use in the central banking system for transfer of currency.

Non-profit groups find the value in bitcoin. Wikipedia accepts bitcoin. It announced on its blog post Thursday that it has received $140,000 in donations at 237 BTC exchange rate close on Thursday.

The Wikipedia blog posted the following: “We were particularly excited to enable the Wikimedia Foundation to accept bitcoin donations because we feel that the decentralized, inclusive nature of Wikipedia is well aligned with bitcoin and we wanted to help the bitcoin community contribute to the democratization of information.”

In Argentina inflation was the trigger for other startups such as BitPago. Founder, Sebastian Serrnao saw the value in it compared to the volatility of the currency. Moneero Social and Moneero SMS in Argentina provide both mobile and social media transfer of bitcoin.

Adam White, Coinbase's director of business development and strategy, sums it up that the number of merchants accepting bitcoin is growing at about 10 percent a month. Coinbase does not charge a transaction fee until one million dollars is transacted. Its transaction fee is 1 percent at that level.

Jesse Jacobs of Samovar’s, a chain of tea shops around San Francisco, states that it accepted bitcoin from about 100 customers this year to date. He believes that, “This whole technology is just so groundbreaking."

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