As technology advances through time, new ways of doing things arise. Now is the turn of a new form of payment, called Bitcoin. According to bitcoin.org, Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet.
The use of this new form of payment is growing fast globally as it can be easily used by businesses and individuals to make economic transactions, and Puerto Rico businesses are not the exception. Currently there are eleven businesses accepting Bitcoin in Puerto Rico. These businesses comprise doctor offices, restaurants, fitness centers, coffee shops, and among other small businesses.
More and more Puerto Rico's small businesses are evaluating the use of Bitcoin, as it waives the bank charges of financial institutions. This means cheaper electronic commercial transactions and wider sales margin. This is very attractive in a distressed economy, in which costs of making business is very high. The only cost incurred by businesses is the currency exchange charge, to exchange it for dollars.
Nevertheless, Bitcoin users can expect federal or state regulations in its usage for economic transactions. Currently, the Government of Puerto Rico, is evaluating to impose 5% special charge, which must collect and pay all money transfer business, for every money transfer processed or completed electronically, check, money order, fax, air transport or other means, from the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico, including any municipal, to any entity, person or company overseas, including U.S. jurisdictions.
Bitcoin "side effects"
- Although Bitcoin security is military grade, there are customer concerns in its reliability.
- Bitcoin price volatility. It reached a peak value of US $1,200 per Bitcoin in November and today is rounding US $500 exchange value.
- Bitcoin has reputation of making easier illegal activities, as they are anonymous.