For those of us with a keen interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the key benefits of Bitcoin or Ethereum and others are many. Principal among these are decentralisation and ease of accessibility, plus the speed and efficiency of transactions compared to more traditional methods.
Nevertheless, when exploring progress over the last few years in Australia, we are presented with quite the conundrum insofar as uptake is concerned. On the one hand, many retailers and leading brands are keen to accept Bitcoin and various digital currencies for transactions, via both physical and online storefronts.
However, when looking at how Aussies tend to spend their money on goods and services, while the awareness of cryptocurrencies is relatively high, actual usage for transactions is relatively low. Yet some areas of business are faring much better than others, insofar as convincing people to discover the benefits of using digital currencies for transactions.
Winning formula in the iGaming sector
As one of the fastest growing entertainment sectors in the world, iGaming is the term relating to anything that involves online betting, whether that’s playing casino games or wagering on sports. Furthermore, leading financial experts have predicted that by the conclusion of 2023, consumer spending with digital currencies will exceed AUS $100 million.
Uptake for crypto transactions is high at the most reputable online casinos, which is clear if we visit the site for more information available at Gamble Online Australia. They are a leading authority for detailed online casino reviews, and when looking at the most recommended and reputable sites they cover, the vast majority now welcome Bitcoin transactions. They regard Bitcoin as real money, just like any other currency.
Trustworthy and licensed gambling operators clearly understand the benefits, given that many have incorporated blockchain technology, significantly boosting the safety and security of their casino and betting sites. Adding the option of Bitcoin transactions is natural progression, improving the reliability of deposit payments and withdrawals.
Furthermore, due to the demand for increased usage of cryptocurrencies for gaming transactions, licensing authorities like the UK Gambling Commission has introduced stringent regulations and guidelines for legitimate operators. This means that with reputable casino sites, transaction and private information is fully protected.
Retail consumers in Australia remain hesitant
While the iGaming sector has managed to encourage the use of crypto transactions, generally speaking, the uptake among retail consumers has been surprisingly slow. According to The Conversation, using Bitcoin and other digital currencies to actually buy things has yet to become mainstream, even if awareness of cryptocurrencies has increased.
In their 2023 survey of awareness versus use of different payment methods, RBoA found that while more than 60% of consumers in Australia know about cryptocurrencies, less than 2% actually use them for purchase transactions. By comparison, more than half of those surveyed prefer to use PayPal or PayID, indicating that crypto still has a long way to go.
This data matches other studies around the world, including those undertaken by the US Federal Reserve, indicating that no more than 2% of Americans pay for goods or services with cryptocurrencies. Such data indicates that regardless of growing knowledge among consumers, they continue to remain reluctant.
Despite awareness of crypto being high in both Australia and the United States, price volatility is often cited as the problem, dissuading consumers from using crypto. That’s perhaps the main downside compared to traditional currencies, given that constantly needing to update fluctuating crypto values can be difficult for many retailers.
Aussie companies actively promoting crypto use
Despite the apparently low uptake among consumers, the number and variety of businesses encouraging crypto usage is actually quite impressive. NASDAQ reported that in 2022, more than 440 retail outlets owned by Peregrine in Australia began accepting Bitcoin, which included their OTR petrol stations and convenience stores. But they aren’t alone.
Crypto transactions can be used for all manner of goods and services, from home renovations to purchasing luxury properties, and everything from buying pet food to covering the bill at restaurants. Australian retailers are making a genuine and profound effort, aimed at promoting the use of digital currencies for everyday transactions.
While the consumers themselves appear to be slow on the uptake, this isn’t for the lack of effort by retailers and companies throughout Australia, indicating their continued efforts to convert people will gradually bear fruit. Likewise, crypto transactions are just one of many digital payment options available, making this a competitive space.
But if the widespread adoption of accepting crypto transactions is any example, Australia is certainly leading the way insofar as embracing digital currencies. Indeed, more companies are keen to join the movement, which suggests that opinions will change with time and continued effort.
Familiarity with crypto will boost usage
Crypto still has a long way to go in terms of convincing the masses. Even though increasingly more people are aware of digital currencies, they don’t yet have a firm grasp of the many benefits of using Bitcoin and others for common transactions. This would indicate there’s a continued need to educate and inform consumers.
Based on how many Australian companies are now embracing crypto payments, especially in entertainment focused sectors like iGaming or those dealing in digital products and services, retail companies have inevitably shown keen interest in following suit. And if more retailers actively participate, this will undoubtedly boost familiarity surrounding cryptocurrencies.
Although crypto seems to have produced something of a conundrum in Australia, the potential for increased usage for transactions is huge. Once people begin to understand more about the benefits of their digital wallets, the more they will use Bitcoin for the very reason it was invented, as the “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash” that creator Satoshi Nakamoto first imagined.