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Bitcoin Payments Getting Slower and More Expensive

January 3, 2018

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, if you have a computer or mobile device then you have heard of Bitcoin. It is the cryptocurrency that has been around nearly ten years now that has solved the problem of sending money instantly and affordably anywhere in the world. But, anyone who has actually has used the stuff in the last few months can see the problems with it. By design, the value of the coin goes up as people buy it. But, as a side effect, so do the fees associated with sending it. When Bitcoin was $200 you could send money for just pennies. Now that it is $15,000-$20,000 range, you will be paying $5-$10 per transaction. That sounds pretty fair if you are sending $20,000. But, I am saying if I want to send you ten bucks it will cost me $5 more to send it. This negates all the dreams of using BTC as a payment system at a grocery store or some similar scenario. You don’t want to spend $10 on a gallon of milk (if you still drink that nonsense).

Bitcoin programmers are aware of this flaw and have been working on fixes and upgrades. Those same fixes and upgrades are working to improve the speed of transactions. Because of all the newfound interest in Bitcoin, users have outpaced the miners and as a result you get lag times. In some cases the lag times are as long as 12-24 hours. That isn’t bad when comparing BTC to money sending tools of the past such as MoneyGram or Western Union, but when you are talking about a currency that has wild swings in value, it can be confusing, complicating and worse yet, costly.

In the sportsbook world, Bitcoin has been a great asset. Sending and receiving money almost instantly and cheaply solved many problems. However, the same problems plague the sportsbook world now. Long drawn out payouts and high processing rates have taken the luster off the once shiny Bitcoin. Just today, a user reported that Intertops Sportsbook has taken down bitcoin as a withdrawal option because transactions are getting kicked back. The kickback transactions had become a nuisance for them and so they have taken it off the board as an option, at least temporarily.

The Future

The future is definitely in Cryptocurrency as far as international payments in concerned. It may not necessarily be in Bitcoin, the coin that started it all. An offshoot called Bitcoin Cash seems to be the younger, better version of BTC and you are starting to see companies gravitate toward it. Litecoin is still a very viable option. It is the junior version of BTC and is just as the name implies, a lighter version of it. It has not been tested to the extremes that Bitcoin has.

Not the Future

The future of cryptocurrency is NOT for every institution to create its own cryptocurrency and depend on it. Although many (if not all) major financial institutions are looking into creating their own Crypto, in the end they will find that it will be not nearly as useful as a crypto (or multiple) that we can all agree to use. After all, the main problems that cryptocurrencies are supposed to solve are 1) ease of use 2) speed of use and 3) retain value. You need a coin that has real value, is easy to send, is fast to use and is accepted almost anywhere. The accepted almost anywhere and ease of use factors will be quashed if you are using any cryptos that are not in the top 5 cryptocurrencies worldwide.

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