Blockchain

The Bitcoin wallet iPhone app has finally been made available and that is telling. While the Android app and the web-based and computer apps have been around for a while, Apple continued to hold out. They saw no future in Bitcoin. However, with recent news items of Bitcoin surging in value and everybody talking about them, it seems that even Apple is now paying attention. And this makes sense, since there are now so many places where the app can be used and the currency is accepted.

Using the Bitcoin Wallet iPhone App in Retail

In retail, someone can now use their iPhone to simply scan a QR code that has all the transactional details included in order to send bitcoin to the retailer. They tap the “confirm” button and the transaction will have been completed. Should they not own any Bitcoin, then the network can automatically convert dollars into the digital currency instead. Meanwhile, the retailer has their own Bitcoin account in which it gets deposited. They can then convert it into dollar with a processing fee of just around 2% or 3%. There is no fraud risk and hackers can’t steal personal information. Clearly, retailers love it.

Using the Bitcoin Wallet iPhone App in Retail

You can also use Bitcoin in hotels, paying for rooms, dining, drinks, and entertainment. Again, the guest can simply scans their app and the transaction will be processed straight away. They can even do so ahead of time, paying for their reservation when they book it. The hospitality business itself, meanwhile, can install the app on their POS (point of sale) system, so that they can take money as well. This means that no money or credit card details have to be exchanged at any point, which is incredibly safe.

What the two examples above have in common, is that they both focus on cashless transactions and that is what people like about it. In 2014, two hotels in Las Vegas started to accept the currency, and others have quickly followed suit. But it is also true that not everybody is using it, and businesses should consider the disadvantages as well.

Bitcoin’s Downside

  • Bitcoin is still a niche market with very few people and even fewer businesses truly understanding it.
  • There is always a hacker threat to the Bitcoin exchanged. It is believed that they were successful in September 2013, when a total of $250,000 worth of Bitcoin was stolen. Since transactions cannot be reversed and are anonymous, this money was never recovered.
  • Because of the fact that transactions cannot be reversed, everybody has to take responsibility for securing their own Bitcoin and their private key. Some even use a safe for this.
  • While one of Bitcoin’s strengths is that it is decentralized and unregulated, this is also a downside because it means that it is not insured.
  • The value of Bitcoins is quite high, and it has been rising as well. That said, it is also incredibly volatile.