It may sound like the sort of opening volley of a conversation that occurs after a sophomore dorm room at the local community college is filled with purple haze, but do we really understand what money is going to look like in the future?
For thousands upon thousands of years, human beings have been pushing an evolution in how we transact with each other. From trading bushels of barley to bankrupting hedge funds with GameStop stock, there is often no telling what the next turn of the financial page will bring to the story.
In 2021, one of the hottest topics of debate in this sector have been cryptocurrencies: Digitally-created “coins” of value that can either be “mined” via computing power, or bought, sold, and traded on crypto exchanges and some mainstream platforms.
Part of what has been holding these parallel currencies back has been the difficulty of their use in the mainstream world. That may be about to change in a big way.
That’s the goal of a new partnership between crypto payment processor BitPay Inc. and Verifone Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of those little machines you use to pay via a credit card or Venmo at a checkout line. Later this year, the newest Verifone terminals will start accepting payments for U.S. merchants from a range of cryptocurrency wallets and tokens, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
And, if all goes according to plan, it won’t just be niche boutiques who will accept these crypto-coins.
BitPay already processes more than 60,000 transactions a month, more than half of them in Bitcoin, according to the company. By comparison, Visa Inc. handles an average of 150 million transactions a day.Advertisement - story continues below
“We just want to give consumers options,” Mike Pulli, chief executive officer of Verifone, said in an interview. “If they decide to buy a pizza with Visa or AmEx or crypto, we don’t care. We just want to give them the flexibility to pay the way they want to.”
This isn’t the first mainstream foray into cryptocurrencies either, with Twitter, PayPal, and Starbucks having all dabbled in the space in various ways over the years, but it could promise a far more mainstream, real-world appeal for these formerly belittled coins.