Bitcoin, the world’s most popular decentralized digital currency, was created in 2009 by a programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Today, the virtual currency has become a global method of payment for goods and services with more than 100,000 merchants across the world accepting Bitcoins. While Bitcoin has generated a lot of controversy as a type of currency, many expats are using it as a preferred mode of currency. Here are some of the benefits of Bitcoin for expats.
Bitcoin payments are fully interoperable – individuals and businesses can securely send and receive money anywhere in the world. Additionally, Bitcoin is available in most countries that are still out of reach for most payment systems.
The ability of Bitcoin to send and receive payments anywhere in the world gives it an edge over other payment methods.
Bitcoins are not anonymous, but rather pseudonymous. Transactions use a “Bitcoin address” which is similar to a fake name. While the transactions are publicly visible, other users cannot know your identity.
Another feature that makes Bitcoin a very secure currency is that its transactions are discrete. Bitcoin purchases are never associated with your personal identity and cannot be traced back to you. Additionally, transactions cannot be reversed by the sender as with credit card charge-backs. This allows you to be in control of your transactions.
It’s worth mentioning that, personal details are kept hidden from prying eyes, protecting users from identity theft.
Low Transaction Fees
Bitcoins are often marketed as a low-cost alternative to conventional payment systems. This is because there are no governments or intermediary institutions involved in Bitcoin transactions.
This cryptocurrency is a decentralized payment network powered by its users. It has no issuer and no central control, therefore, your Bitcoins cannot be taken away from you. Additionally, unlike banks and payment providers like Google Pay or Amazon, your account cannot be frozen.
Faster Processing Time
Transactions made using Bitcoins can be completed in less than 10 minutes. This eliminates the inconvenience of wait times making Bitcoin a fast way to make transactions when you are abroad.
Better Exchange Rates
You can exchange Bitcoins to Fiat currency (or your local currency). The best part of converting Bitcoins into cash is that the exchange rates are way better compared to Forex rates.
Ease of Use
Today, many companies accept Bitcoin as a payment for goods and services. Some of these include Virgin Galactic, Microsoft, Shopify, Subway, eGifter, Expedia and Sears among others.
With Bitcoins, you can make transactions seven days a week including weekends and public holidays.
Many companies offer discounts to customers paying with Bitcoins. Newegg, for instance, started accepting Bitcoin payment in 2014 and has since offered exclusive discounts to customers paying with the cryptocurrency.
Another company that offers discounts to its Bitcoin users is Purse.io. The digital wallet company is currently offering a 15-18% discount on products purchased on Amazon.
In addition to offering exchange services, some Bitcoin companies also offer digital authentication services including ID check. Verifying your identity is a requirement for various transactions and the digital service offered can eliminate the need to take your passport to a solicitor to be notarised.
An Overview of Bitcoin – Pros and Cons
As with any new currency, volatility is the biggest problem for Bitcoin. This is because the currency’s value keeps rising and falling making investors uncertain about its long-term prospects. However, the cryptocurrency has experienced a resurgence in value over the last 18 months. It is therefore expected that the fluctuation will level off making Bitcoin a more stable currency.
Since cryptocurrencies are a relatively new medium of exchange, you should be careful to weigh their risks and benefits. Here are some limitations and benefits of bitcoin.
- Has faster processing times compared to traditional payment methods.
- Has lower transaction fees.
- Transactions are safe and secure.
- Can be used at different physical and online stores.
- Users are not vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.
- All transactions are verifiable and are stored permanently.
- Is a relatively new and untested medium of exchange.
- Is not accepted by most companies.
- Some countries have restrictions on its use.
- Filing tax returns can be complicated.
- Volatile exchange rates
- Criminals and rogue exchange employees can hack the system easily.