MasterCard is one of the most well-known brands in the world. The MasterCard logo is displayed at merchants both large and small in first world countries as well as in developing nations. Though Bitcoin is relatively new to the financial scene, being released in 2009, the cryptocurrency has quickly gained importance in the world’s economy. In fact, Bitcoin transfers just over 8 billion dollars of wealth each day. By comparison, MasterCard transfers about 12 billion. As the amount of money processed on Bitcoin continues to grow, MasterCard’s processing amount is largely unchanged. If Bitcoin continues to grow and MasterCard holds steady, Bitcoin’s business will soon be larger than MasterCard’s.
Though Bitcoin transferring more wealth that the world’s second largest credit card processor will be an interesting story, it doesn’t actually mean a whole lot by itself. However, as Bitcoin becomes more and more mainstream, it is likely that it will also become more and more valuable. For those invested in Bitcoin, and other similar cryptocurrencies, the increased utilization of Bitcoin indicates future financial profits.
As merchants see the growth in Bitcoins, more businesses will make the decision to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. The widespread acceptance of Bitcoin will be a benefit to both buyers and sellers due to the low cost of Bitcoin transactions compared to traditional payment processing. The lower cost of cryptocurrency transactions will also put pressure on Visa, MasterCard, Discover and other traditional payment processors to lower transaction fees. These companies will see lower profits as a result of lower fees. Traditional payment processors may merge or seek to work out arrangements to accept cryptocurrency transactions in order to stay competitive.
Other payment processors, such as PayPal, Venmo and Google Wallet, will also add competition to the payment processing industry. Higher cost money transfer services, such as Western Union and MoneyGram, will also be impacted by the rise of the acceptance of cryptocurrency. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions will also be affected by cryptocurrency. However, it is unlikely cryptocurrencies will have a significant impact of the large banks for many years.
For investors, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide an interesting opportunity. However, there is also money to be made by predicting how cryptocurrencies will impact commodities, businesses and other assets.