The day-to-day usefulness of Bitcoin as a method of payment for everyday transactions is so limited that the North American Bitcoin Conference, which actively promotes the cryptocurrency, actually had to stop accepting it from attendees trying to make last-minute ticket purchases.
The Keynote event, which is set to take place this week in Miami, features an impressive lineup of speakers and workshops on the growing trends within the cryptocurrency community. But when it comes to actually accepting these cryptocurrencies in real life as methods of payment, conference organizers had to make a few changes in the final hour to make sure that everything progressed smoothly.
“We have, and always will, accept cryptocurrencies for our conferences, up to fourteen days before the event,” the event’s organizers were quick to explain in an announcement. “However, due to the manual inputting of data in our ticketing platforms when paid in cryptocurrencies, we decided to shut down Bitcoin payments for last minute sales due to print deadlines.”
Part of the problem is that the blockchain platform for Bitcoin is very outdated, and can’t perform very many transactions at once. These transactions are also prohibitively expensive for making everyday purchases – having risen from around $2 per transaction in its earlier days to nearly $20 per transaction today.
Bitcoin is also highly volatile, having risen by roughly 1,500 percent since the beginning of the year. It also fluctuates on the daily by sometimes several thousand dollars in one direction or another, which for some is just too unmanageable when it comes to using the platform in the same way as fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar.
Even so, Bitcoin remains the world’s most popular cryptocurrency that’s become universally recognized all around the world. And for that reason, interest in it will likely remain strong for quite some time, despite its current limitations in terms of poor speed, high cost, and questionable practicality.
There’s also the budding prospect of upgrades to the Bitcoin platform that some experts believe will make it much more speedy, and a lot less costly. The so-called “Lightning Network,” reports indicate, could make Bitcoin a lot more scalable, bringing it up a few notches as far as its feasibility as a digital currency.
“The very fluid nature of Bitcoin’s evolution means that it could still become a very useful and viable currency if the community decides,” writes Darryn Pollock for Coin Telegraph.
“The Lightning Network would implement a smart contract script into the Bitcoin network that would open private payment channels between a peer and all of the other peers they transact with. In addition to all the private payment channels they are a part of, each of peer would have one channel open to the Bitcoin Blockchain.”
But financial gurus like Peter Schiff, who runs an investment business centered around gold and precious metals, isn’t convinced. He believes that there’s no real value in Bitcoin, and that at some point the cryptocurrency will collapse.
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, holds similar views. He believes that Bitcoin represents a “digital tulip bulb mania” – and that in the end, a lot of people are going to get burned. (Read more analysis of Bitcoin risks at BitRaped.com.)
“Historians will be writing about the mania (and the madness of crowds) for decades to come, and the Bitcoin collapse will be used by the establishment to discredit decentralized systems, libertarians and certain sectors of the independent media,” Adams says.
“The headlines you’re going to see emblazoned across the mainstream media when this scheme unravels will include, ‘Bitcoin BLOODBATH’ and ‘Bitcoin Goes BUST.'”
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