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Perspectives

Digital currency payments and merchant adoption survey

More businesses are accepting digital currency payments

Some people may believe digital currency is a passing trend. Nevertheless, the increasingly widespread acceptance of crypto or stablecoin for payment—and the level of interest and investment it takes to enable those solutions—suggests business leaders are seeing digital currency as an essential tool to achieve their goals.

Does it pay to pay with crypto?

Since the introduction of bitcoin in 2008, more than 220 million people are using cryptocurrency. Consumers are using it to pay for many goods and services, and businesses are responding accordingly by making digital currency a viable payment option for more people.

In theory, digital currency could have remained a niche payment option indefinitely. Incorporating a new payment method requires time, resources, and in this case, a willingness to embrace novel challenges in a relatively new space. What has made so many companies adopt digital currencies? Based on a survey polling a sample of 2,000 senior executives at US consumer businesses, merchants are embracing digital currency payments in the hope of gaining a competitive advantage in the market and in the belief that the use of digital currency will continue to expand.

The promise and perception of digital currency

There are two forms of digital currency merchants often consider adopting: cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. The first are digital assets developed and maintained on decentralized blockchains that can be used as a medium of exchange. The second are one type of asset-backed cryptocurrency, whose value is typically pegged to the value of an underlying asset (e.g., US dollar or other currency).

To handle these two types of digital currency, companies need to build the necessary infrastructure to process and integrate them. This, however, is also cited as one of the greatest challenges when considering accepting digital currency for payments. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents said the complexity of integrating digital currencies with existing financial infrastructures and/or integrating a system across various digital currencies were the leading challenges in enabling these types of payments.

But as this survey has also found, 85% of business leaders believe these challenges are worth embracing since they predict that the use of cryptocurrencies will become even more widespread. The more a respondent believed their organization anticipated the ubiquity of digital currency, the more they were willing to invest in the relevant infrastructure. In a similar vein, leaders who expected customer interest in digital currency to increase over the next 12 months were more likely to invest heavily in its integration.

Moreover, merchants believe accepting digital currencies is a way of supporting customer preferences. Sixty-four percent of merchants indicated their customers had significant interest in using digital currencies for payments. Their hope is that by accepting digital currencies they will increase their customer base (particularly among younger consumers), improve the customer service experience, and define their brand as relevant, modern, and cutting-edge.

The interest business leaders have demonstrated in digital currencies suggests they believe crypto adoption entails more than just following a trend. It’s about prioritizing consumer preferences and preparing for the future of currency and transactions.

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