An increasingly large number of Canadian businesses have started to take advantage of the digital currency that has seen great promise in the past few years. Based on findings by Canadian Bitcoin Business Directory, as of September 25, 2014 there are currently 338 merchants in Canada that accept bitcoin. These include large retailers like Newegg, TigerDirect, Overstock, and most recently PayPal. In the case of PayPal, CNN comments “PayPal took its first venture into the world of all-digital money. Merchants that work with eBay’s PayPal can now easily start accepting payments from customers that use Bitcoin”

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So there are more Canadian retailers taking advantage of Bitcoin but what is it?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that will transform money transactions the same way email transformed communication, by making it cheaper and instantaneous. It allows for large or small transfers of money to be done quickly and securely. It also does it for a fee less than any credit card or bank can offer. Additionally, the system that creates and monitors Bitcoin is created in such a way to guarantee that it cannot be faked or counterfeited. Lastly, there is no banks or governments involved with Bitcoin. Thus, it cannot be devalued by printing more of it or by counterfeiting large quantities.

When retailers are looking to implement a system to conduct their payment transactions they are looking for something that is affordable, convenient, quick and safe. Bitcoin fulfills all these needs as the system has low fees, quick transfers and security, as it is an open source. In terms of convince it can’t be beat, it also has no government connection, which means travelers from around the world can avoid carrying cash, or incur fees from currency exchanges.

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Bitcoin is still in its early stages, as there are concerns about it lacking control or regulations from a bank. Though there has been a recent price jump after regulators signaled that digital currencies could be acceptable. However, some countries have not been as accepting as it experienced a price drop of 30% in December 2013 after China’s central bank banned Bitcoins as a currency. Although, we must remember that without risk there are no rewards.

Getting a little excited? Maybe your next question is – How do I get my hands on some for myself?

Well if you live in Canada you’re in luck! There are many ways to acquire Bitcoins. For example, you can purchase it through person-to-person trades or buy directly from an exchange. In my opinion, buying from an exchange is the safest way, especially if you don’t have previous experience. When conducting an exchange, companies like canadianbitcoins.com, localbitcoins.com or my personal choice cavirtex.com come in. CaVirtex has two systems in place to buy Bitcoins. First, they have newly introduced the patriotic Bitcoin ATM, which you can see below. This ATM will allow individuals to purchase directly and quickly. The second option is their online service that takes a little longer (approximately 1 week), but has added benefits such as direct money withdraw.

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Overall, there are clear pros and cons to Bitcoin and Canadian retailers need to determine how much risk they are willing to take before implementing it. In my opinion, the Bitcoin has two potential outcomes, to explode in popularity and reform the consumer transaction process or collapse due to the lack of support from the government and banks resulting in a failed experiment.

Though only time will be able to tell which will be the future of the Bitcoin.

However, I would love to hear what you think about the innovative Bitcoin and it’s future. Leave your opinion in the comments below!

Posted by Rami Marbain

Rami Marbain is an enthusiastic 4th year Retail Management student with a passion for research and market analysis. When he is not at school or work you can find him building custom computers, listening to music, hiking or surfing the net.

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