Do you remember the last time you paid in cash? You’re probably an anomaly if you do. Cash payments in the EU (and the rest of the world) have been on the decline for a while now, with many merchants no longer accepting cash as a payment method. Unless you’re doing some old school shady dealings that involve a briefcase and stacks of cash, you probably haven’t seen that much paper money changing hands lately. Over the last decade or so, we’ve made a shift towards a cashless society. The rise of online banking and, most recently, cryptocurrencies, has sufficiently made the case for a switch from cash to ‘Coin. So, let’s take a look at how Bitcoin will rise as EU cash payments fall.
— /r/Bitcoin (@RedditBTC) December 17, 2019
Cash use is falling
In Sweden, fewer and fewer merchants (restaurants, shops, and even museums) are accepting cash payments. Sweden’s transport system also, mostly, only accepts transactions via card or mobile payment. According to a report from Bloomberg, “no cash accepted” signs are becoming commonplace around the nation.
All of this follows a historic decision by Swedish banks in 2013. According to reports, banks like SEB, Swedbank, and Nordea Bank all began to refuse to hand over physical cash to clients in 75% of their branches. Now, more than half of all Swedish banks refuse to deal with cash.
According toRiksbank, cash payments made up less than 2% of the value of all transactions made in Sweden in 2015. This has likely declined even further today. Circulation of the Swedish Krona has plummeted from around 106 billion in 2009 to only 80 billion last year. The Swedes truly are leading the way to a cashless society, and the rest of Europe seems to be following suit.
Norway has also made a bid to become a cashless society. The Norwegian Conservative Party committee previously set out a plan for Norway to become a cashless society by 2030. Norway will first allow businesses to refuse cash payments, before rolling out online billing and payments as mandatory. According to Trond Betestuen, the executive vice president at DNB, only 6% of Norwegians use cash on a daily basis.
Comparatively, the UK – now racing towards Brexit – doesn’t seem to be making the move to a cashless society anytime soon. London might have adopted a cashless transport system with Oyster cards, but it’s hardly set the precedent for the rest of the country. According to the Bank of England, the number of banknotes in circulation has been on the rise since 2013. However, this isn’t reflected in the transactions of the British population. Cash transactions have actually been falling by 10% per year, with card payments overtaking notes and coins quite a while ago.
Bitcoin on the rise
Now let’s take a look at how Bitcoin will rise as EU cash payments fall. According to BitPay, a Bitcoin payment service provider, payments made using BTC increased by a whopping 328% from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, Europe was the second largest Bitcoin market, behind North America. 35% of payments made through the service provider came from Europe.
Estonia, Sweden, and Russia all seem to be following in the footsteps of Venezuela, in developing their own national cryptocurrencies. These will likely be stablecoins, and probably won’t oust Bitcoin as the most trusted cryptoasset. Bitcoin and blockchain technology could play a massive role in the future of European payment systems.
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Bitcoin is the future
We’ve taken a look at how Bitcoin will rise as EU cash payments fall, and the future is looking pretty exciting. As cash payments plummet around the world, but particularly in Europe, it makes more and more sense for us to accept the cryptocurrency as a valid and viable payment method. Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency with the largest market cap, really is the only crypto contender to replace cash in Europe.
Cash payments have been falling around the world for a long time now. The advent of debit cards and mobile and online payment systems have made things vastly more convenient for us – something which many of us take for granted. Bitcoin will change this further. A digital future includes cryptocurrencies, there’s no denying that.
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