Bitcoin served investors and traders globally throughout 2016 as digital gold. It protected assets and wealth of individuals struggling to deal with economic uncertainty and financial instability of certain regions.

The next stage in the long-term roadmap of Bitcoin is building mainstream awareness as a currency, taking over multi-trillion dollar markets dependent on fiat or banking services.

Tuur Demeester, chief editor at Adamant Research, specified seven major multi-trillion dollar markets which Bitcoin can compete with in the future. These included electronic payments, e-commerce, remittance, hedge fund, gold, cash and offshore deposit market.

Huge potential of electronic payments and remittance markets

Some markets mentioned above are already being challenged by Bitcoin primarily because of Bitcoin’s ability to eliminate third-party service providers or institutions to oversee activities through manual processes.

In particular, the $2 tln electronic payments and $514 bln remittance markets have seen a rapid emergence of innovative Bitcoin startups and service providers that are gradually acquiring promising market share.

Within the global remittance market, Cointelegraph reported yesterday that the highly anticipated Bitcoin-based application Abra is planning its international launch next month to create a decentralized network of remittance senders and receivers.

Essentially, Abra is like a peer-to-peer version of dominant remittance companies like Western Union, in the sense that users can send payments to recipients internationally who can then receive transactions through individual Abra tellers. The key difference between Western Union and Abra is that the latter guarantees lower fees and a more secure network with non-fraudulent transactions.

The Philippines which oversees some of the largest remittance markets across the globe has also seen the growing popularity of Bitcoin-based remittance service providers like Bitspark, and three companies that have established reliable and robust infrastructures within the country. Startups like Bitspark and even allow Filipino users to send money to international recipients instantaneously with low fees.

In several multi-trillion markets, Bitcoin has overtaken key players and industry leaders. For example, within the remittance market, the market cap of Bitcoin surpassed Western Union a dominant organization which has served the global remittance market as the base platform.

Oldie but goldie

The $7 bln gold market is another key market that Bitcoin is directly competing against.

In regions like India and China where gold imports and exports are either banned or heavily regulated with local authorities seizing the precious metal from residents, the demand for Bitcoin is increasing at a rapid rate.

Traders and investors in two of the largest gold markets are looking for alternative safe haven assets like Bitcoin to protect their wealth.