Leading global bitcoin payment processor BitPay has published a half year report on bitcoin which covers growth of merchants, transactions, volume, etc. Today, over 100,000 merchants worldwide are accepting bitcoin. Out of the 100,000 bitcoin merchants, 60% are processing bitcoin payments through BitPay.
The number of transactions in the 2nd quarter of 2015 for the European region has reached an all-time high of 102,221 transactions per quarter (34,074 per month).
Such growth in the European region, according to Julia Patterson, the communications manager at Bitpay is the result of the diversity of payment options adopted by European merchants to settle purchases and transactions from multiple countries.
“You could also say that Europeans are more accustomed to using alternative payment methods,” explained Patterson. “Currently there are more than 250 local payment methods used in the world. Most European consumers will use multiple payment methods in order to make purchases from multiple countries.”
"Merchants in Europe use payments service providers to aggregate all those payment methods into one solution, but bitcoin already provides an all-in-one payment method.”
Latin America Surges
According to the report, there has been some impressive growth particularly in Latin America:
“Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region has maintained a consistent transaction volume growth of 20%, while Latin America has reached 120%, and almost doubled in quarterly transactions.”
The majority of the populations in Latin America are underbanked, and thus have restricted access to financial platforms, banking systems or credit / debit cards.
Additionally, many merchants have begun accepting bitcoin in countries like Argentina, to avoid the country’s high inflation rate, which currently stands at 20%, and to refrain from using centralized financial services like Paypal, which often freezes or block funds from being processed for up to two weeks.
In Latin American countries where the native currencies are invaluable, and many chase down for US dollars in the black market, bitcoin is favored to be a borderless alternative currency, which people can send and bring out of the country without capital controls.
According to BitPay, top industries in June 2015 in terms of bitcoin acceptance includes IT services, Gift Cards, Financial Services, Market Places and Others.
Increasing bitcoin acceptance by such businesses as popular smartwatch manufacturer Kairos along with the emergence of bitcoin based gift card platforms has significantly increased the number of bitcoin transactions and merchants in the Gift Cards industry and the “Others” category, which accounted for over 22.9% of the entire pie chart.