Bitcoin is no stranger in Singapore. When the first Bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) debuted at CityLink Mallin February this year, throngs of consumers were seen queuing to swop their physical dollars for the virtual cryptocurrency.
While the hype seemsto have fizzled, traders' and investors' adoption of cryptocurrencies in the republic is still "relatively good," said Pawan Kumar, CRXzone's CEO, in an exclusive interview with BankITAsia. Singapore-based CRXzone provides a platform for miners, traders, investors, and individuals to buy or sell Bitcoin and Litecoin.
While cryptocurrencies are still popular with consumers, merchants are slow to adopt it. Since the introduction of the first Bitcoin ATM, only a small pool of merchants in Singapore is currently accepting cryptocurrencies for payments. Among the handful of merchants are Artistry Cafe, Oyster Bar, computer gaming supplier Epic gear, retailer XX Simplicity, and Prep Hair Salon. So far, no big retail chains or supermarkets have embraced this form of payment for goods sold.
To help boost the acceptance of cryptocurrencies, CRXzone recently started testing its merchant payment gateway to encourage online retailers to accept payments in Bitcoinor Litecoin, said Kumar.
Benefits and future of cryptocurrencies
When asked about the advantages of using cryptocurrencies, Kumar replied that they can be transferred easily and quickly from one digital wallet to another.
It is also cheaper to transfer cryptocurrencies as compared to online fund transfer and credit card payments. " Transaction fee for Bitcoin transfer is almost zero as the maximum transaction fee is about 4 cents," said Kumar.
Transactions involving cryptocurrencies are less likely to be fraudulent too, added Kumar. He explained that this was because such transactions use cryptography for security and are irreversible, unlike online fund transfer or credit card payments.
It may not be long till cryptocurrencies become more widely adopted by both consumers and merchants, said Kumar. According to him, the adoption will be fuelled by the increasing use of mobile payments, and emergence of mobile apps that are designed to ease the use of cryptocurrencies.
He did, however, state that the increased acceptance of cryptocurrencieswouldnot mean that cash might soon cease to exist. "Cryptocurrencies will not replace the physical cash but it's a promising option for secure, faster and low-cost payments worldwide," he added.
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