The utility and power of Bitcoin can be debated to no end. Some view it as the next stage in world currency—a clever and robust digital alternative that in time will replace conventional forms of money. Others view it as an potential investment, something to be bought and stored like gold or shares in crude oil. And still others are still treating it like a blip on the radar, or something of a trap for overeager investors who fail to see cryptocurrency’s inherent flaws and limitations. Skeptics will even go so far as to argue that the surging Bitcoin prices of late are more about feeling than actual financial outlook.
It’s difficult to say which of these camps is “correct,” or closest to it. In all likelihood, each group will be able to consider itself to have been right at some point in the coming years, and perhaps even in the coming decades. Bitcoin is still in its early days of development and expansion, and while reasoned predictions can be made, there’s no telling what’s going to happen.
But one area where we can all agree that Bitcoin is most interesting is in currency exchange. This is true for a few different reasons, and with regard to a few different types of people. Generally speaking, the cryptocurrency has emerged as an intriguing option for those exchanging funds overseas or using money on digital platforms with international reach.
Borders Don’t Matter
At least, in most cases they don’t. This is the biggest point in favor of Bitcoin for those who are looking for more convenient currency exchange options when traveling. Bitcoin doesn’t belong to any one country or region. Wherever it’s accepted it can be used no matter where you brought it from. Buying Bitcoin in advance of a trip allows you to use it where you’re going, rather than worry about acquiring the appropriate local currency. Also, if you know that there are Bitcoin ATMs (sometimes called BTMs) at the destination you’re traveling to, you can safely plan on being able to acquire digital currency once you’re there. There may be an exchange fee, but we’ll get to that shortly.
There Are Personal Security Perks
We know that anonymity and encryption are two of the big draws for a lot of Bitcoin proponents. We’ve started to see these features mentioned as reasons for using Bitcoin in activities that may otherwise involve foreign currencies. Online gaming sites, which draw people from all different parts of the world, have recently started to accept Bitcoin, with stellar privacy and security benefits driving much of the usage. People like the idea of being able to pay for an international service, or deposit money on a foreign platform, with the knowledge that doing so reveals neither personal information nor any connection to a personal bank account.
It Can Help The Unbanked
This is one of the main factors mentioned with regard to international transactions and ease of use. People without access to ordinary banks can exchange cash for Bitcoin regardless of what the local fiat currency may be, or even where the Bitcoin ATM is located. Similarly, people sending money to unbanked individuals can now do so via Bitcoin transfer. This allows them to let go of worries about where a check can be cashed, or how currency can be exchanged along the way.
Fees Can Be Lower
This is not a guarantee, but currency exchange fees can regularly plague travelers. It’s a common point of strategy when traveling to look into how and where to exchange currency without incurring oppressive fees, and there aren’t always good options. Just withdrawing cash from an ATM overseas can result in your handing over a decent fee in the process. Bitcoin doesn’t completely do away with these issues, as there are still fees for exchanges, but in some cases the fees can be lower. Even when they’re not, you at least know what you’re dealing with because there’s really only one way to do it. With currency exchange, you can drive yourself crazy trying to find the best and cheapest options.
Again, we could still see all kinds of fluctuations in Bitcoin’s value and utility moving forward into the years ahead. But these are some of the factors that play into its appeal from the standpoint of those looking to use currency across borders. It’s one of the few undeniable things about Bitcoin that it can be used with more flexibility around the world than any one currency.