Every year, on May 22, the crypto community celebrates the anniversary of the first commercial transaction with bitcoin: two pizzas that would change the history of cryptocurrencies. Prior to this day, bitcoin had no market value, had not been used for any payments, had no exchanges, and was simply a bland network used by few people.
In 2010, Florida programmer Laszlo Hanyecz successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins (currently worth around $300 million) for two pizzas. Known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day,” this day marks the moment when bitcoin met one of the key criteria for being considered money: it became a medium of exchange, accepted as payment for goods and services. Since then, cryptocurrencies have achieved and started to explore countless use cases around the world.
Products and services for everyday life
Today, cryptocurrencies are used all over the world to buy cars, planes, houses, and even citizenship, and Latin America is no exception. In El Salvador, where bitcoin is legal tender, it can be used to buy just about anything.
Tigres, a Mexican soccer club, is among several sports teams that accept bitcoin to buy tickets, and the delivery app Rappi already accepts payments in cryptocurrencies. Each of these use cases positions bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies more broadly, as an equally valid, useful, and valuable alternative to traditional fiat currencies.
Recently, a new class of use cases is also emerging that positions cryptocurrencies not only as an equal alternative to fiat currency, but as a better option. It is perhaps one of the most interesting uses for Latin America: international payments.
Global corporations move nearly $23.5 trillion* between countries each year, and people are projected to have sent $630 billion in remittances** by the end of 2022. By eliminating the need for intermediaries and allowing people send funds directly in minutes instead of days, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reduce time and costs for those who depend on remittances.
In fact, a Juniper Research report suggests that blockchain technology will reduce the cost of international transactions by $10 billion by 2030. Beyond helping businesses with their bottom lines, these savings help people pay for other things. essential goods and services, such as rent, groceries, and family care.
The future of bitcoin adoption
Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin enthusiasts have pushed for its adoption, touting its potential to transform our society. Over the last decade, these improvements have had impressive results, and today the Bitcoin network moves an average of $5 billion a day. A Cambrian explosion has been unleashed in the industry, with new networks and cryptocurrencies seeking mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as was achieved by the Internet in the early 21st century.
When market crashes occur, it is easy to become bearish on cryptocurrencies. However, the most interesting thing about cryptocurrencies is not their price, but their use. The utility of cryptocurrencies – their ability to facilitate faster, easier, and more affordable transactions, help people who need it most with agility, facilitate complex global processes, and bring financial freedom and inclusion to people – is what will inevitably lead to thousands of millions of people around the world to adopt technology and achieve a better life with it. A huge leap from simply buying pizza 12 years ago.