Why Cryptocurrency Is Gaining Steam in Retail — but Obstacles Remain

Even if you possess little knowledge about cryptocurrency, chances are, you’ve heard of bitcoin’s meteoric march.

The digital payment method is operated by a decentralized network of computers from all parts of the world; unlike electronic payment networks like Mastercard and Visa, bitcoin uses heavy-duty encryption technologies that allow the global system to keep track of its transactions. Albeit the de facto standard, bitcoin is only one of more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies on the internet, from Ethereum and Litecoin to Monero and Zcash.

In fact, according to bitcoin payment service provider BitPay, more than 100,000 merchants worldwide accept the currency. While it may pose a challenge to find major shopping destinations that accept it as a direct payment for everyday purchases, retailers and industry analysts are keeping a close eye on these cryptocurrencies — and for good reason.

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