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5 “Best” Use-Cases for Bitcoin (BTC)

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In the past, we have taken a look at Bitcoin and how its fundamentals will allow it to endure near any crisis.  From the ideologies on which it was founded to its initial distribution, and network security on offer today, Bitcoin remains unique.  However, its structuring and origin story are not the only aspects of Bitcoin that make it an intriguing and potential-laden asset.  To attain a better grasp on just how game-changing BTC can be, consider the following 5 use-cases for this versatile asset.

It should be noted that this is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather one highlighting a few implementations that have the ability to already positively affect the greatest amount of people.

1. Remittance

One of the most useful traits of BTC is that it does not recognize borders.  It is a global currency that can be sent as easily across the world, for no greater cost or time, than as it can be to your neighbour.  This makes it an ideal candidate to disrupt the remittance industry – something which we are already seeing occur.

This is especially important because many companies which traditionally facilitate remittances have been known to ‘prey' on those requiring such services.  Even those that attempt to be cost-effective can simply not match the speed, cost, and ease at which BTC can be transacted across the globe.  Much of the costs savings made possible through use of BTC comes from the simple fact that it can be transferred in a peer-to-peer (P2P) fashion – meaning no middleman is required, eliminating fees typically charged by Money Transfer Operators and Remittance Software Providers.

Notably, the use of BTC within the remittance industry is only getting started.  Despite the global remittance industry expected to eclipse $800 billion in volume in 2023, this is only the tip of the iceberg with forecasts pointing to this number soon breaching $1 trillion.  Due to the proliferation and awareness of digital services, it is expected that an increasing portion of this market volume will be attributed to mediums such as Bitcoin.  Furthermore, with the continued adoption of scaling solutions like the Lightning Network, Liquid, Stacks, etc., BTC is now ideal for remittances of all sizes.

2. Digital Payments

In the past, due to its block times and fees, transactions processed on the Bitcoin network are best reserved for those that were fairly large.  This is rapidly changing with the advent of scaling solutions like the Lightning Network.  Operating atop the Bitcoin blockchain as a ‘layer-2' network, Lightning is increasingly being used to facilitate microtransactions with near-instant settlement times and fees that are next to nil.

However, nothing happens overnight.  It has taken multiple years for the Lightning network to be ironed out, and achieve a high enough level of adoption to support widespread use.

Essentially, Lightning has transformed Bitcoin from being a store of value to one that can also support its original goal of acting as an efficient medium for everyday transactions.  As recently as April, 2023, the Lightning network had surpassed channel capacities of 5,600BTC, was shown to be cheaper than MasterCard and Visa when utilized, and continued to benefit from increased integrations among wallets and CeFi exchanges like Kraken.

For those interested in learning more about how to safely navigate the Lightning Network, make sure to check out our look at a few of the leading ‘Lightning Enabled' wallets.

3. Energy Monetization

One of the most common points made be detractors of Bitcoin is the energy required to secure the network – a valid concern.  While some may feel that the benefits afforded by the network justify its energy usage, not everyone feels the same way.  This brings us to an extremely overlooked use-case of the Bitcoin network; the ability to monetize stranded and waste energy.

If you look closely enough, there is free energy to be found in every corner of the globe.  The problem is that much of it is either wasted, or simply stranded do to lack of access to energy infrastructure.  What Bitcoin allows is for energy to be harnessed in remote regions of the world, that do not benefit from modern power grids, and monetized.

A prime example of this comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congos's Virunga National Park.  Made famous for its efforts to protect various endangered species of Gorilla, Virunga now leverages onsite hydroelectric dams to mine Bitcoin (BTC).  These efforts are essentially monetizing energy in a remote site, that would normally go to waste, to fund its crucial conservation efforts.

Also within Africa is a village in rural Kenya that has a precious resource that has in the past gone to waste – excess power.  The village, which is comprised of more than 2000 individuals relies on a hydroelectric dam for its energy needs.  However, the dam creates more power than the village uses.  This is where a company by the name of Gridless Compute came in to help set up Bitcoin mining operations which function on excess energy.  Early results have shown that by monetizing this typically wasted energy, residents have benefited by seeing their monthly energy rates cut by more than half.

Another idea – which is becoming increasingly popular in North America – for how to leverage Bitcoin mining in a productive manner is through the use of flare gases.  Flare gases, which are typically composed primarily of Methane, are common by-products of drilling operations.  Traditionally these gases are disposed of through controlled burning via large stacks in a process known as ‘flaring', hence the name flare gases.  The problem is that such gases are extremely bad for the environment, with Methane believed to be roughly ~30x worse for the atmosphere than CO2 over a 100 year timeframe.  In recent months, companies have begun putting these flared gases to use by using/burning them to power turbines, which create energy used to mine Bitcoin (BTC).  This process not only decreases the amount of potent Methane entering the atmosphere, it increases the operational efficiency of drilling operations by monetizing something that would normally be wasted.

The above are only three out of a growing list of examples around the world where Bitcoin mining is leveraged to generate funding for conservational efforts, increase workplace efficiency, and decrease the cost of living for those in rural areas.  While there is definitely potential for Bitcoin mining to become a burden on existing power grids and the environment, it can also become a boon with thoughtful implementation.

4. Financial Inclusion

In countries like the United States and Canada, citizens often take for granted modern banking services and relatively stable economies.  For much of the world however, these are luxuries that are not afforded, whether due to lack of accessibility, low income, or something else entirely.

With this in mind, Bitcoin (BTC) has the ability to vastly increase financial inclusion through banking the unbanked, and financial freedom from inflationary FIAT.  All that is needed to achieve this ‘levelling of the financial playing field' is an internet connection and the initiative to learn about what Bitcoin has to offer.

The most obvious example of major adoption facilitating financial inclusion comes from El Salvador, where the nation decided to make BTC legal tender in late 2021; a move taken which will help bank a population where roughly 70% remain unbanked.

5. Anti-Censorship and Corruption

Another benefit of Bitcoin that is often overlooked is its ability to operate relatively freely of censorship and corruption.  Yes, Bitcoin can be used by bad people, but the network itself is free of political leanings and the influence of self-motivated governments – it simply works, creating new blocks 10 minutes at a time, recording each and every transaction for all to verify.  What this means is that users can rest assured that the network will not be corrupted by ill-advised monetary policies and harmful actions.

Then there is financial censorship.  In recent years, governments have increasingly been weaponizing currency as a means to motivate/force behaviours they deem acceptable.  While current on/off ramps can still be blocked by banks, limiting transacting in BTC is nigh impossible.  As such, users have the ability to maintain financial freedom in an age where censorship is running rampant.  Leveraging this does not make one a criminal, but simply an individual that prioritizes their ability and freedom to transact value as they see fit.

Final Word

As the Bitcoin network – and digital assets as a whole – has grown, so too has its versatility in how it can be leveraged.  The points made above are but a few examples that could extend to include hedging, ordinals, segregation and safety from bank collapses, and more.  Gone are the days when detractors can dismiss Bitcoin as having no real-world use cases.  Evidenced in the list above, present day Bitcoin presents as a high value offering to not only the underbanked, but companies and investors alike.

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