Bitcoin Core contributors Jimmy Song and Greg Maxwell encouraged using credit cards over Bitcoin for purchases, highlighting areas for growth for payments-focused cryptocurrencies.
In a recent tweet, Song, a Bitcoin Core contributor, encouraged users to employ credit cards for purchases and selling Bitcoin to pay off the bill, rather than use it for the payment directly:
If you want to use Bitcoin as a method of payment, this strategy is more rational and convenient than doing lots of on-chain tx's:
1. Spend with your credit card with no debt on it.
2. When your credit card bill comes, sell just enough bitcoin to pay the bill.
— Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) October 8, 2018
Song’s comments came under sharp criticism from members of the mainly Bitcoin Cash-focused community /r/BTC, many of whom considered the suggestion to use fiat currency instead of Bitcoin to be a betrayal of its core principles.
Maxwell and Song accidentally reveal game plan for payments-focused cryptocurrencies
Song’s comments, however, also received support and agreement. In a comment on Reddit in response to the posting of Song’s tweet, former Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell concurred and outlined various advantages of using credit cards over cryptocurrency payments:
“Bonus: The credit card can give you a 2% (e.g. citi double cash) to 3% (e.g. alliant visa) cash back, super consumer friendly anti-fraud (virtually no questions asked fraud reversals, plus things like prices rollback)… and you don’t get forced to do business with crappy “bitcoin payment processors” that pump altcoins, work like junk, instantly convert most payments to fiat anyways, and charge a hefty fee/spread for the privilege.”
While likely attempting to defend Bitcoin’s usage as a store of value rather than a direct payments system, Maxwell and Song nonetheless pointed out legitimate advantages that using the current financial system and payments industry provides, including seamless processing, fraud protection, and direct monetary incentives to the consumer, as well as a well-established infrastructure and wide acceptance/use. While many feel that the current advantages of the payments industry do not constitute a reason not to use cryptocurrency for true believers, the differences must nevertheless be addressed before mass adoption can be reached.
Dash is well on its way to addressing cryptocurrency’s weaknesses
With a focus on usability for payments, Dash is making inroads at overcoming cryptocurrency’s initial weaknesses as a currency. Presently, Dash’s transaction fees cost a fraction of a penny, presenting a much more attractive option than cards for businesses that choose to hold it, and saving about 50% in fees for those who use Uphold to convert to fiat currency. Incentives such as the Dash-back program implemented by Anypay provide a credit card-style cash back bonus to the consumer as well as the merchant, and when used in larger promotions such as at a Dash-accepting auto dealership allow consumers to save potentially hundreds of dollars in a single purchase.
Finally, a key advantage of a payment system is wide acceptance, increasing the usefulness of using it both for the consumer and the merchant. Dash is rapidly approaching 4,000 merchants worldwide, with over half in Venezuela, a country with a direct incentive to hold on to a currency other than the bolivar. Dash’s inherent benefits over fiat currency, combined with wide acceptance and various promotional programs, can help it attain mass adoption, and remove the necessity or benefit of a setup similar to what Song and Maxwell advocate.