In what is an ironic chain of events, it has been announced that the North American Bitcoin Conference held in Miami over January 18-19, 2018, will not be accepting payments of bitcoin when it comes to last-minute payments for tickets.
The move by the conference is down to the relatively high fees and slows speeds for the transactions as of late, partially down to the levels of congestion on the network. They are not the first merchant that has decided to backtrack from their reasoning of accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for a good or service.
The conference itself is all about the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and some tickets were sold for $1000 at the last minute; another popular crypto event, Hackers Congress held at Paraleli Polis, did a similar thing in 2017. This showcases just how popular bitcoin and cryptocurrency events have become, with the world of cryptos having exploded in 2017 and is a trend that continues to grow with each passing day.
For clarification, this move to not accept bitcoin is only for those last minute tickets that are purchased in the two weeks leading up to the event.
The conference did accept other cryptocurrencies before this 14-day mark, but due to manual method needed to enter the data onto the platform for the tickets, the decision was made to put this last minute ban in place.
They had been looking at ways in which they could utilize other digital currencies that have lower fees to be integrated with their system, but this was not made available in time for the 2018 rendition of the conference.
The organizer of the conference is Moe Levin, and he said that the “bitcoin blockchain exceeds $30 at certain times of the day” which of course is not ideal for the ticket purchaser or for those hosting the conference itself.
Microsoft is an example of another merchant that had to stop accepting bitcoin for a time in their store for a similar reason, however, they went back to accepting bitcoin. The popular platform for gaming Steam recently reversed their adoption of bitcoin payments due to the volatility and high fees associated with the cryptocurrency.
Figures have shown that over the three month period of October 2017 to the beginning of January 2018 that the average cost of transactions on the Bitcoin network was reaching levels upwards of $55. On January 12, 2018, the average fee sat at approximately $29.
While these high fees are not popular with most people using bitcoin, the miners are happy because this makes their work more profitable. There are ongoing discussions regarding how to ease the congestion issues associated with the Bitcoin network and how to make it more scalable in the future. Short-term solutions like batching can be done relatively easily, while one of the most promising long-term solutions is the Lightning Network.
With the significant fees, it will not be long before more merchants start to look elsewhere to other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment due to them being cheaper and easier to use. The Bitcoin community seems fully aware of the ongoing issue and appears to be actively working on solutions.