In the latest in a series of boosts for the cryptocurrency sector, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has announced it will start accepting cryptocurrency payments via a partnership with the country’s prominent crypto exchange Bit2me.
The new feature will be available online, and users can pay for their products and services with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin simply by clicking on the Bit2me button at the checkout. Telefonica provides fixed-line telephone, mobile, broadband, and subscription television in Europe and Latin America. The company is also listed on the Euro Stoxx 50 market index and is a highly recognized and trusted brand.
This is a massive benefit for the cryptocurrency sector and will lead to more adoption and recognition of crypto as a viable payment method amongst the general public. But it is not just Spanish telecom companies that are accepting cryptocurrency.
Football and aviation
Earlier this year, the Spanish football team RCD Espanyol became the first team in La Liga to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method. As of the start of the season, the club will accept bitcoin and various other currencies for tickets, food, drink, and beverages. This, said club bosses, is just the beginning of their long-term approach to adopting novel digital payment methods in Spain and Europe.
Not wanting to be outdone, Spanish airline Vueling is also due to start accepting cryptocurrency by 2023 after teaming up with BitPay and UTAP. Billing itself as a digital airline, Vueling hopes to offer customers the ability to make transactions that are secure, reliable, and based on the blockchain. Plans to accept digital currencies are being rolled out, and all the necessary infrastructure is currently being prepared.
But beyond the borders of Spain, crypto payments are becoming increasingly popular. For example, the online gambling sector is fast developing as a preferred method due to its security, accountability, and immutability. Standalone crypto gambling sites incorporate cryptocurrency payments alongside fiat to serve players better. These utilize innovative software options such as those designed by the Moonrocket company, which offer innovative commerce solutions for iGaming companies and the like. These solutions allow businesses to leverage existing systems and partnerships to create a platform that offers slots from several developers, as well as sports betting systems.
Other industries currently being disrupted by crypto include streaming, which Telefonica also offers and could be of interest in the future. Blockchain-based streaming platforms are already underway, facilitating the communication of community-owned content between creators and consumers, cutting out the need for a middleman. These applications would also see payments made in cryptocurrency, thus creating a completely transparent and accountable process from start to finish while benefitting all stakeholders.
While all this is positive news, Spain still has a long way to go. While the legislation was drawn in 2018, as of August 2022, some 7% of the population said they held cryptocurrencies, although the number is increasing. The number in Europe is higher at 17% but still lags behind the global average of 23%. But with each merchant that onboards crypto payments, the number of people using crypto will increase. As they see recognized brands working with the technology, it will make them feel more confident about investing in crypto and using it for daily transactions.
Overall, Spain’s economy has recovered from its previous economic crisis, but new challenges plus the integration of innovative technologies pose both questions and solutions for the future. Cryptocurrency and digital currencies like central bank currencies are going to be a part of this, both in Spain and further afield. This will require buy-in and support from the government, as well as private stakeholders who will create solutions that include blockchain and crypto, to help us become more accustomed.