Crypto-currencies have certainly been in the news a lot lately. While the general public has become increasingly aware of Bitcoin and similar alternatives, though, it is unsure just exactly how much this has translated into greater, more general usage of the currencies. It can be difficult to figure out exactly who owns what with crypto-currencies, but most observers who have studied the issue seem to think that the majority of the activity still centers around a relatively narrow, tech-savvy base of users.
That is not to say, though, that broader adoption is not in the offing. A variety of well-known merchants, for example, have begun accepting crypto-coins, with such reputable names as Overstock.com and computer parts retailer Newegg leading the pack. Although none of these businesses claim that crypto-currencies make up a big part of their business at the present time, several have noted fairly strong growth. Couple this with the fact that the fees associated with using such virtual currencies are tiny compared to those charged for accepting Visa or American Express, and it seems likely that interest on this side of the equation is likely to continue to grow.
Merchants, then, are apt to continue giving crypto-currencies an air of legitimacy that their traditional bases of tech-oriented users had a harder time conferring. That is likely to help with regard to getting the general public more interested in what such currencies have to offer, but some question whether that alone will be enough.
Another possibility of that sort may prove to be just what is needed. Although they were relatively slow to recognize the opportunities, a variety of relatively staid and reputable financial industry companies have now come aboard with their own crypto-currency initiatives. Some of these amount to little more than relatively small investment programs, but they will nonetheless contribute to an increasing aura of worthiness for the currencies they target.
Others, on the other hand, are looking to build entire exchanges of their own. In addition to helping to make crypto-currencies feel more legitimate, these efforts could also fill some important gaps in their ecosystems, as a dearth of really reputable and reliable exchanges has been an issue for many.