In 2009, the very first Bitcoin transaction was used to order two Papa John’s pizzas, marking the humble beginnings of what would eventually change the meaning of currency as we know it. Since then, the world of cryptocurrencies has exploded, with the number of cryptocurrency users expected to reach a staggering 994.30 million by 2027.

The Future Currency Shift: Is Your Business Ready?

December 15, 2023

In 2009, the very first Bitcoin transaction was used to order two Papa John’s pizzas, marking the humble beginnings of what would eventually change the meaning of currency as we know it. Since then, the world of cryptocurrencies has exploded, with the number of cryptocurrency users expected to reach a staggering 994.30 million by 2027.

What started as a response to the Great Recession and a way to decentralise money has turned into the future of currency. It’s also become a lifeline for many small businesses around the world who would otherwise be financially fragile.

Before we can dive into the pros and cons of digital currency for small businesses, it’s important to distinguish how it differs from other types of currency, like the U.S. dollar, as well as the main types of cryptocurrency.

What is digital currency?

To put it simply, digital currency is any currency that exists solely in electronic or digital format. This can be confusing, because many countries use electronic versions of currency (aka the currency that’s in your bank account). However, the difference is that digital currency can’t leave a computer network, while you can easily visit an ATM to transfer money from your bank account into physical dollars. 

Are there different types of digital currencies?

There are three main forms of digital currency: cryptocurrency, stablecoins, and central bank digital currency, known as CBDCs.


Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, cut out the middleman with their decentralised technology. They let you make global transactions whenever, wherever, and bring financial services to those who don’t use traditional banking.


Stablecoins are known for being traditional flat currencies, which helps minimise price volatility. They’re your best bet if you need to make international money moves without the crazy price rollercoaster of other cryptocurrencies.

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

CBDCs play by the rules. By allowing central banks control over their policies, they are able to respond to economic changes in real-time. This also means they can implement measures like interest rate adjustments and quantitative easing.

Digital Currency’s Impact on Small Businesses

Did you know: Half of all small businesses have a cash buffer of less than one month? Unlike larger firms, small businesses can be extremely vulnerable when it comes to fluctuations in the economy. 

This was evident during events like the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, during the global pandemic, many businesses were forced to accept funding from the government to keep their lights on. 

Typically, a small business does not have the same access to credit or financial options like a larger corporation would. They’re also viewed as a bigger risk in the eyes of lenders, so they’re unable to get credit easily.

Benefits of digital currency for small businesses

Digital currency can provide critical support to small businesses in various ways:

  • Quicker payments: Small businesses are often at the mercy of financial institutions to send or receive money. Transactions using ACH or wire transfers can take days, while digital currency is done in a fraction of the time.
  • Cheaper international transactions: Sending money internationally can be costly, especially when currency conversions are involved. Digital currencies can be sent quicker and cheaper.
  • 24/7 access: Currently, money transfers can move slower during times or days when banks are closed. However, digital currency can be transferred at the same rate any time and any day.
  • Support for the unbanked: A startling 7 million American households don’t use a bank account. This results in high fees for cashing paychecks and sending payments. With a CDBC, those without a bank could access their money when they need it without accruing expensive fees.
  • Efficient government payments: Tax refunds, child benefits, and food stamps are distributed through the mail or prepaid debit cards, which can take time. If the government developed a CDBC, these distributions would be quicker.

Business advisor Adam Lyons recently predicted that any company that accepts cryptocurrency will gain a significant competitive advantage over its competitors.

Transitioning to digital currency can lower transaction fees and potentially the risk of fraud and chargebacks (when a customer disputes a charge on their credit card statement).

Lyons also pointed out that digital currency could help businesses attract new customers looking to invest, spend, and trade cryptocurrency.

On top of everything else, small businesses would gain faster access to funds, improving their liquidity and cash buffers — a desperate need in their current state.

Potential drawbacks of digital currency

Unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to digital currency. Like anything else, there are potential drawbacks as well. 

  • Overwhelm: Many people believe there are too many options when it comes to digital currencies, a negative result of its current popularity. Businesses may want to consider waiting to learn which currencies are most appropriate for their use cases.
  • Steep learning curve: As with anything new, it takes time to learn the ins and outs of digital currency. Small tasks like how to open a digital wallet or how to properly store digital assets keep many people from adopting cryptocurrency.
  • Expensive transactions: The technology needed to transfer digital currency, called blockchain, requires a great amount of electricity to function. The cost of these transactions also continually increases as more transactions are completed.
  • Price volatility: It’s not unusual for cryptocurrency prices to drop or spike suddenly. CBDC is a much more stable option for small businesses who are worried about the volatility around digital currencies.

As with most things, digital currency has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Because of their financial fragility, it’s especially important that small businesses carefully consider their options before deciding to accept a new currency.

With that said, the predictions are high that cryptocurrency will be adopted into the mainstream in the near future. Small businesses need to be nimble in order to thrive, and adapting to new technology like this is key to appealing to customers.

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