In the dynamic world of finance and technology, Bitcoin’s creation wasn't just a game-changer; it was a symbol of an exciting new era. And over the years, what once fascinated a fairly small group of early enthusiasts has grown into a global movement as more and more people explore Bitcoin and the Bitcoin ethos.
The growing popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has also spurred adoption of BTC and token-related services at some of the biggest corporations. While bitcoin had been used by a number of businesses and in certain retail operations, 2020 was a banner year for Bitcoin’s adoption as some of the most well-known corporations in the traditional financial world started or significantly expanded their exploration into the world’s oldest cryptocurrency.
Commercial Use of Bitcoin Leading Up to 2020
We’ve all heard of the infamous Bitcoin Pizza Day that commemorated the first retail transaction with bitcoin. But in the years following Laszlo Hanceyz’s purchase of two pizzas with the cryptocurrency, a number of companies began looking at ways they could incorporate the cryptocurrency into their purchases.
Microsoft, for example, adopted Bitcoin in 2014 when it started allowing users to make payments for games, apps and other digital content for platforms like Windows Phone and the Xbox. While Microsoft has since stopped using cryptocurrencies as payment, the adoption of crypto by one of the world’s biggest tech firms did point to an early fascination with Bitcoin and other emerging tokens.
So, Who Adopted Bitcoin in 2020?
However, 2020 was a year when some of the biggest corporate names committed more heavily to incorporating Bitcoin and crypto into their services. The served as the first significant wave that spoke to Bitcoin's potential for mainstream adoption and set the foundation for much of the adoption landscape we see today.
Online payment giant, PayPal, was actually one of the earliest companies pre-2020 that made the plunge into the crypto space. Towards the end of 2014, it enabled online vendors to accept Bitcoin payments after partnering with Coinbase, Bitpay, and GoCoin. With these partnerships, PayPal entered the cryptocurrency sector for the first time and made a significant first move in business relationships with companies that focus on crypto. The news quickly impacted the price of Bitcoin, which jumped from $404 to $447, a remarkable daily gain of 10.61%.
But October 2020 was when PayPal significantly expanded its cryptocurrency offerings and started allowing users to buy, sell, and hold crypto. Then, PayPal announced the release of Checkout with Crypto in late March 2021, a tool that lets customers use cryptocurrencies to check out at millions of online stores.
In 2020, Square, the financial services and mobile payment company founded by the then CEO of Twitter, now X, Jack Dorsey, made a significant move into the world of Bitcoin. Square had been experimenting with cryptocurrency integration for some time, but in October 2020, it made a substantial investment by purchasing approximately $50 million worth of Bitcoin, making it one of the first publicly traded companies to do so.
This strategic move signaled Square's strong belief in the future of cryptocurrency and its potential to reshape the financial landscape. It also paved the way for the company to offer Bitcoin-related services to its users, further accelerating the mainstream adoption of digital assets. Square's bold embrace of Bitcoin demonstrated the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies among traditional financial institutions and marked a pivotal moment in Bitcoin's journey towards becoming a globally recognized asset class.
MicroStrategy emerged as a trailblazer in 2020. The business intelligence and software company, led by CEO Michael Saylor, made headlines by boldly allocating a substantial portion of its treasury reserves into Bitcoin. MicroStrategy's initial investment of approximately $250 million in August 2020 marked the beginning of a unique corporate strategy that would redefine the relationship between traditional companies and cryptocurrencies.
The move was driven by Saylor's strong conviction in Bitcoin's potential to serve as a superior store of value, and it was followed by subsequent purchases, eventually accumulating over 100,000 bitcoin, making MicroStrategy one of the largest Bitcoin holders among publicly traded companies.
Twitch, which ranks as one of the world's top live streaming services, was actually an early adopter of Bitcoin. The steaming company’s journey into the world of cryptocurrency dates back to 2014 when it initially added crypto as a payment option. This feature was quietly removed in 2019, leaving many crypto enthusiasts clamoring for its return.
In June 2020, however, Twitch rekindled its relationship with cryptocurrencies, much to the delight of its crypto-conscious user community. Today, Twitch users can use bitcoin and a wide variety of other tokens on the platform.
In March 2020, Starbucks made its own unique entry into the realm of Bitcoin. While you didn't find Bitcoin as a direct payment option at the coffee shop's register, Starbucks gave customers the ability to add Bitcoin to their Starbucks app and use it as a means of payment.
This innovative feature was made possible through a collaboration with Bakkt, a third-party digital wallet app. Starbucks' venture into the world of Bitcoin payments demonstrates the company's commitment to embracing emerging technologies to enhance the customer experience.
Bitcoin's Rise: Pioneering Mainstream Adoption
From purchasing goods and paying bills to streaming content and planning space travel, Bitcoin has gradually integrated itself into our digital lives.
Over the years, some of the world's biggest companies that have taken the first step into the Web3 world via Bitcoin. While 2020 was significant in pioneering the early stages of Bitcoin's mainstream adoption, the cryptocurrency's influence has only grown since in the corporate and institutional world since then.
Ultimately, the number of firms and businesses keen on incorporating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into their operations represents a shift over time, where people are increasingly fascinated by trustless technologies.