Even as bitcoin enthusiasts in Miami will be discussing how the cryptocurrency will take over the world, they’ll still have paid dollars to buy tickets to get in.
The North American Bitcoin conference has announced on its website that it has stopped accepting last minute ticket payments in bitcoin. The website said that network congestion and manual processing influenced the decision to stop accepting payments in cryptocurrencies.
“We have, and always will, accept cryptocurrencies for our conferences, up to fourteen days before the event,” the organizers wrote. “However, due to the manual inputting of data in our ticketing platforms when paid in cryptocurrencies, we decided to shut down bitcoin payments for last minute sales due to print deadlines.”
The conference seems to realize the irony of not accepting payments in the currency that it’s centered around, but the organizers said the decision was inevitable. “We wish this was easier, but no ticketing options exist which can handle large volumes of ticket sales, and transaction fees on the Bitcoin blockchain exceed $30 at certain times of the day,” conference organizer Moe Levi told Bitcoin.com.
The decision is a telling indictment of bitcoin, which was originally envisaged to be a replacement for traditional currencies. Several businesses had begun accepting bitcoin, and bitcoin ATMs had sprung up too, but users are now realizing that bitcoin isn’t exactly ideal for everyday payments. For one, bitcoin payments can now take hours to process, and people don’t like waiting for hours after they’ve just paid for their coffees. And bitcoin can’t be used for paying for coffees anyway — given the high transaction fees, the cost of paying with bitcoin might end up being more than the value of the coffee itself.
Bitcoin investors have since pivoted on their assessment of the cryptocurrency, saying it’s more of a store of a value, like gold, instead of a currency for everyday use. But bitcoin’s wild gyrations in price — it went up 40%, and then promptly fell 40% last month — mean that’s it’s not a particularly reliable store of value either. And with the many its hacks in which millions have been stolen, and stories of people losing access to their accounts because they’ve forgotten their passwords, bitcoin doesn’t inspire much confidence as a store of value.
But its price is merrily moving along. Bitcoin currently trades at $12,000, a 3x increase in value from just a few months ago. But like the latest incident from North American bitcoin conference shows, there are serious chinks in its armour. And if bitcoin’s long-anticipated crash does come, people can’t say there weren’t signs all along.