What’s the Best Cryptocurrency for Payments?

Best cryptos for payments features

Cryptocurrencies were initially intended to be just that – currencies. 

The growth of the space, both vertically and horizontally, has meant that there are dozens of categories of coin out there now, all with different purposes. 

With this in mind, it’s time to return to the roots of cryptocurrency and ask ourselves, almost 13 years after Bitcoin took to the stage as the world’s first digital currency, which is the best cryptocurrency for payments today?

Our Criteria

Best cryptos for payments

When looking at the question of the best cryptocurrency for payments, this matter is more complicated than it first seems. 

This is partly because the true value of a currency, especially a digital currency, is dependent on four factors – adoption, convenience, speed, and cost. 

We can discount convenience in our deliberations because the convenience of sending cryptocurrency is down to the platform or wallet being used rather than the medium, so we’ll focus on the other three. 

It’s impossible to assign a weighting to each category as everyone has different priorities, so we’ll treat them equally.

Adoption

adoption

Looking first at adoption, it’s clear that Bitcoin (BTC) is the best known and most widely adopted cryptocurrency in the world. 

The gap has shortened in recent years, but it’s still the name everyone knows when you say the word ‘cryptocurrency’. 

However, this global recognition means nothing when the coin is too slow and expensive to be used as a currency, which Bitcoin is. 

The only alternative is to use the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which does indeed help Bitcoin function more like a currency, but we are looking for layer 1 solutions here with no additional help.

If we consider adoption to be global recognition or acceptance outside of the crypto walled garden, we have to look at what mainstream outlets are accepting and allowing users to buy and sell. 

PayPal and Venmo offer their users the chance to buy and hold Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), which can be used as payments on the platform. 

Aside from this there aren’t many other companies that accept ‘raw’ cryptocurrency, and the majority of those that do accept BTC only.

Monero (XMR) needs a mention here as it is the most widely used privacy coin in the ‘real world’, although the uses to which XMR is typically put might not be something we should be considering as adoption in the strictest sense.

A name that has also been heavily discussed outside of the crypto space is Tether (USDT), one of a litany of stablecoins now doing the rounds. 

Given that stablecoins are digital equivalents of fiat currency we must consider them too. 

Tether is the best known stablecoin but this is only because of the concern that has grown up around its backing, and while it is the de facto stablecoin for almost all cryptocurrency exchanges, outside of crypto we can’t say the same – it is talked of but not used.

USDC on the other hand is in a partnership with Visa to trial it as a payment coin, so that could set it in good stead for future adoption, although this is the best we can say of its adoption credentials.

Speed

Speed

The other factor to consider with our cryptocurrency is how fast it gets there. 

The speed of the Bitcoin blockchain makes it vulnerable to price volatility en route, meaning that a particularly slow transaction could see the value of your transaction dropping by double digit percentages by the time it arrives, which is far from ideal.

If we’re talking speed then we need to look at coins such as XMR again as well Ripple (XRP). 

XRP is the faster of the two and has for years been billed as the future of crypto payments, yet it has failed to build on these promises; it may be fast and cheap to send, but it has only a fraction of the reach of Bitcoin. 

Ever heard or seen ‘XRP Accepted Here’? 

No, neither have we. 

XLM, which is a fork of XRP, has the same issues.

There are plenty of speed demons around the crypto space, many of which can complete transactions in seconds rather than minutes, but none that are designed to be payment coins. 

XMR and LTC are worthy candidates to the crown when it comes to speed, both of which are over twice as fast as BTC and BCH, but again we’re still talking 30 minutes transaction time here. 

No one’s waiting around for half an hour for their coffee.

Carrying on the stablecoin conversation, many operate on several blockchains now which is great news as far as speed is concerned. 

If USDC was the winner in the adoption stakes we can also say that it’s a winner in the speed stakes, operating across some of the fastest blockchains in the space, although the Visa trial is taking place on the slower Ethereum network which lets it down here.

Cost

In the crypto world speed and cost often go together. 

XRP is the cheapest of our candidates, occupying top spot just ahead of BCH and XMR, all hovering under the $0.002 threshold. 

LTC is in the $2-3 range while BTC and ETH are so expensive it’s not even worth discussing.

As for our stablecoins, both UDSC and USDT can travel on the cheapest blockchains, with USDC operating on Solana’s blockchain at a cost of around $0.00025 per transaction while USDT can theoretically be sent on EOS’s network free of charge. 

However, not all exchanges and wallets accept all networks, so once more we’re back to the importance of adoption.

And The Winner Is…

Best cryptos for payments

As we can see, there is no simple answer to the question ‘which is the best cryptocurrency for payments?’. 

It all depends on what your criteria are. 

If you want the best chance of your coin being accepted, look for places that accept BTC, just don’t expect the transaction to be fast or cheap. 

If you want your payment to get there quickly then sending USDC via Solana is your best bet…just don’t expect many places to accept it. 

The same goes for cost – send USDT over EOS for free by all means, just don’t be surprised if no one likes the colour of your money.

If you put a gun to our head we’d probably say that LTC or XMR have the best balance of adoption, cost, and speed, but the fact we’re saying that coins that have both been around almost since the crypto’s prehistoric age tells you all you need to know about the progress that cryptocurrency payment coins have, or rather haven’t, made in the last seven or eight years.

Author

Tokoni Uti

Tokoni Uti

Tokoni is a popular freelance writer within the world of cryptocurrencies. She contributes to Cryptomeister with professional news coverage of the latest happenings in the world of crypto and NFT's.

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