We started BitPay in 2011 because we knew that the Bitcoin blockchain could make payments faster, safer, and more efficient than ever before. Since then, we have been able to bring Bitcoin's benefits to millions of people.
Just this year, BitPay has processed more than $1 billion in bitcoin payments, with our payment volume growing more than 300% year over year. Overall, Bitcoin has had an amazing year, with significant growth in value and transaction volume. Other blockchains have also seen extraordinary growth. The top 10 alternative cryptocurrencies now reflect a total of more than $179 billion in market cap value.
There's a clear demand for blockchain technology around the world.
Why BitPay will process payments on more blockchains
To meet that growing demand, BitPay is moving now to support payments on the other blockchains which Bitcoin has inspired.
We've received repeated requests from merchants and users over the years to support additional blockchain payment methods. Many of the top alternative cryptocurrencies' blockchains make their own innovations on the features which have made Bitcoin great for payments. These range from faster transaction confirmations to greater payment privacy.
Allowing our merchants to accept payments on other blockchains will open up new customer bases to our merchants. Merchants can already reach the hundreds of billions of dollars currently moved in the Bitcoin ecosystem. As BitPay adds support for additional blockchains, our merchants will be able to serve new customers using other emerging currencies for payments.
Due to the Bitcoin blockchain's success and rising adoption, demand for Bitcoin transactions is outstripping capacity, causing miner fees to rise on the Bitcoin network. With multiple blockchain payment options, our merchants' customers will be able to choose one with features, confirmation times, and miner fee levels that work for them.
We will continue to build for Bitcoin payments
We will continue to build on the Bitcoin blockchain without interruption. We're examining every option we can use to allow Bitcoin users to continue to affordably and reliably pay for the things they need, including the current development efforts on the Lightning Network.
We are already working in various parts of our platform to support transactions with SegWit. Segwit is a new set of features in Bitcoin which can reduce the bitcoin miner fee cost for transactions by over 40% on average. However, with average transaction fees already around $20, we understand that Bitcoin alone cannot handle the current demand for blockchain payments.
We're starting with Bitcoin Cash
We added Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support to the BitPay wallet app in September of this year. Since then, we've had growing demand from our merchants and their customers to enable Bitcoin Cash support for our payment processing services, too.
Bitcoin Cash is a blockchain created by a fork of the Bitcoin network. It allows for payments with significantly faster network confirmations and significantly lower miner fee costs. You can see a recent (12/15/2017) comparison of average Bitcoin Cash miner fees vs. average Bitcoin miner fees below.
As we work to adopt the scaling technologies being developed in the blockchain payments space, allowing purchasers to use their Bitcoin Cash is one important step in the right direction.
We will begin adding support for a Bitcoin Cash payment option this year, starting with BitPay Card loads. All BitPay invoices will include a Bitcoin Cash payment option by default in early 2018.
What this means for BitPay merchants
Your customers will continue to be able to use Bitcoin for purchases, but they will also be able to choose to use Bitcoin Cash or another blockchain payment method to complete their payments.
We will be notifying you well in advance of the launch of new payment methods, and you will be have the ability to opt out of offering any currency option to customers. You will also continue to only receive the settlement type you have chosen, with zero volatility risk from price swings.
View our exchange rates and exchange rates API for BCH.
What this means for BitPay wallet users
The BitPay wallet already includes optional Bitcoin Cash support. If you want to use Bitcoin Cash to load your BitPay Card or pay a BitPay merchant, you'll be able to use your BitPay or Copay wallet.
BitPay BCH invoices will use the BitPay and Copay wallets' BCH address format by default. Your Copay or BitPay wallet will immediately be compatible for payments to BitPay BCH invoices.
What's next for other blockchains?
The BitPay team has been hard at work to prepare our platform and our products for multi-blockchain payments. We will be looking closely at network hashing power, security, usefulness for payments, adoption, and market value as key factors in our decisions on which blockchain payments our platform will support.
Please stay tuned! We're listening to your feedback as we build our payment tools to support additional blockchains.