At the top of 2021, bitcoin (BTC) hit new highs, breaking the $40,000 mark. The heightened fervor around cryptocurrency has since led to more people seeking new channels for how to buy bitcoin with airtime, especially in emerging markets.
But the bitcoin pricing spectacle is only the opening act of a much grander event.
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are fueling broader economic inclusion online, and trading mobile data and airtime top-ups for crypto is just one example of how increasingly common it is to purchase everyday goods with digital money.
Not surprisingly, the demand to buy airtime with bitcoin is especially popular in emerging markets, such as Latin America, Africa and South Asia, where using airtime as money has long been common.
Sergej Kotliar, CEO and Founder of Bitrefill, has built a company that aims to pump lifeblood into this growing crypto economy by enabling people to buy over 3,000 products — from clothes, electronics, groceries and, yes, airtime and data plans — by using a range of cryptocurrencies.
“Our mission is to enable a circular economy in crypto – to enable people to live their life entirely in the future of the money, with all of the benefits that that brings,” Kotliar said.
“By enabling people to buy things with crypto, they can start relying on it as a functioning international money,” he added.
Reloadly spoke with Kotliar to dig deeper into where crypto is going, and how the world of mobile top-ups is intersecting with it.
Overall, we discussed a number of topics, including how Bitrefill better enables people to buy airtime with bitcoin, the safety of crypto trading platforms, and the future of the crypto economy.
1. Enabling people to buy airtime with bitcoin installs a more inclusive marketplace
The purchase of bitcoin with mobile airtime happens across the world, but it is most prevalent in certain emerging markets.
“We see a broad usage in over 100 countries. Areas that spring up are India, Nigeria and South Africa, Latin America — lots of places,” observes Kotliar.
Releasing a tool like Bitrefill in these regions has the potential to not only propel more trades in the online crypto-economy exchanges, but also revolutionize how people purchase telecom services.
Enabling people to buy airtime with bitcoin is especially useful in these emerging markets, where physical mobile top-up destinations are not always easy to access or safe.
“Bitrefill enables people to refill their phones online. In many countries, this is not an option and refills require physical presence at an airtime shop which can of course be less than safe depending on location and time of day,” says Kotliar.
In order to ensure maximum reach on the Bitrefill platform, Kotliar uses a range of airtime aggregators, which he says helps to ensure the broadest possible coverage across the world.
2. Crypto is a safe and secure payment method
Crypto today is one of the safest methods of international transfers in the world.
“Crypto payments are safe, whereas credit card payments or in-person payments carry different kinds of safety risks that are thus avoided,” asserts Kotliar.
The real risk, of course, remains only in the high volatility of cryptocurrencies. However, this only applies for those that choose to store wealth in crypto, not those looking to buy goods or send money.
The latest price hikes in bitcoin has indeed boosted those who are storing some wealth in their crypto wallets.
“As our customers’ wealth increases, it makes them more likely to use that money, and we’re one of the top destinations for buying things with crypto,” says Kotliar.
Indeed, both crypto and mobile top-ups have a massive potential to act as new conduits for international money transfers.
Mobile airtime and data top-ups are increasingly being transferred across borders, where the phone credits are then exchanged for money through peer-to-peer transactions.
This has proven to be a fast, convenient, inclusive and reliable solution for global remittances.
3. Buying bitcoin with airtime — a peek at a typical future exchange
Crypto economy exchanges like Bitrefill are banking on the global public increasingly turning to online platforms to buy goods and services. The natural conclusion is that bitcoin, essentially, would overtake the USD as the world’s currency.
We are far from that day, but it may not be as far as many think.
Kotliar says that’s because the more people use bitcoin to buy common goods and services, the more they will understand how much better of an alternative it is.
“Once one understands the benefits of paying with crypto all other payment systems start to seem antiquated in comparison,” he says.
“Travelling with pieces of paper? Sending your credit card number over the internet to a company hoping they will keep it safe?,” he scoffs.
“Today crypto usage is still a little niche, but there will be a day when it goes mainstream, and when it does it will be the default choice for buying digital value bearers such as airtime,” he adds.
The crypto economy is fueling new ways to make our traditional economy more convenient, safe and low-cost.
By tapping platforms like Bitrefill, more and more people are gaining access to common goods like airtime and data top-ups through crypto.
The more people get used to crypto, so goes Kotliar, the more the act of purchasing using crypto will become commonplace and eventually replace standard forms of payment like paper money.
Certainly, Reloadly is of a similar belief.
- The crypto economy provides access to thousands of goods and services, including the purchase of airtime with bitcoin.
- Buying airtime with bitcoin is safe and convenient. It will become even more commonplace the more people get used to the idea of cryptocurrencies.
- Using crypto for payments is much safer that many people think. The same goes for using mobile top-ups as an instrument for international transfers.
- The future of crypto is bright, and brighter if we just think of how archaic it will one day feel to use paper money.