The idea of bitcoin as “the new global currency” has long been losing prominence as the primary narrative around the digital currency. These days, you’re more likely to hear about bitcoin as “censorship resistant gold” rather than as a means of payment. The value of bitcoin payments handled by major processors fell to $96 million in September from a December 2017 high of $427 million, according to the data compiled by Chainalysis. As the blocks filled in December and January, fees to transact in bitcoin increased rapidly. As a result, for some time bitcoin became impractical for payments. By January, Stripe announced that it was ending support for bitcoin payments, citing high fees and long transaction times. With the emergence of Lightning Network as a payment protocol for bitcoin, however, its use in commerce could increase again.
The Block used the data from coinmap.org, which compiles all the ATMs, brick-and-mortar stores, services, restaurants and other venues accepting bitcoin. There are currently more than 13,000 bitcoin accepting venues worldwide. Out of the ones that were tagged with categories (roughly half of the total), the largest share of all venues is general shopping (35.1%) followed by ATMs (13.5%), and lodging (9.7%).