One of the world's large credit card networks processes on the order half a trillion dollars in a typical 30 day period. So bitcoin has a way to go yet before it's volume is significant compared to other ubiquitous electronic payment methods.
Consider that they need to grow by a great many orders of magnitude to become globally economically significant, yet consider that the supply of bitcoins is relatively fixed.
How smoothly do you think that is going to work?
If you believe in the future bitcoins, you also have to believe that their value will have to eventually sky rocket by several orders of magnitude. If you believe this you should hoard every bitcoin.
So if you actually believe in bitcoins, why would you ever spend one?
If you don't believe in bitcoins, why would you ever accept one?
If you don't think we should be discussing bitcoin -- which is very different from any other currency out there -- simply because it hasn't reached the trading volume of Visa... I don't know what to tell you. Demonstrates pretty clearly the narrow window of information you're willing to consider.
(This on a website for hackers and startups. Pfft.)
I'll agree with you on that, but I think a good point was raised. As an inherently deflationary currency, particularly once the maximum number of bitcoins are created, wouldn't the natural thing for people believe it will eventually be incredibly valuable be to hoard them? I'm not saying that a deflationary currency cannot ever work, but with an inflationary currency, there is greater worth in spending one's money on goods or investments that will accrue worth at a greater rate than the inflation, no?
Spending a Bitcoin doesn't mean you have a net decrease in the number you have. You could and probably should keep a spending balance in USD at an exchange and buy specifically to make purchases. This is actually more beneficial to the Bitcoin community since it shields it from being overly damaged by Bitcoin price decreases. I spend and accept bitcoins because it's a very easy way to transfer value.