Many people are looking to stock up on supplies like canned goods, toilet paper and water while the coronavirus continues to spread panic and fear across the globe, but with so many people unable to leave their homes, the idea of purchasing from online retailers like Lolli is becoming much more appealing.
Lolli Is Helping Those Buying Out of Panic
Lolli is a marketplace that accepts digital currencies as payment for goods and services. The company – along with many others that process crypto payments – says its been struggling to keep up with the growing demands of panicked buyers and says that the number of people utilizing its crypto-based rewards program over the last week has doubled.
Aubrey Strobel – head of communications for Lolli – explained in a recent statement:
The majority of Lolli’s merchants are online. As a result, our sales have dramatically increased over the last couple of weeks as a reaction to the pandemic. We expect to see this continue over the next several weeks as people transition to a remote work schedule and prepare for COVID-19.
Among Lolli’s present partnerships are grocery outlet Safeway, delivery company Postmates and pet food and supply store PetSmart.
Other crypto-based applications and platforms have experienced trouble in keeping up with present demand. Strike by Zap, a platform in beta based on the Lightning Network, says it came very close to shutting down completely last week when the number of payments it was processing rose to unprecedented levels – far beyond anything its systems could undertake.
CEO of the company Jack Mallers explained:
We were not prepared to do this much volume. I had to make emergency phone calls to our trading counterparties to make sure the app wouldn’t crash… These are people stocking up, buying gift cards to Walmart and CVS… When bitcoin volatility is to the upside, maybe people increase their spending – people generating wealth tend to spend it – but the reverse is usually not the case.
Strike by Zap is relatively new, having only emerged back in January. Company executives said they were only expecting to process about one bitcoin’s worth of transactions each month, but that the spread of the virus has placed its services in much higher demand.
Too Much to Handle
Fold is another crypto payment application that says it cannot keep up with the number of transactions it’s been expected to process since mid-February. CEO Will Reeves stated in an interview:
Most of the activity has been focused on prepping. Some users have mentioned that the contactless nature of Fold payments versus contaminated physical cash and credit cards has made them feel safer for the first time.
Bitcoin and the process of paying with bitcoin has seemingly remained popular despite its recent drop by half (from over $10,000 to about $5,000 at press time).