For many years, crypto enthusiasts and financial experts alike have been advocating that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will only reach mainstream appeal when people are able to use them in daily life. Now, with more and more online and brick-and-mortar-stores accepting Bitcoin, it seems that this scenario is closer to coming true.
Cryptocurrency awareness is higher than ever before, and not just among tech-savvy traders. Regular individuals are beginning to delve into the crypto sphere and, with companies like Facebook and Walmart announcing their own cryptocurrencies, the role of crypto in retail could increase.
Starbucks to accept crypto payments through Bakkt in the first half of 2020
A few months ago, Starbucks disappointed crypto fans after announcing that they would not accept direct cryptocurrency payments, but it seems that the world’s largest coffee chain didn’t turn them down completely. In October, Starbucks announced that they will be working with Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt and become the first launch partner of their crypto payment service.
It was a wise move from Bakkt, whose recent monthly bitcoin futures hit a record $15M. By partnering with Starbucks, which has more than 30,000 coffee shops all over the world and is increasingly popular among Millennial consumers – the same group that shows a high interest in crypto payments.
To streamline crypto payments, Bakkt focused on transaction processing speed in particular, a problem area where crypto has lost in favor of faster services such as Visa and Mastercard. According to a Bakkt statement, they expect to finish testing the consumer app and merchant portal in the first half of 2020, which is when Starbucks should start accepting bitcoin payments.
Although Starbucks won’t be accepting these payments directly, this is a big move for the industry. Considering Starbucks’ influence and appeal, more companies could soon follow in their footsteps and allow more payment flexibility to their customers.
Crypto payment solution GoCrypto plans European expansion
Although Europe doesn’t have the same appetite for crypto as the United States, things are slowly beginning to change. You can trade various cryptocurrencies here, and Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, and Romania are quickly gaining momentum. One interesting innovation comes from GoCrypto, a crypto payment infrastructure provider that is already present in 500 stores in Slovenia and Croatia and that plans to expand in Switzerland, the UK, Turkey, Serbia, and Bulgaria, where they hope to attract four million potential customers. GoCrypto collaborates with both online and brick-and-mortar stores and, like Bakkt, they say that payments will be processed instantly. Additional merchant benefits include low transaction fees, the ability to convert crypto immediately into local currency after the payment has been made, and seamless implementation that requires no staff training. Based on Eligma’s Elipay, GoCrypto currently only accepts payments from the Elipay wallet and Bitcoin.com wallet, but more crypto wallets will be accepted soon.
The list of online retailers accepting bitcoin is expanding
If developing the payment infrastructure to accept crypto is more complicated and it will probably take a few more years until we can use our bitcoin wallet the way we use our cards, online crypto transactions are becoming more and more popular. With reliable organizations such as Wikipedia and Microsoft accepting bitcoin, retailers are joining the game and discover what crypto can do for their business.
- German fast-food delivery portal Lieferando, owned by Takeaway.com, became the first company in its industry to accept Bitcoin payments in 2017. Pizzaforcoins, Shuttle Delivery, and When Hungry are three other food delivery services that now accept crypto.
- Jewelry brands Reeds Jewelers, Blue Nile Jewelry, and Coaex Jewelry allow customers to buy jewelry with bitcoin. One company, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, even reported a 20% boost in bitcoin transactions, because this payment method makes managing high amounts of money simpler and safer.
- You can now purchase gift cards with bitcoin on Gyft, an online platform specializing in gift cards. Some of the stores that Gyft works with include Burger King, Amazon, and Subway.
- Booking flights and hotels can now be done in exchange for bitcoin. TravelbyBit, TravelbyBit, and Destinia accept crypto, and even Latvian air carrier AirBaltic has joined the list of merchants. Earlier this year, Dodler Grand, a five-star hotel in Switzerland, announced that guests will be able to pay for their stay in cryptocurrency.
- Tech-centered industries were some of the first to welcome cryptocurrency and if you want to pay with bitcoin, this is where you’ll find the most crypto-friendly merchants. For example, if you want to buy electronics, Newegg, FastTech, and Alza, are some of the numerous retailers where you can use your bitcoin wallet. And if you have your eye on even more innovative fields, then you should know that Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space tourism company, accepts crypto on commercial trips to space.
Crypto has long passed the stage where it was just a trend. With more and more trusted retailers and organizations becoming drivers of adoption, either directly or through a third-party service, widespread crypto commerce could start moving fast.