Whole Foods, Nordstrom, and Crate & Barrel can now accept bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency at their retail stores.
Spend Bitcoin at Whole Foods
A shift in this prevailing narrative appears to underway as it was announced today that prominent retailers like Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel and Whole Foods are now able to accept Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.
This new payment option is enabled by a partnership between the payments startup Flexa and Gemini, the digital currency exchange run by tireless bitcoin advocates Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
Tyler Winklevoss notes:
Together, by providing Flexa with trusted custody and infrastructure, we hope to profoundly improve the payment experience; and merchants who are currently subject to overly complex, expensive legacy systems of credit and debit cards stand to benefit significantly.
The solution is based on a nexus between payment terminals to accept mobile payments via the Flexa app. Participating stores include:
Worth noting, all cryptocurrency deposited in the SPEDN mobile app is custodied with Gemini. And while this may seem counter to the ethos of Bitcoin, novice users will likely be more comfortable with this third-party security arrangement, at least initially.
Merchants Won’t Know You Paid in BTC
The consumer utilizes the app to scan their payment. Because the method of payment is transparent, the store cashier is unaware that the payment is with crypto. Ultimately the merchant is able to choose their method of payment — fiat cash or crypto.
This is largely being hailed as the first ease-of-use solution for consumers seeking to shop with cryptocurrency. Users can currently spend four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and the stablecoin known as Gemini Dollar.
This announcement is seen as a major step forward for Bitcoin’s global adoption despite the scores of persistent naysayers. Moreover, it offers a more secure way for point-of-sale transactions amid credit card hacks that continue to garner immense media attention.
Tyler also explains the benefits for merchants who get onboard and start accepting BTC. He explains that merchants will
(i) get significantly less expensive and fraud-resistant transactions, (ii) can use the same payment hardware they currently use, and (iii) receive payment in fiat currency, not crypto. We believe that not only will this result in cost-savings to the merchant, but to the consumer in the long-term as well.
Since Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, could the online retail giant be next in line to accept bitcoin? Well, you can already purchase items on Amazon using bitcoin and third-party solutions like BitRefill and gift cards.
However, it should be noted that all of the solutions in including Flexa are reliant on third-party services. This, of course, means that the retailers are not actually accepting bitcoin directly, though it won’t really matter as far as user-experience is concerned.
Nevertheless, if people begin to ‘spedn’ more cryptocurrency, it may make sense for these retail giants to accept bitcoin directly and save on processing fees. Moreover, open-source, self-hosted software like BTCPayserver make it possible to process the transactions yourself. This significantly reduces operating costs and dependence on third parties.
Will people spend their cryptocurrencies at Whole Foods or keep hodling? Share your thoughts below!
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