Nordstrom, Wholefoods, and other key retailers have opened the door to cryptocurrencies - what does that entail?
Cryptocurrencies have long struggled with mainstream adoption. However, early this month, recognisable retailers such as Nordstrom and Wholefoods started accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, thanks in part, to its inclusion on the Spend mobile wallet app.
It raises a question; could this be a sign that more of the business world is ready to embrace cryptocurrencies fully?
What the experts think
According to Tyler Spalding, the CEO of Flexa, legacy payment systems are inherently costly and complicated. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, allow merchants to conduct fraud-resistant and inexpensive transactions.
Elsewhere, Cameron Winklevoss, joint owner of Gemini, recently bought a cup of coffee from a Starbucks chain using Bitcoin. He said that such a development, in addition to leading brands such as Nordstrom and Wholefoods beginning to accept cryptocurrencies is the realisation of the promise of crypto in payments.
He went on to state that although it took a long time, the development is a massive win for merchants because the transactions would be so inexpensive that they could be termed effectively free.
The key advantages of Bitcoin that might spur on large-scale adoption
There are three key defining characteristics of Bitcoin and by extension, other cryptocurrencies that will probably play a key role in encouraging the wider business world to adopt cryptocurrencies.
One is the fact that Bitcoin is fraud-resistant. Bitcoin is built on the Blockchain technology, which is essentially a record of transactions. Each record is known as a block, and all the blocks are linked by cryptography.
The cryptography provides the security that makes Blockchain unhackable, and the immutability (the fact that once accepted a record cannot be altered) helps deter fraud.
Second, Bitcoin has minimal transaction costs. One of the most consistent complaints among merchants is that legacy payment systems carry with them hefty transaction fees that usually cost businesses a big chunk of their profit.
Cryptocurrencies, however, have a flat fee transaction rate that is so small merchants will barely feel it.
Finally, Bitcoin allows for borderless transactions. With Bitcoin, it does not matter that a client might be on a different continent; the transaction is still instantaneous. Therefore, merchants can confidently explore new markets that were previously inaccessible due to payment difficulties.
What is the reaction of small and medium-sized businesses?
It is essential to note that although Wholefoods, Nordstrom, and all these major retailers that have recently taken this step is a new development; some SMEs had already begun to embrace cryptocurrencies long before this year.
Take, for example, the Old Fitzroy, a pub in Sydney Australia that allows customers to pay for drinks using Bitcoin. In Tokyo, Japan, a diner known as the Pink Cow, also accepts cryptocurrencies.
Elsewhere, the largest online retailer in Czech, Alza, started accepting Bitcoin last year while a pub in London—The Pembury Tavern—also started offering a cryptocurrency payment option.
Essentially, across the world, there were so many brick and mortar small businesses that had already seen the value of Bitcoin and made an effort to start accepting it as a mode of payment.
However, there was still a sentiment across the world that cryptocurrencies were just a fad, and as a result, essential brands hesitated to commit. With this development, cryptocurrency experts are now hopeful that more of the business world will realise that Bitcoin is a legitimate payment option.
In a sense, most are hopeful that with big brands accepting Bitcoin, it will give cryptocurrencies the legitimacy they have lacked so far.
Admittedly, no one quite knows what the future holds. However, as Taylor Spalding said in a statement, as more apps such as Spend make it easier and easier to use Bitcoin as a currency, it will have the power to make commerce accessible and more efficient for millions if not billions of citizens globally.
That, in turn, will probably redefine the business world.
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