The Consensus conference reveals the latest advances in the field of blockchain every year and there are often dramatic revelations, we were not disappointed this year.
One of the hottest topics of this year’s Consensus was receiving payments in cryptocurrencies by large retail companies such as Starbucks or Whole Foods Market. A number of untrue information, such as the eBay auction portal and its alleged involvement in cryptocurrency payment system, also spread through the Internet.
Let’s take a look at which world companies you can really pay by Bitcoin and at which you can not.
Starbucks, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, what do these companies have in common?
If you followed this year’s cryptocurrency conference, Consensus 2019, you may have missed the little surprise of the Winklevoss brothers who invited journalists to the local Starbucks and unveiled a beta version of the cryptocurrency-enabled mobile app.
With the Flexa startup, whose goal is nothing less than to deliver cryptocurrency payments in every store, bitcoin billionaires got together this April.
With Spedn, users will soon be able to spend Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and GUSD (Gemini’s stablecoin, which belong to the Winklevoss brothers) in these stores:
Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Crate & Barrel, Express, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Petco, Regal Cinemas, Starbucks and Whole Foods Market.
That’s a total of over 30,000 stores that will be accepting cryptocurrencies. And the implementation would be super easy for the merchants. All you need to do is edit your existing payment terminals to recognize the Spedn payments.
The fact that several world famous companies have chosen to work with Flexa clearly shows that their managers see the potential in cryptocurrencies.
The biggest excitement was the collaboration with Whole Foods Market, the American supermarket chain owned by the global giant Amazon. Does this mean that even Amazon itself will be accepting cryptocurrencies soon?
Amazon and Cryptocurrencies
In 2017 and 2018, there was speculation that Amazon would create its own cryptocurrency. At that time, the company directly supported similar assumptions: it bought domains with names like amazonbitcoin.com and acquired an online data trading company that explicitly mentioned Bitcoin in its patent application.
Unfortunately, nothing else suggests that Amazon plans to implement cryptocurrencies in its payment options, although the company is active in the blockchain area.
Recently, they applied for a patent for software that uses the blockchain POW algorithm. The algorithm that Bitcoin is running on. The functionality should be somehow incorporated in the AWS web services as another layer of web site protection.
Although Amazon itself does not support cryptocurrencies, it is already possible to pay with them in third-party applications. With the new extension in the Moon browser, you can pay with Bitcoin on Amazon. The extension works with the Lightning Network, so the user needs his own Lightning Network wallet.
Although Starbuck’s involvement in the Flexa payment system is a significant step, the coffee company has more to offer. In August 2018, Intercontinental Exchange announced the development of a new Bakkt platform, supported by several global companies, including BCG, Microsoft, and Starbucks.
Bakkt is supposed to be a global cryptocurrency trading and management platform where retailers and institutions can engage, and these businesses want to be part of the project.
According to an official statement from August, Starbucks is not only supposed to be involved in building this platform but is also expected to accept cryptocurrencies using the Bakkt platform in the future.
Bakkt’s software at Starbuck’s branch terminals will allow you to buy coffee with Bitcoin, although Starbucks will not accept it as such. Bakkt will only sell the Bitcoin in real time and send the according to amount to Starbucks in USD.
How can Starbucks contribute to the adoption of Bitcoin?
It’s will probably surprise you, but according to a 2018 survey, Starbucks runs the most popular US mobile payment application. Starbucks App was more popular than Google Play and Apple Pay and had 40% cut off the market for similar applications.
Details on technical execution are not yet known and there is speculation among analysts that Starbucks could integrate Bitcoin payment directly into their application. In 2016 alone, users have spent over $ 1 billion in Starbucks applications.
The legal problem with cryptocurrency payments
The tax issue connected with this payment solution has been reported by the Bitcoinist server.
Bitcoin is, according to the American IRS, not a form of money, but a property, from which it is necessary to calculate the capital gains tax. And because the Bitcoin price is constantly changing, it is necessary to calculate the tax on each sale separately. This is true for both the company and its customers.
While this problem is partly solved by stablecoins, but still, they are viewed as property and they are subject to the same process.
And what about eBay? Will they accept Bitcoin?
When the conference photos showing eBay banners appeared on the internet, many of us were very happy. ”When eBay has ads on Consensus, it will soon accept Bitcoin!’’
Unfortunately, as it turned out, it was a fake new. eBay did not refer to the expansion of Bitcoin payments in his ads, but merely promoted the possibility of trading cryptocurrency-related devices such as hardware wallets.
”We don’t accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment on eBay and cryptocurrencies aren’t part of our payment strategy, ‘spokespersons said.
However, there is no need to hang yourself, because it is possible that eBay will accept crypto later. UTRUST, which operates as a crypto payment gateway, hired former senior executives from eBay and Paypal in 2018.
Where next you can pay by Bitcoin?
Of course, in addition to the above-mentioned companies, there are a number of those that are accepting crypto as a standard payment method for many months already.
At Overstock you can buy furniture with Bitcoin, bathroom equipment, jewelry, and outdoor grill as well. Ladies can browse the Fancy.com marketplace, offering everything from boat to bedroom wardrobe.
Microsoft allows you to recharge your Bitcoin spending credit by simply clicking ‘Redeem Bitcoin’ in your payment settings. A new Xbox, Macbook or flat-screen TV can be purchased at Bitcoin at Newegg.com.
Cheapair.com then allows you to buy tickets, book hotels and rent a car for Bitcoin.
They are moving in the opposite direction in China
While in the US, companies are working hard to implement cryptocurrencies in the daily lives of citizens, in China, the government is trying to do the opposite.
During 2018, cryptocurrency restrictions were tightened (basically forbidden), and both WeChat and Alipay had to adapt.
If anyone just attempts to trade cryptocurrencies through these or other Chinese services, they are risking a total cancelation of their account.
– Luke –