HARDISON’S TIPS – DECEMBER 14, 2020 – SHOULD RETAILERS START ACCEPTING CRYTOCURANNCY
The growth of Bitcoins, which now has a Google Glass payments app, reflects how mobile is driving alternative payment solutions and challenging retailers to keep up with how payments are evolving. As Bitcoin becomes a more legitimate currency, retailers are considering whether to accept Bitcoin on a mobile site and application or via the Bitcoin mobile wallet in-store.
“More merchants need to start accepting them,” Ed Barton, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, Newton, MA. “Currently a handful do, the most prominent being Baidu, Reddit and okcupid.
“When Amazon and iTunes start accepting them, Bitcoins will have graduated to the mainstream but this is far from a given,” he said.
“If you are a mobile app developer and your customers like using Bitcoins it would make sense for you to accept them.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that lets consumers exchange money over the Internet. It is a person-to-person payment that does not involve banks, but some retailers have begun accepting the currency as well.
Bitcoins are accepted in every country, and there are very few regulations in terms of limiting spend for example.
Consumers can download a free application called a Bitcoin miner to generate Bitcoins. Bitcoins are then stored in a digital wallet.
To pay with Bitcoins, a consumer opens the Bitcoin wallet app, displays the QR code and lets another consumer or retailer scan the code. Bitcoin can also work via NFC technology.
When consumers transfer Bitcoins, an electronic signature is added, a miner verifies the transaction, and the transaction is permanently and anonymously stored in the network.
The Bitcoin software is open source, so anyone can review the code.
Consumers can currently use Bitcoins to purchase video games, books and servers. They can also trade Bitcoins in for dollars and Euros.
There is even a Google Glass app that lets consumers pay with Bitcoins. GlassPay lets consumers scan a UPC of a product in-store, create a virtual shopping cart, complete payment with Bitcoins and walk out of the store without waiting on the checkout line.
There is also a Bitcoin mobile wallet available for download in Google Play.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin is slowly becoming more legitimate, it still has a somewhat seedy reputation and is often associated with illegal goods and services, mainly due to its anonymity. The currency is most notorious for its involvement in the Silk Road, the online black market for drugs that was recently shut down by the police.
According to Mr. Barton, Bitcoin is slowly gaining legitimacy and becoming more trusted. However, he thinks that more retailers need to start accepting them for the payment system to truly stick.
“Bitcoins tend to be used by technically literate people who care about privacy and don’t tend to like regulators and governments, if that describes your typical customer you probably should,” Mr. Barton said.
END OF PART ONE
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