Bigger and bigger players are welcoming cryptocurrencies into the fold, integrating them as payment options, so who are the companies to keep an eye out for who'll happily take payment in crypto?
Daniel Coll, October 26th, 2020
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Far from the shady suspicious image of the past, Bitcoin and its digital peers are hitting the bigtime with an ever-growing list of household names integrating crypto into their payment solutions. Giving these companies a competitive edge, cryptocurrencies not only widen appeal, but they bolster an innovative and forward-thinking image. Adopting the use of crypto also suggests an increased focus of these well-known companies on security, which in turn boosts the credibility of all parties involved.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the more prominent adopters of crypto, what it means for their area of business and how the future of digital currencies in online retail might unfold.
Kicking it off with a corporation like Microsoft is no coincidence. Considered one of the giants, Microsoft, like Apple, Amazon and Google, dominate the top of the tech market. So, showing confidence in crypto gives it a massive boost in terms of both reputation and credibility.
Currently they only accept Bitcoin, but it’s a start. Top-up your Microsoft account to pay for a range of digital products, including Xbox games, Windows Store apps and Windows software. However, they are yet to permit the sale of physical goods with cryptocurrency, seeing it as a significantly riskier step for now.
Nervousness about accepting Bitcoin for physical items doesn’t extend to everyone though. German car giant BMW is offering the sale of their vehicles using Bitcoin in the UK and the US markets. A major step for cryptocurrencies, as traditionally companies adopting crypto have only been prepared to risk digital or subscription-based products, suggesting less initial confidence.
This move by BMW, and similar moves by US online retailers for big-ticket items including Overstock, shows an increase of trader confidence in the credibility and safety of using digital currencies for high-value products.
VPN connections have become an essential product for many security conscious and geo-mobile individuals. Often purchased from the basic need for added security, the fact that the two biggest hitters in the game accept Bitcoin as payment for the service can only be good for crypto’s image.
The marketplace for crafty types to sell their handmade goods has a massive following and millions of vendors on their platform. Vendors get charged 0.20 USD cents for every product they sell and get the option to accept a range of payment methods.
As a result, many vendors are now offering their potential market of up to 40 million registered buyers the option to pay in Bitcoin. The move is significant for a couple of key reasons, the products are physical and often time-consuming to make, signalling a confidence in cryptocurrency as a payment method, and secondly it paves the way for the likes of Ebay and Amazon to allow their sellers to do the same eventually.
We can’t mention Etsy without talking about Shopify, one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in the world right now. Users set up shops with the ecosystem, allowing them to sell their goods and services through a reputable and secure channel. Shopify allows vendors to accept Bitcoin through their partner BitPay.
As Shopify essentially allows small businesses to set up an e-commerce solution cheaply and easily, it means many more businesses get access to the global online marketplace. Couple this with the ability to accept cryptocurrency, and this marks a significant move forward in tentatively introducing small and medium businesses to digital currencies; the educational value alone is game changing.
Anyone not familiar with Japan’s online retail behemoth, and serious Amazon competitor, must have been living under a rock for the last ten years. Snapping up the likes of Kobo, Viber, Buy.com (US), Play.com (UK) and France’s Priceminister, along with investment interests in Pinterest and Lyft, amongst others, Rakuten is now a major player in terms of its range of services and global reach.
Rakuten’s move to accept a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, across its products and services is very big news. They have even launched a proprietary wallet attached to users’ accounts for them to store and spend their crypto on Rakuten’s massive range of digital and physical products.
In truth, we could have chosen ten or fifteen companies here. Paying for travel via crypto is absolutely possible nowadays, and there’s a bunch of companies out there willing to help you do just that.
Travala works much like Airbnb, in that you can find and book accommodation online using Bitcoin. The places are listed by both the general public and an increasing number of hotels, B&Bs and other dedicated accommodation providers.
There are many travel agencies accepting crypto, but TravelByBit stands out as they also list events and conferences related to cryptocurrency and the blockchain amongst their destinations, showing a true dedication to the progress of cryptocurrency.
Edgy travel agencies may not really surprise with their adoption of crypto, but when major airlines get involved it can be big news. AirBaltic, known for their flexibility and dedication to acting upon customer feedback, now accept Bitcoin for basic flights booked within five days of departure.
The Riga-based carrier serving all three Baltic counties (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) have recently invested in a range of new Bombardier and Airbus aircraft, adding many new routes just before the global pandemic caused havoc for the aviation industry.
These two gaming providers were built from the ground up, accepting Bitcoin and latterly other cryptocurrencies, in fact they only started accepting standard (Fiat) currencies late in 2018 as an additional option for players.
They are not alone in this space, as there are many other gambling companies now accepting cryptocurrency, as KYC practices get more stringent and verification technology becomes easier to integrate the benefits for gaming companies now outweigh the risks.
French internet services provider Gandi has been quietly accepting Bitcoin for the past ten years or so, allowing customers to pay for domains, hosting and other website solutions. This is something of a rarity at the moment amongst the largest domain and web services providers, with Gandi still being in the minority.
One of the biggest challenges for any company wanting to accept cryptocurrency is making sure the customer is who they say they are. The method in which a customer pays becomes irrelevant when you know exactly who you’re dealing with, as they’re no longer anonymous. Any risks associated with accepting cryptocurrency with regards to government regulations or anti-money laundering laws disappear when you use our secure verification tools at sign up, rendering Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies no riskier than cash.
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