It has come. The first big announcement coming from Consensus this week in New York, and it’s a big one. One of the newest payment processors called Flexa has launched and is partnered with Gemini, which is a large bitcoin exchange based out of New York and is underpinned by it’s own ERC-20 token called Flexacoin.
How does it work? You pay for your items using Flexa’s app, Spedn, which generates a QR code that you scan at the checkout register. The merchant receives immediate payment in dollars, and the equivalent amount of cryptocurrency is debited from your cryptocurrency wallet in the Spedn app.
Whole Foods, which is owned by the e-commerce behemoth, is now accepting bitcoin as a payment method. The mind-blowing development was made possible thanks to a deal between payments startup Flexa and Gemini, the latter of which is the crypto exchange launched by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
Users only need to download an app dubbed Spedn and can make everyday purchases using cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Considering that GUSD is the stablecoin of the Winklevoss’ Gemini exchange, it’s not surprising that it’s being supported as well. GUSD should will introduce some stability into crypto payments given its peg to the U.S. dollar and the volatile nature of the bitcoin price. As crypto investors have come to expect, there are no hidden fees or markups, so consumers will be incentivized to use the app.
Everyone knows that Whole Foods customers are already “being green” given that the grocery no longer uses plastic bags. Wait till shoppers outside of the crypto community learn about bitcoin.
AMAZON’S MARKETPLACE COULD BE NEXT
Earlier this week, it was rumored that Amazon’s competitor eBay would stop using paypal and start accepting crypto payment directly on the site, and will facilitate payouts to sellers via that method as well. This is a key move as this is a large eCommerce retailer that does millions of transactions each month have found a way to implement a safer, faster, and cheaper payment system.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have been mum about this secret but now that it’s out of the bag, there’s nothing stopping wide-scale adoption of bitcoin.
The Flexa/Gemini/retailer partnerships are really a reflection of the best of both worlds. The technology builds on existing payments infrastructure that’s used to accept digital payments such as Apple Pay, for instance. All the retailers must do is tweak their scanners to identify payments from the Spedn app. Customers are already familiar with tap-and-go with their mobile device, so there’s nothing new for them to do. There are no additional hoops for the cashier to jump through that might slow down the line. As for the merchant, they can either accept to take the payment in crypto or convert it into fiat money.
For the crypto ecosystem, the announcement is what everyone has been waiting for. It means that if Whole Foods can accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, theoretically Amazon’s entire marketplace can integrate the infrastructure to do the same, seemingly with Flexa. In the U.S., Amazon Prime customers reportedly dole out an average of $1,300 per year on the e-commerce marketplace vs. $700 for non-members.
In addition to Whole Foods, the initiative extends to other merchants including Crate and Barrel and high-end retailer Nordstrom. The Flexa network is comprised of more than 30,000 stores and finally thrusting crypto into the spotlight for micro-purchases such as a cup of coffee, pizza, or electronics.
Why This Is Good AND Bad
This will require people becoming aware of this change. This is amazing news, but there is always a learning curve when people start to adopt a new method of payment. People have been using only cash and credit card essentially for the last 60 years and it will take a an older generation and a newer generation to find ways to change their spending habits. That is the Bad.
Here is the good. With new innovation, comes new possibilities. Why would merchants want to start accepting crypto? First off, there are no chargebacks. It was reported that merchants can be charged upwards of $300 per chargeback when accepting credit cards. With cryptocurrency, the charges are irreversible. That’s not to say that you will not be dealing with customer service and/or returns in your business, but this is a HUGE advantage for no longer having to deal with credit card disputes.
Additionally, the fees to accept credit cards are typically anywhere from 2-5% per transaction, plus a $0.39 cent fee each time you accept a credit card. That’s absurd. As more and more awareness of this alternative, mixed with consumer confidence and adoption of spending cryptocurrencies on a consistent basis, the credit card companies and banks will hopefully soon be a thing of the past. Soon, it will almost be as antiquated as paying with a check.
There Is STILL A Better Alternative To This!
What if you could EARN cryptocurrency by shopping at these stores already? You can. I recently wrote an article on the new Life Info App that allows you to connect your bank account or credit card and use a shopping app that essentially allows you to create an instant electronic gift card, and save anywhere from 2-10% off on any purchase you make at thousands of retailers (including Nordstrom and Whole Foods).
How does this work? When you download the free app, you can use online or in person purchases on thousands of stores and brands and save on each purchase. The money that you save on each transaction is accumulated in the wallet and can be converted directly into Bitcoin! You can also convert it into several other altcoins that are supported by Coinbase as that is how you convert your savings directly.
This is a GREAT way to dip your toe into the cryptocurrency world, WHILE saving money at these stores you are already spending money at anyways, you may as well get free Bitcoin to do so.
If you refer to my review link I mentioned above, there are some demo videos that explain the entire process and it’s super easy to use. To me, this is a great bridge to get people familiar with the process. Additionally, you can then send your newly acquired bitcoin to the Spedn app, if you so choose. Please use my link here to get your free download and check it out.
All in all, this is very positive news for the cryptocurrency world, and this is a large first step in bringing the utility of cryptocurrency into the real world and offering people a BETTER alternative to our failed legacy financial system. Any tool that helps people transition from the inflationary dollar to the sound hard money of bitcoin, is something I support. The easier it becomes and the lower the barrier to entry is, we will begin to see MASSIVE droves of people start to transition from fiat to crypto.
What do you think? Is there a better way for us to start gaining mass adoption and utility for crypto payments? Let me know in the comments below!
The Crypto Renegade
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