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Which brands have accepted cryptocurrency as payment?

Merchants are choosing to accept crypto and stablecoins as alternative forms of payment to gain a competitive edge, and to thrive in this digital era.

Cryptocurrency is often referred to as the currency of the future, although with many big brands that have adopted or have plans to include cryptocurrency in their payment options recently, we think it’s a very viable currency for the present. 

Key Takeaways

  • What is cryptocurrency? (In case you need a refresher)
  • What are the brands that accept crypto payments now?
  • Are stablecoins better than bitcoin as a crypto payments currency option?

What is cryptocurrency?

The idea of cryptocurrency came out of a desire for a decentralized form of payment that doesn't use or need a central bank or government to control or manage them.

Bitcoin (BTC) was the first cryptocurrency introduced, it’s a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, i.e. a digital token that allows you to transfer money online. Fun fact: the first official purchase using bitcoin was in May 2010, where 10,000 bitcoin were traded for pizza (ouch).

Today, we’re seeing several big names like Microsoft, Rakuten, Starbucks, Whole Foods, AXA Insurance, Gucci, and more that are moving towards accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Here is a look at some real-world applications of cryptocurrency payments (and there will be MORE to come):

Read our article here on why we think blockchain is going to further revolutionize the e-commerce and payments industry.

Six Real Examples of Brands That Accept Crypto Payments

  1. Microsoft - Technology

Microsoft began accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method in 2014 for the purchase of games, apps, and other digital content in the Microsoft Store. This allowed their users to do more on their devices and in the cloud. 

Microsoft has not only continued to accept bitcoin as a payment option but has also started experimenting with blockchain technology. They launched ION in 2021, a two-layered authentication platform on the Bitcoin network. Instead of payments, the technology creates digital IDs to authenticate online identities.

  1. Rakuten - E-Commerce

Japanese cashback/shopping site Rakuten opened up to the use of bitcoin as a payment option in 2015. Rakuten enabled users to load up their accounts with BTC and ETH seamlessly, and to easily spend it in everyday transactions. In 2019, Rakuten also enabled consumers to convert their loyalty points to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, allowing the brand to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing world of cryptocurrency.

  1. Starbucks - Coffeehouse

Starbucks announced back in 2018 that they would allow customers to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to pay for coffee, which is a great strategy for Starbucks to expand reach to a new segment of customers, by reducing friction and making the transaction more effortless.

  1. Whole Foods - Supermarket

Whole Foods started to accept crypto payments in 2019, adopting the technology in their digital scanners that could instantly convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into dollars for seamless purchases at Whole Foods, making the transaction faster and cheaper. With major retailers accepting crypto payments, it’s a sign that crypto is progressively breaking through to mainstream retail.

  1. AXA  - Insurance

In 2021, the insurance broker behemoth announced that it would allow customers in Switzerland to use bitcoin as a payment option for their bills, which was a response to growing demand from its customers for alternative payment solutions.

  1. Gucci - Fashion

Recently, Gucci announced that it’s accepting crypto as a form of payment to deepen its connection to the crypto economy, and in response to strong customer demand. Gucci is not the only fashion giant to experiment with cryptocurrency (Tiffany & Co. is another one), and such actions will give new ideas to the rest of the industry.

Stablecoins - a better, safer solution?

Bitcoin might be the more common option used as payment now, but its value suffers from dramatic price movements (as do other cryptocurrencies). Stablecoins provide a better alternative to the higher volatility of BTC and other more popular cryptocurrencies. According to a report by Deloitte, more than 85% of organizations surveyed have given high or very high priority to enabling cryptocurrency payments, with roughly 83% doing the same for stablecoins.

Stablecoins are the engine that makes the cryptocurrency market flow, and helps weed out the traditional financial middlemen who take a cut out of payments for businesses, thus making it easier for merchants to accept stablecoin payments such as Tether (USDT) or USD Coin (USDC).

This makes stablecoins a perfect option for merchants to accept payments globally, with higher efficiency that translates into wider reach and without the price volatility problem.

If an amenable regulatory environment materializes in the next few years, the adoption of stablecoins as a means of payment might boost adoption of blockchain technologies and crypto becoming a utility beyond just an investment asset, which has the potential to breach the barriers to entry in the e-commerce market.

Here’s to the future of crypto & payments

With only 17.8% of online sales in 2020, e-commerce is now growing at such a rate that it’s anticipated to reach 24.5% in 2025. The advent of decentralized Web3 only seems to fuel the fire, where 85% of companies with +$1B in annual sales report using crypto to gain more customers. 

The industry is still in its early days, but seeing so many brands driven by this fever to be the first to conquer the unexplored land that is Web3 and to accept cryptocurrency payments, we’re excited to see how other businesses will try to push the space forward.

If you’re looking to accept crypto payments for your business, we encourage you to not only do your own research and guides, but to reach out to us at bd@cabital.com to find out more about Cabital Solutions, and how we can grow your business.

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