Coup! For Digital Currency. Bitcoin Comes to Whole Foods as Major Retailers scramble for space in digital currency.


Bitcoin Comes to Whole Foods, Major Retailers in Coup for Digital Currency

Things will soon change as cryptocurrency’s struggle to enter the mainstream commerce will take a new turn. For the ten years cryptocurrency has been struggling to make a mark in commerce sphere and now with the new initiative on ground which was announced on Monday reportes saw big retailers like Nordstrom, Amazon owned Whole Food and Crate& Barrel , now accepts Bitcoin and another three other types of digital money as well. This is a great change coming to cryptocurrency world.

The retail initiative was as result of a partnership between Flexa, a payments startup, and uGemini, the Winklevoss-owned digital currency company. Many big retailers make use of digital Scanners to accept phone-based payments from their apps and from digital wallets like Apple Pay, so it works by riding on those digital scanners used by these big retailers to accept phone based payments from their apps and their digital wallets.

Flexa was able to achieve this by encouraging the retailers– Nordstrom, Amazon owned Whole Food and Crate& Barrel also included were Regal Cinemas, Baskin Robbins and Gamestop , to configure their scanners to recognize payments from its cryptocurrency app, known as Spedn. In this method, the customer simply holding up their app to pay but the store cashier will really be unaware the customer is paying with crypto, while the merchant receives a real-time payment in the form of either cryptocurrency or dollars depending on what they choose.

Initially i was really skeptical about crypto While the Winklevoss twins enjoy credibility in the Bitcoin world, actually merchants have neglected cryptocurrency because of its attendance volatility and its popularity with cybercriminals who creates every means possible to hack online accounts.

A working example;

However, the apps appears to work as advertised. A customer quoted as saying ; “This weekend, I downloaded a test version of Spedn, and after then i transferred $10 worth of Bitcoin to it. Next thing i did was to go to a Baskin Robbins in my neighbourhood and bought a small coffee by scanning the app and that was it. It worked. I also went to a Starbucks (another unofficial partner in the project) and bought a banana. That worked as well. That means in each case the app Automatically adjusted the amount of Bitcoin in my wallet after the transactions”.

This is potentially a big deal and the first time its widely accepted with low friction or uncertainty issues for customers to shop with cryptocurrencies. With the downloaded Spedn app users allowed to spend four types of crypto: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and a stablecoin called a Gemini Dollar, which is pegged to the value of one U.S. dollar and backed by banking giant State Street.

The change

Over the years, bitcoin was abandoned as many merchants and other users tried to accept it but due to vulnerability to cyber attacks, low processing times on the cryptocurrency networks, its volatility..
that is changes in price value at any moment due to price fluctuations could affect payments from bitcoin wallets. All these affected the crypto model integration by merchants and other users.

Presently, things have changed with the introduction of other mechanisms in the process both in the security and payments procedures. With the introduction of Scanner system which provides easy way to accept or offer payments in cryptocurrency because Flexa offers real-time network to clear the transactions.

The stablecoin known as Gemini dollar takes care of the backend operations,( the conversion) and the merchant typically receives the cash equivalent of whatever crypto amount paid by the consumer. Merchants may be more comfortable now.

According to Tyler Spalding, the Flexa CEO, said the appeal for merchants is a chance to actually lower the commission fees paid to existing payment networks. Spalding, who is also a veteran of the gift card exchange service’ Raise’, added that with crypto payments, stores will also be offered ways to experiment with new types of blockchain-based customer rewards and therefore get acquainted with the structure.

There was no comment yet coming from six retailers who are participating in Flexa services including Whole Foods. The reason for the no coment on the side of the participating retailers was because they are still in the process and experimentation of the new payment model as they are yet to fully assimilate the techniques of the technology and the demand of the consumers. This report was according to an inside in the project who spoke on anonymity.

Speaking on the side of the consumers, the Flexa system opens the way for an easy access to spend crypto at stores around town. Well it may not see a lot of people on this method especially given the fact that other payment methods work very well as its currently being used.

But there is also the volatility issue as a result of unstable value of cryptocurrencies, for instance the value of the Bitcoin in my Spedn app has jumped around about 5% today alone, which is ok for an investment but not for everyday payment tool as it may affect payment value.

However, the volatility problem can be handled by using the Gemini Dollar, which is pegged to keep its value very close to $1 U.S. in 1:1 , according to Winklevoss twins.

An interview with Fortune,  shows that they are of the opinion that because of simple understanding in using Flexa, that is they ability to operate it easily and combined with the stability of the Gemini Dollar will lead to more widespread use and acceptance, especially among the increasing number of people who appreciate the technology behind cryptocurrency and it positive effects on our wellbeing.

The idea of crypto is now a reality and people are getting more integrated into the system. You can now do it,” said Tyler Winklevoss. It amounts to being more cryptocurrency conscious by many organisations and individual users.

Meanwhile, Flexa’s Spalding told Fortune “ It is also good to note that the company will be providing developer kits to other companies who wishes to incorporate the scanner payment technology into their own apps to help in cryptocurrency payments”,

Looking at the history of crypto payments so far, this week’s announcement feels like a breakthrough, though for now its still early to say if the big merchants who signed on recently and which includes Lowes, Office Depot and Petco , weather they will still continue taking the payments this time next year, till then, all hopes for cryptocurrency.


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Credits: Jeff John Roberts, Fortune


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