Bit by digital bit, bitcoin is making inroads into everyday commerce.
Despite the volatility of its trading, where the digital offering has recently been hovering above $57,000, any number of heavy hitters in the online commerce space have been announcing new initiatives to bring bitcoin out of the land of speculation, into digital wallets — and spent.
Newegg Vice President of Finance Nikki Tanlioco discussed cryptocurrency as a form of payments in a retail setting, and she told PYMNTS that digital currencies, especially bitcoin, are gaining ground. The online retailer, focused on technology offerings such as computers and peripherals, began accepting bitcoin in 2014, and in 2019 said it would begin accepting bitcoin across nearly all of its stores and countries. At present, when shopping online, consumers can opt to click on the “Pay with BitPay” function.
Back at the time of the initial 2014 announcement of the partnership between Newegg and BitPay, the firms noted that Newegg customers have been among the earliest bitcoin miners and helped pave a way to satisfy the demands of high-volume eCommerce. More recently, the opportunity is there (amid the continuing eCommerce boom), said Tanlioco, to for cryptos to be embraced not just within the tech industry at large, but specifically within the retail and eCommerce realms, as an additional payment option.
Raising Crypto Awareness Internationally
As she told PYMNTS: “We believe that crypto is a safe, reliable and global form of payment.”
And especially in the wake of the pandemic, she said, there has been a growing demand for end users to have that option available at checkout. BitPay and Newegg have jointly been working to expand crypto awareness internationally. Users with bitcoin stored in their digital wallets can use the crypto to pay a merchant on the BitPay platform (the payment is converted to fiat on the other end of the transaction).
To be sure, other retailers and platforms have been bringing their own crypto- and bitcoin-centered efforts to light. In just one recent example, at the end of March, PayPal debuted a service that allows U.S. customers to use bitcoin, and a few other cryptos, as a payments choice at checkout.
At a high level, Tanlioco noted that payments done with crypto, and specifically with bitcoin, are markedly different from traditional online payments. Offering crypto as a payment option means targeting a different customer base, as well as reckoning with the technical aspect of integrating the payments functionality in the first place.
By accepting BitPay or bitcoin as a payment method via plug and play (integrating with the BitPay application programming interface, or API, is a fast and streamlined process), she said, Newegg does not have to grapple with customers’ billing information or cross-currency conversion rates.
Payments for BitPay merchants are settled daily, and BitPay collects and deposits all payments processed to bank accounts or crypto wallets. The company also supports settlement across several cryptos and direct bank deposit in more than three dozen countries.
Although headlines may blare of the risks of fraud tied to bitcoin and its brethren, Tanlioco noted that her company tracks product sales, returns and shipping activity, and should suspicious activity be flagged, alerts BitPay. The risk of fraud is low with these transactions, she said, noting, “It’s not like someone can steal credit card information and then use that card on our website.”
BitPay, she added, “shields us” from crypto foreign exchange (FX) volatility just because transactions are settled in U.S. dollars. As she told PYMNTS, “being able to offer cryptocurrency in an eCommerce industry is a good option for us, for merchants, and then, at the same time, for customers to use.”