One of the biggest theoretical metrics for the adoption of cryptocurrency has been: ‘When will one be able to buy a coffee at Starbucks with Bitcoin?’ well, that time is now as the coffee giant now has the capacity, along with some other major retailers, to accept Bitcoin.
This was demonstrated by one of cryptocurrencies biggest supporters and proponents, the Winklevoss Twins. The payment for coffee at Starbucks is not one of their own initiatives, although they are pursuing blockchain with Microsoft’s help, but rather it is through a partnership between New York-based crypto exchange Gemini and payments startup Flexa.
With this, it is not only Starbucks that is open to taking cryptocurrency, but also major names like, Nordstroms, Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wholefoods.
Buying the Bucks
Through Gemini and Flexa users can essentially buy coffee with Bitcoin as easy as using any fiat currency by flashing their smartphone with an Apple Pay-like app.
The payment works via Flexa’s Spend mobile app. Once you install the app on your smartphone, you the proceed to send some crypto to your wallet. The app supports a number of cryptos including the obvious ones like, Bitcoin and Ethereum. It also supports Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and the exchange’s native dollar-pegged stablecoin, the Gemini Dollar.
Once you fund your wallet, you just hold up your app to pay at the cashier, just as you would with Apple Pay. The cashier doesn’t even get to know that you’re paying in cryptos. The retailer receives his payment in real-time through the method of his choice, be it crypto or fiat currencies. For those that select fiat payments, Gemini handles the conversion.
Permeating other retailers
According to Forbes, there are a host of other major retailers that are also part of this partnership with Flexa allowing customers to use their cryptocurrency to buy at the likes of Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Bed Bath & Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Crate & Barrel, Express, GameStop, Jamba Juice, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot & OfficeMax, Petco, Regal Cinemas, Ulta Beauty and Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market.
Is this how it begins?
Bitcoin began its useful life as a tool of the dark web markets where it operated like a currency. Since its explosion in to the mainstream it has become a lot more of an asset and a digital gold and perhaps the push to see it being spent has fallen away.
Now, as its drive in adoption picks up again and it needs to prove its usefulness, being able to spend Bitcoin as easy as cash on a debit card will be a big step in the right direction. It remains to be seen of this partnership and framework set up by Flexa will lead to total adoption, but no doubt it is a good beginning.