Category Archives: e-commerce

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Rakuten May Soon Accept Crypto Payments

Japan’s Amazon-analog Rakuten, in its last earnings report, has announced that it will be releasing new features on its pay mobile app which may supposedly allow its users make use of cryptocurrency transactions through the gateway in the near future.

Rakuten didn’t directly say that it would accept cryptocurrencies, however, it did give a hint that all payment options will be accepted and since it already owns a subsidiary that offers cryptocurrency service, hence the possibility of it accepting crypto payments on its app when the upgraded features are released in March.

Rakuten’s involvement in crypto was established when it acquired local crypto exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin last year and was of the opinion that cryptocurrency-based payments will revolutionize the e-commerce industry.

Cryptocurrency payments on e-commerce platforms are thought to be one of the revolutionary hallmarks of cryptocurrency that may usher it into mainstream usage. Up until recently, only a few stores accepted crypto payments and most of these were sponsored by enthusiasts themselves.

As for mainstream stores, it remains to be known what’s keeping them from accepting cryptocurrency payments. More so, a sample survey showed how an average of 3% of Americans used Bitcoin for purchases. Perhaps it has something to do with volatility and the fact that in most jurisdictions, crypto regulatory status is either uncertain or outright banned. However, for Japanese crypto enthusiasts, the possibility of this development by Rakuten may have a positive impact on the industry.

E-commerce shoppers continue to show enthusiasm towards cryptocurrency adoption, although it might take a while before the industry has fully permeated the e-commerce niche. More so, a recent survey showed that 12.7% of Amazon customers would like to see the marketplace selling cryptocurrency products or services.

 

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12.7% of Amazon Customers Call For Crypto Products or Services

amazon, cryptocurrency, bitcoin

A recent survey shows that 12.7% of Amazon customers would like to see the marketplace selling cryptocurrency products or services.

The report conducted by Global financial portal Investing.com had surveyed over 1000 of the multinational e-commerce company’s clients in an attempt to analyze Amazon’s consumption rate, with a view of expanding its services to offer more products.

The results revealed that most respondents, being allowed to choose multiple products, voted mostly in favor of an Amazon-backed computer offering (72.9%), followed by local coupons and deals (51.7%), prescription drugs (36.7%), home security (31%) and even medical marijuana (29.5).

13.7% of Amazon clients unsurprisingly voted for listing cryptocurrency products, especially given calls from the industry to drive cryptocurrency adoption through the huge e-commerce market. Although Amazon has been somewhat reticent, there were indications in November 2017 when Bitcoin was at its hiatus and looked to be stratosphere bound, that internet e-commerce giant had likely acquired digital currency-related domain names.

As for using crypto online for purchasing goods and services, exchange giant Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao has said in the past that he sees Amazon eventually accepting cryptocurrencies, suggesting that they are ideally suited for use on the platform. He commented:

“For any internet (non-physical) based business, I don’t understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.”

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Hitting the Sales With Crypto

Hitting the Sales With Crypto

2018 might not have been the best year in terms of cryptocurrency market performance, but it did see a host of new ways emerge for people to buy everyday items using digital currencies. Here are some of the options for consumers looking to spend some of their holdings during the winter sales.

Bitcoin ATMs

This year the number of Bitcoin ATMs across the globe doubled, with an average of six new installations emerging every day and the total number standing at around 4,050. Some of these machines are limited to transacting Bitcoin purchases only, while the rest can be used to make a quick sale for cash.

They can be found in up to 84 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Austria. Over half of the ATM machines offer services for at least one other cryptocurrency including but not limited to Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash.

The nearest ATMs can be found using Coin ATM Radar.

Coinbase e-gift cards

Coinbase customers in the US, Australia, and select EU countries can withdraw funds from their account directly into an e-gift card vie WeGift. Options are available in fashion, food and drink, entertainment and home and leisure, with top brands including Nike, Adidas, and Dominos. The service is offered without fee, with some online merchants also offering a bonus of up to 5%.

Amazon, online stores

Bitrefill offers residents of Germany, France, the UK and the US online vouchers for major retailers, available to purchase with Bitcoin. It includes Amazon vouchers which also can be exchanged for Bitcoin on the decentralized trading platform LocalBitcoins.

Major retailers offering vouchers on Bitrefill and participating in the seasonal sales include Asos, Decathalon and Debenhams.

A number of other e-commerce sites accept cryptocurrency payment methods directly, including retail outlet Overstock, technology retailer Newegg, and some sellers on the alternative retailer for vintage or handmade goods, Etsy.

Check for local outlets

For those looking to spend cryptocurrency directly in local outlets, there are several websites available to help find stores willing to accept this payment method. Where to Spend Bitcoins provides this service for the UK, while Coinmap.org provides an international perspective. Europe and North America have the most condensed number of outlets, with South America, South Korea, and Japan also hosting a significant number.

Coinmap is particularly good for finding and supporting small businesses that share a faith in Bitcoin.

Where next?

In 2019, look out for more fast food restaurants offering a cryptocurrency payment choice, with this year’s trends indicating some of the most well-known names will expand into this service.

In January, KFC Canada offered “The Bitcoin Bucket,” a chicken tenders, waffle fries combination box, for USD 20 in Bitcoin, an offer which quickly sold out. Particular branches of Subway including in Altoona, PA have accepted Bitcoin as early as 2013, while the summer of 2018 saw 522 Venezuelan branches also include Dash as a valid form of payment.

While Starbucks denied rumors in August that they would be accepting direct Bitcoin payments any time soon, the coffee chain has partnered with Microsoft and Bakkt to allow people to convert their cryptocurrency into US dollars, with its support for digital currency still leaving many to speculate about future acceptance.

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Alibaba Founder: Blockchain Meaningless Without Greener, Inclusive Future

The founder of Chinese multinational retail conglomerate Alibaba, Jack Ma, has said that blockchain needs to prove it can push a greener, more inclusive future forward for society, else it is ”meaningless”.

Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China on Monday, Ma said that the ”data age” is a great opportunity for the supply side of the economy to transform the landscape of money and finance. Referencing artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things technology, Ma said that this modern reformation should not be promoted unless these innovations can bring a greener and more inclusive direction for society.

This is a big call coming from the man who founded the world’s number one company in terms of blockchain patent applications. Although it is reported that Ma has plans to retire from the company, his attitude will surely carry influence within the company and their own blockchain developments.

Ma has defended blockchain on previous occasions, earlier this year refuting claims that the technology is a bubble waiting to burst, although he did claim that Bitcoin in fact was. At this time he also referenced a concern for social improvement, saying new technologies should be questioned on ”what value can it bring to society, government, enterprises, and consumers in the data age”.

Social enterprise with blockchain

Some circumstances show that blockchain has already had a positive impact on social enterprises, with companies utilizing the new technologies to promote their causes of financial, social and environmental well-being.

In one case of this, Finnish start-up Moni created a blockchain-backed card that tackles the issue of refugees economic exclusion due to a lack of personal identification they hold. Each card is linked to an individual’s identity that can be used by refugees to purchase products, pay bills and receive payments from employers.

Swytch is an example of a blockchain company promoting the use of sustainable energy. Right now the pilot project is looking to distribute around 3.5Gw of solar, wind, hydro and bio-gas energy, enough to power over 500,000 homes.

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