The crypto industry continues to gain speed. What may have started as a vague idea 10 years ago has since grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.
With it, the number of companies accepting cryptocurrency payments has also increased. Of course, while it’s hard to determine how many people actually use crypto for day-to-day purchases, the fact that this is a viable payment option across a number of companies indicates the direction for businesses in being ahead of the game.
Cryptocurrency offers some interesting possibilities, especially where value is transferred seamlessly and instantly without the need for third parties, said Deepak Jain, CEO of Swych. Apart from paying each other, consumers frequently pay merchants for all sorts of expenses, whether it be shopping, dining out, booking a travel experience, or buying a gift card for someone’s birthday.
With 600+ partnered retailers to choose from including Banana Republic, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Gap, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nike and Target, Swych is hopeful that it can make the acceptance of crypto payments become an established payment method similar to Visa or Mastercard and even digital wallets such as Apple Pay or PayPal.
For Propy, who have started accepting crypto to remove lengthy bank lead times and sizeable fees, there is a significant population of crypto rich spread throughout the world, whose diversification needs are best served by real estate assets, according to Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of Propy.
“These folks are international-minded when searching for the best locations to purchase investment properties and part of the reason is the ease of cross-border fund transfers cryptocurrencies afford,” Karayaneva added.
Propy, which has properties in Barcelona, Dubai, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Prague and San Francisco, believes it’s well placed ahead of its competitors due to its understanding of all the “parameters involved in a property conveyance anywhere in the world, including all the possible methods of payment – crypto or non-crypto,” she said.
To date, the platform has had requests to buy properties in bitcoin, ether, binance coin and XRP and has added these methods of payments. It’s had transactions conducted in bitcoin and ether. Instead of transactions taking three to seven days with fiat, cross-border transactions in XRP, for instance, takes seconds and a maximum of 10 minutes for transactions using bitcoin or ether, Karayaneva said.
From December 2017 through to February 2018, Propy noticed a rise in the number of crypto buyers compared to previous years. The bull market of 2017 no doubt helped this along, but even though the industry struggled for most of 2018, Karayaneva explained that this isn’t impacting people’s interest in crypto real estate.
During the past two months, we have had tens to hundreds of agents in the Bay Area alone signing up to be crypto certified, she added. That’s not a struggling market, but a developing one.
Will you be buying your next property in crypto?
Even though a significant number of retailers accept crypto, including CheapAir, Expedia and Overstock, there are countless more who remain hesitant.
According to Jain, this is down to the “misconceptions surrounding cryptocurrencies.”
“The public has been led to believe that crypto payments are attractive for bad actors and criminals to use as ways to launder their wealth,” he added. “Retailers are concerned about the volatility of most cryptocurrencies which could risk profit margins and pose challenges to systems that were designed to mostly accept a largely stable form of fiat currency.”
For Karayaneva, the presence of established crypto payment processors doesn’t mean it’s a simple process of signing up and using one. Not only that, but the increased regulatory complexity in the US compared to other jurisdictions can be a difficult hurdle for retailers to scale.
In addition, comprehending the nature of crypto and the underlying infrastructure – blockchain – is quite difficult and as a result, it requires a leap of faith from the retailer, even for those retailers who appreciate the size of the crypto holders’ market, she added.
Despite these concerns, though, Jain is of the opinion that as adoption of crypto grows, more people will be keen to get involved in the space. As a result, retailers who remain sitting on the fence will have to take the leap to offer crypto payments to their consumers who are looking to spend their digital assets.
“There are some very interesting developments in the space aimed towards making significant headway in order to facilitate the payment of crypto,” he added. “There is an incredible amount of innovation happening that will continue to drive more progress.”