Cryptocurrencies create new ways of attracting capital while the financial regulation system becomes obsolete due to the emergence of technologies based on decentralization. This makes online marketplace holders think about new payment options introduction. However, cryptocurrency payments implementation is quite a challenge, taking into account numerous legal restrictions, technical requirements, and other obstacles.
Last year the total cryptocurrency market value has reached above $600 billion and put major industry giants just behind in the race. What strategies of crypto-adoption have the most widely known companies already chosen? Let’s find it out.
Rakuten: Using Blockchain to Transform the Company's Business Units
In March 2015, Rakuten began to use the Bitnet platform to accept payments in bitcoins. Later, this Japanese e-commerce giant has acquired rights to use bitcoin processing tech of Bitnet Technologies Ltd. in 2016. Soon it was announced they would open a blockchain laboratory - Rakuten Blockchain Lab (RBL). All these activities aim to research the technology and its potential appliances to broaden the market influence.
As Fergal Downey (the VP of engineering at RBL) said, the diverse business portfolio of the company allows to create really valuable blockchain solutions able enhance the whole ecosystem. The diversity of huge Rakuten’s brands like Ichiba (known to be the Japanese Amazon), Viber, and numerous other smaller companies ranging from sports websites to banks ensures there will be enough work for RBL experts as well as possible enhancements.
Amazon: Cryptocurrency Is Just for Exchange, Not for Payments
Just at the end of 2017, the news about Amazon registering several cryptocurrency containing domains like amazonethereum.com and amazoncryptocurrency.com stroke the world. This contravenes the company’s older claims denying planning to adopt digital assets for payments, though the company already has the "amazonbitcoin.com" domain name. According to the words of Amazon Pay's Vice President Patrick Gauthier, buying domains is nothing more than preventive measures to protect the brand name. As he said, cryptocurrency wasn’t in much demand yet, so Amazon had no plans to make it one of the payment options.
At the same time, these measures can gain a probable continuation as it can turn out Amazon plans to enter a cryptocurrency exchange business. The growing interest concerning cryptocurrency investments and bitcoin cost spike may fuel this decision.
eBay: "Serious Considerations" or Just a Fake?
One more company making cryptocurrency announcements at the end of 2017 is eBay. Its Senior Vice President Scott Cutler claims the company is seriously considering to add the revolutionary payment method but isn’t quite there yet. Such a decision could make a massive step to the new horizons adoption for the company and the fintech world as a whole.
However, there are several concerns about such a turnover. Other companies having integrated Bitcoin payments before struggled because of slow transaction times and volatility. The main issue is that the price could move dramatically during the time the transaction is being processed. This significantly reduces the fees and forces retailers to raise them to an incredible level: sometimes they reach more than 30% of the product price. For instance, such a challenge caused an online games retailer Steam to cease the Bitcoin payments at their platform.
If it’s not the difference in eBay’s and Steam’s business models, one can consider cryptocurrency payments at marketplaces to be a blind-alley. Still, eBay doesn’t need certainty in payments as opposed to Steam, thus being just a marketplace facilitating transactions and taking fees for them. This means, even if the price of the item change, eBay can take their fees either (for example, in fiat money). As the problem seems to be solvable, the plans to introduce cryptocurrency payments will most likely be implemented.
Despite the global market today isn’t pursuing cryptocurrency integration much, we can see some detached steps towards the new payment option adoption. The fact that these steps are made not only by desperate newcomers but also by global companies such as Amazon, eBay, and Rakuten gives us hope that soon we will be able to personally pay for services using cryptocurrencies.