The next time you walk into your neighborhood coffee shop, you might be able to pay for your double-tall soy latte in Bitcoins. Made popular by the online gaming world and as a way to transfer funds securely from one person to another, Bitcoin appears to be the next frontier in digital currency. While the hype surrounding this new cryptocurrency has reached astounding heights in recent months, many have gaffawed at the idea of Bitcoin becoming a mainstream currency.
The tides are quickly changing.
In a major step towards industry-wide retail adoption, iPad POS company Revel Systems just announced Bitcoin integration in its cloud-based platform that gives stores the ability to offer the digital currency as an official payment method in retail, grocery and restaurant establishments.
“Digital currency is the wave of the future,” said Chris Ciabarra, Revel Systems CTO and co-founder.“ As the standard in point-of-sale, we like to provide our customers with more ways to take advantage of consumer payment trends and supply a platform in which to take them, and that includes configuring our system to accept Bitcoin.”
After people arrive at the checkout, customers will be presented with the option to select a payment method, much like credit cards and cash. If they elect to pay with Bitcoin, they are then presented with a QR code that users can scan with any Bitcoin wallet app on their mobile phones. Signing up for a Bitcoin wallet is fairly simple, the process just involves connecting your wallet to a bank account and converting funds, much like how PayPal is used.
As Forbes reported, Five Markets grocery store in San Francisco became the first establishment in the country to accept Bitcoins using Revel’s platform. According to store Co-Owner Evelyn Fong, over ninety percent of her customers are smartphone owners. The addition of Bitcoin integration will make it even easier for them to make payments using their smartphones, she says.
Despite the industry’s resistance to fully accept Bitcoin, the recent Target and Nieman-Marcus credit card security breaches at are a wakeup call about how retailers manage confidential customer data. Bitcoin has engrained security features that make fraud very difficult and allow people to track exactly how they are being used from point to point.
Large online retailer Overstock.com recently announced its foray into accepting Bitcoins as a payment type on its website last week, where on the first day, it received 830 orders and over $130,000.
Looks like in-store acceptance is finally here.
Double-Tall latte please, hold the foam.