Recently a few of the U.S. major retailers have started accepting Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies. This is done with the help of Flexa’s Spedn app and Gemini exchange. Flexa partnered with Gemini to bring this service to people who want to spend their cryptocurrencies.
The Flexa Network
Flexa was launched in February 2018 and since the beginning their main goal was to improve crypto usability. They claim that over the past year, they have built tens of thousands of merchant point of sale terminals worldwide:
“So, instead of bolting cryptocurrency payments on top of debit cards, we took the opposite approach. Over the past year, we’ve built new connections with tens of thousands of merchant point-of-sale terminals nationwide, to bypass the existing payments infrastructure and push cryptocurrency-based payment authorizations directly to merchants on your behalf.”
This becomes a reality with their new app called SPEDN. Flexa in partnership with Gemini has developed a new app that lets users spend their cryptocurrencies. The apps only purpose is to spend crypto.
Retailers configuring their scanners
What Flexa and Gemini have done is quite remarkable. They have persuaded these retailers to change their scanners in order to receive crypto payments. This happens via a QR code. Users just hold up their phone and scan the QR code which is presented by the cashier. Having said that, the cashier won’t be able to tell the difference whether the customer is paying in fiat or crypto.
However, while this might seem that is beneficial only for the crypto user and hodler, the CEO of Flexa, Tyler Spalding says that Flexa’s SPEDN app offers merchants the chance to lower the commission fees they pay to existing payment networks. So at this point, it becomes beneficial for both parties.
“Merchants who are currently subject to overly complex, expensive legacy systems of credit and debit cards stand to benefit significantly. In fact, major retailers pay billions of dollars each year in processing costs (costs that are often borne at least in part by the consumer). With Flexa, merchants (i) get significantly less expensive and fraud-resistant transactions. (ii) can use the same payment hardware they currently use. (iii) receive payment in fiat currency, not crypto. We believe that not only will this result in cost-savings to the merchant, but to the consumer in the long-term as well.”
Marketed as “here to stay”, but in reality it’s just a test
While this all might seem like the monetary world is changing, don’t rush to conclusions just yet. These big corporations haven’t yet commented on this issue. Only an anonymous source told the reason why. It appears that these major retailers are accepting crypto only in a test mode, to see whether this actually is what the consumer wants and whether this is sustainable. They even question whether this will be available until the end of the year.
One of the arguments is that a regular consumer who doesn’t use crypto will not buy cryptocurrencies just to purchase food in Whole Foods. However, the guy who has been holding crypto assets for quite some time is the main audience and will use this feature.
But when looking at the crypto audience as such, Flexa with their SPEDN app is just another third-party service. Crypto believers and supporters strive to eliminate the third parties which the modern world offers on every corner. And that is the question – will this age well? Bitcoin and crypto as such is a peer-to-peer system.