In a month that has seen Bitcoin hit new highs for the year, the good news just keeps flowing. According to new reports, some of the biggest retailers in the United States are now accepting cryptocurrency payments. These include Starbucks, Nordstrom, Barnes and Noble and Amazon-owned Whole Foods.

The new initiative is the product of a partnership between New York-based crypto exchange Gemini and payments startup Flexa. What makes it even better is that the entire process is as smooth and seamless as paying using Apple Pay or any other phone-based digital wallet.

The payment works via Flexa’s Spedn mobile app. Once you install the app on your smartphone, you the proceed to send some cryptos to your wallet. The app supports a number of cryptos including the obvious suspects, Bitcoin and Ethereum. It also supports Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and the exchange’s native dollar-pegged stablecoin, the Gemini Dollar. 

Once you fund your wallet, you just hold up your app to pay at the cashier, just as you would with Apple Pay. The cashier doesn’t even get to know that you’re paying in cryptos. The retailer receives his payment in real-time through the method of his choice, be it crypto or fiat currencies. For those that select fiat payments, Gemini handles the conversion.

According to a report by Forbes, Cameron Winklevoss, one half of the famous Winklevoss twins duo, couldn’t hide his excitement at the launch of the product. After demonstrating just how easy it is to use the Spedn app at a Starbucks outlet, he proudly exclaimed:

We’re finally realizing the promise of crypto in payments. It’s taken a long time, but as you’ve seen for yourself we’re here. It’s a total win for the merchants. That transaction was effectively free.

Will This Be the One That Works Out?

Over the years, many global retail giants have integrated crypto payments into their operations. However, many have ceased accepting cryptos, blaming volatility and low customer uptake. So, will this be the one that works out?

It might well be. For one, the initiative has brought on board many of the largest retailers. They include Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Baskin Robbins, GameStop, Jamba Juice, Whole Foods Market and many more. However, most of these declined to give any comments to media outlets.


Starbucks, in particular, remains extra cagey regarding this new initiative. The food chain asked not to be included in the official announcement, despite accepting payments via the Spedn app. The report by Forbes indicated that while taking photos at a Starbucks outlet to showcase the product, Cameron was allegedly asked to cover up the Starbucks logo. This was apparently because the company isn’t ready yet to publicly associate itself with the product.

And if you’re wondering why the Spedn app has an edge over the other payment methods, Tyler Spalding has the answers. Spalding, who is the founder and CEO of Flexa believes that for one, the new payment method will help retailers avoid chargebacks. Crypto transactions are permanent and thus, the clients can’t reverse. A report by Javelin Strategy, a consulting firm estimated that chargebacks cost retailers over $31 billion in 2017 alone.

The other benefit is that the transaction fees are extremely low. Spalding made it clear that “Whatever they’re paying now, we wanna go lower than that.”


I am a very awesome human. I love writing, and I am awesome at it. I am a blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast and championing the blockchain through well-crafted articles is what I do

5 COMMENTS

  1. I see a clear incentive for business to accept crypto currencies as the fees are much less in comparison to credit card payments. Also the chargeback point is interesting as a benefit to the merchant. What about the consumers benefits? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as to why people would choose to start spending cryptos over fiat? I have noticed a trend where merchants are charging consumers an extra 2-3% for paying with a credit card. As a consumer is eliminating that extra fee enough of an incentive to start transacting in cryptos? Back to the chargebacks…People feel safe when using their card because they know if they are not satisfied with their purchase they have protection from their credit card company to refund the money. What does crypto offer in this space. I see this as a hugh barrier to make the switch from credit cards to cryptos payments.

    • Hey @tomsedita:disqus In my experience, crypto owners have always wanted to pay in crypto. However, very few merchants accept crypto. The more the merchants that accept crypto, the more customers are going to use cryptos, at least for those who own them. As for those who don’t, the benefits that can bring them on board include the low transaction fees. With Dash, BCH and XRP, it’s almost free. Keep in mind that the cryptos they own will be usable for many other purposes including cheap and fast funds transfers.

      • Why would crypto owners want to pay in Crypto as opposed to fiat? I don’t know that most crypto owners have a perceived benefit of doing so. From my experience most crypto owners are speculators holding for profits.

  2. The whole thing about this news is gemini actually just wanted to be mentioned with those big brands. They are showing of the fact that they have money and shit. Plus paying with crypto is not new at all.

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