Amazon-Owned Whole Foods Now Accepts Bitcoin And 3 Other Cryptos

An employee holds a device used for Amazon Counter, a click and collect service allowing customers to collect their Amazon parcels in-store at a Next store in London
An employee holds a device used for Amazon Counter, a click and collect service allowing customers to collect their Amazon parcels in-store at a Next store in London, Britain, May 14, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Whole Foods, the supermarket chain owned by the e-commerce giant Amazon is now accepting bitcoin as one of its payment methods. The surprising news was made possible thanks to the efforts of startups Gemini and Flexa, the former of which is owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Shoppers who want to use bitcoin simply need to download the Spedn app to make everyday purchases. Other than bitcoin, Whole Foods will also accept Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). GUSD is the stablecoin of the Winklevoss-owned Gemini.

It is foreseen that GUSD will add another layer of stability to the cypto payments given the volatility of the bitcoin price, not to mention its peg to the U.S. dollar. More good news, it's expected that there will be no markups or hidden fees, making crypto a more attractive payment option.

Meanwhile, to persuade retailers such as Baskin Robbins, Gamestop, and Regal Cinemas, Flexa configured its scanners in order to recognize payments done from its crypto app. Customers simply need to hold up their app to pay. Cashiers may or may not be aware that the customer is paying using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but the merchant is guaranteed to receive payments in real-time, whether in dollars or in crypto.

Over the years, some merchants have dabbled in Bitcoin but eventually abandoned it, in part due to the slow processing times of crypto networks. For consumers, meanwhile, bitcoin presented some challenges as an everyday payment method due to the currency's volatility. For example, a wallet with $100 at the start of the week may become $60 by the end of the week.

This time, however, crypto payments have improved greatly that merchants can now rely on them as a form of payment method. The scanner system these days provide an easy way to accept cryptocurrencies, and also because Flexa offers real-time transactions.

For the whole crypto environment, this development was bound to happen. Come to think of it: if Whole Foods can now accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, in theory, Amazon's entire marketplace may soon start accept cryptos and adopt the whole infrastructure, seemingly with Flexa. Apart from Whole Foods, this development can also happen with other merchants, the likes of Nordstrom and Crate and Barrel.

It has been a great week for cryptocurrencies overall. Bitcoin, for one, is trading at $7,900 as of writing, and with its strong resistance at $7,800, expect to see the coin break through $8,000 within the coming hours.

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