As bitcoin soars, retailers are looking to get in on the action.
Starting this week big name retailers including Whole Foods ( AMZN ), Gamestop ( GME ) and Nordstrom ( JWN ) will start accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in their stores via a new mobile payments app called Spedn by payment network Flexa. Spedn allows consumers to use things such as bitcoin ( BTC-USD ) and ether ( ETH-USD ) to make purchases in stores.
So how does it work? “You deposit cryptocurrency into it. You display a code that you scan at the register. That’s it,” Flexa co-founder and CEO Tyler Spalding told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move .
Flexa has teamed up with familiar faces for the venture — the Winklevoss twins’ digital currency exchange, Gemini, which custodies and insures all crypto funds that are deposited into the app. The software executes trades and puts quote prices in real time and Gemini locks in quotes and settles it. Flexa just sells the tokens on the exchange and sends ACH payments to the retailer.
“The network doesn’t have any risk to volatility whatsoever,” said Spalding, referring to Flexa.
Bitcoin ( BTC-USD ) has been on a tear this year, more than doubling in value to around $8,000. However, the surge is still far from the December 2017 all-time high of nearly $20,000.
The unstable nature of the crypto market has made it difficult for some companies to feel comfortable embracing it as a form of payment. “A merchant accepting cryptocurrency natively is very challenging,” Spalding said. “The volume and relevance to merchants is something we are working at.”
Kenneth Underwood is a senior producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move.