Big Retailers Like Whole Foods To Accept Bitcoin

Major retailers — including Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom and Whole Foods — will now accept bitcoin, according to Fortune, and three other types of digital money, as payment.

Flexa announced the limited launch of its network and mobile app to allow instant cryptocurrency payments at select retailers. Those merchants can now easily accept bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and the Gemini Dollar from consumers who have the new SPEDN mobile wallet app, which will be more widely available for download in the App Store next week.

“This is the first real instance of decentralized global retail payments, with the power to make commerce more efficient and accessible for billions of citizens globally,” said Tyler Spalding, co-founder and CEO of Flexa, in a press release. “The legacy payment systems are complicated and costly. This solution provides a way for cryptocurrencies to solve these problems, and allow merchants to conduct inexpensive and fraud-resistant transactions.”

The payment method utilizes the digital scanners that many big retailers already use to accept phone-based payments from apps, and from digital wallets like Apple Pay. The retailers — which also include Regal Cinemas, GameStop and Baskin-Robbins — need to configure their scanners to recognize payments from SPEDN, and the customers only need to hold up their apps to pay.

While Flexa offers a real-time network to clear the transactions, Gemini handles the back end.

“This technology shifts cryptocurrency from investment and speculation toward real usability. You can finally buy a cup of coffee with cryptocurrency and a tap of your phone. This moves the broader ecosystem closer to realizing the full promise and power of crypto,” said Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini.

Fortune reached out to six of the retailers participating in the Flexa service, including Whole Foods, but none chose to comment. An anonymous source said the merchants are staying mum for the time being, since the project is still an experiment.