To say bitcoin has been volatile would be an understatement. After slumping more than 70% from its peak a year ago, it has most recently been whipsawed amid FTX’s high-profile plummet toward bankruptcy.
And yet, for an intrepid and growing base of consumers, the marquee name in cryptocurrency is proving to be an attractive choice for everyday spend, including getting food delivered to the doorstep.
Theo Kuipers, director of payments at Just Eat Takeway.com, told PYMNTS that individuals in Europe who have embraced crypto, who have kept the digital coins on their balance sheet, are seeking a way to combat inflation and maintain purchasing power. In many cases, they may be sitting on significant gains that, in turn, can be deployed into wider commerce settings.
The company began accepting bitcoin payments in the Netherlands and many other countries in 2013. It does not levy any additional fees for bitcoin payments.
Kuipers said that while usage by consumers has been varied, the runway is long, given relatively low penetration. Bitcoin may not be among the top payment choices in many of the European countries in which Just Eat operates, but it should gain traction.
“This is an advanced payment method that we do of course want to offer to our customers, especially those who have been embracing digitization.”
Consumer interest in using crypto is growing. Joint research between PYMNTS and BitPay has found that one quarter of consumers prefer to shop with merchants that accept cryptocurrency. As many as 23% said they own or have owned crypto within the past 12 months, up from 16% a year ago. In the United States, as many as eight in 10 consumers have used bitcoin to pay online or in store.
Smaller Ticket Transactions
The average food order on the Just Eat platform comes in at around 24 euros (about $24). Generally speaking, consumers tend to use crypto for much larger-ticket items, so the tide may be shifting a bit. The “heavy users” of cryptos, the ones who are transacting ever-more frequently, are the ones that will be more comfortable with using bitcoin in everyday spend.
There’s a positive ripple effect that comes with offering bitcoin as a payment choice, said Kuipers: Consumers who use bitcoin to pay do so again and again.
“There’s a very consistent usage pattern here,” he said.
By leveraging BitPay, which converts crypto into local fiat, Just Eat is not challenged by the volatility that is a hallmark of crypto.
“We get paid in any local currency that is needed to pass on to the restaurants, and we take receipt of funds and pass them through,” Kuipers said.
Looking ahead, he said that crypto may not be solely a consumer-facing option; it may find its way toward being a behind-the-scenes payment choice as restaurants pay their delivery and in-house staff, and even inventory.
“It’s clearly a possibility” as time goes on, he said.
As Kuipers told PYMNTS, “the consumers on our platform that use cryptocurrencies do so with the conviction that this is the way in which the whole world will move.”
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