You want fries with that crypto?
Might have to wait a bit, especially on the international stage.
For some, bitcoin and cryptos — beyond a means of speculation — are a solution in search of a problem. However, among the more enthusiastic refrains from supporters: Cryptos will become ubiquitous as they scale into everyday retail environments.
It’s been a slow start. Every so often a marquee name in retail comes out with a statement that it is exploring using cryptos at the point of sale, or that tests are underway. You may recall that not all that long ago, Starbucks had been in the news, in tandem with bitcoin — i.e., we will, at some point be able to pay for our triple no-foam whip pumpkin soy latte with bitcoin.
Not that simple. It turns out that Starbucks took equity, as announced in March, in Bakkt, a cryptocurrency payments platform. Moreover, as reported by The Next Web, that the mechanics are such that bitcoin and, it is assumed, other cryptos, would be changed into fiat and then transactions would be completed.
We have some news https://t.co/ykUvQ31cGz
— Bakkt (@Bakkt) August 16, 2019
Thus, the seemingly straight line to digital coins changing hands is still replete with the bumps of fiat — that trusted vehicle of commerce — still in place.
Also, in news that came via Cointelegraph on Tuesday, in Germany, Burger King, has this month begun accepting bitcoin online through its website and mobile app.
The latest move by the fast-food monarch follows efforts that stretch back to 2016, when consumers in the Netherland were able to buy their meals with cryptos, in Arnhem. The efforts seem to fizzle as of May, when that availability was stopped — and the company said it had been a “temporary promotional campaign,” as reported by Cointelegraph. Similarly, in Russia, WhopperCoins were issued in 2017, and anecdotally, according to reports, it’s hard to find restaurants there where bitcoin is accepted. In addition, trading volumes on the cryptos exchanges where the Whopper coins would change hands have shown no volume at all.
Customers will receive ‘WhopperCoins’ with each purchase of the Whopper sandwich https://t.co/nyOWaT1F4m
— TAXI (@designtaxi) November 22, 2017
There were and are stumbling blocks to using bitcoin as currency at the actual point of sale. The attempt now is to try to leverage bitcoin into a mobile setting — and only through the Lieferservice delivery service in Germany, and which redirects traffic to BitPay. So, lots of intermediaries before you get the Whopper. Transaction fees still accrue and can be hefty, too, which, if borne by the restaurant might eat into profits; if carried by the consumer, might be high enough to hamper using bitcoin for every day, small value transactions. Volatility plays a part too — which means the value of the bitcoin in the proverbial wallet swings wildly. Penetration and adoption are embryonic. To date, according to the site coinmap.com, a bit more than 15,400 brick and mortar locations accept cryptos on site — globally.
Not exactly conducive to working up an appetite to put crypto to work at the register.