Interest in crypto as an everyday payment option appears to have waned.
Or has it?
While the crypto sector’s former appeal may have been dulled by ongoing scandals and regulatory uncertainty, Crypto.com on Wednesday (May 31) announced it is expanding its crypto payment capabilities and support for U.S.-based app users.
The Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange is now letting users in the U.S. spend their crypto holdings to purchase products from more than 150 consumer brands across sectors like apparel, groceries and electronics.
Select participating companies include Apple, Walmart, GameStop and Ray-Ban.
Per the company’s announcement, users who buy products in the Crypto.com app will get up to 10% back in Pay Rewards on every eligible purchase, paid out in CRO tokens and capped at $100 per month for each individual user.
Research in the 2022 PYMNTS report, “Paying With Cryptocurrency: Can Crypto At Checkout Become A Profit Center For Merchants?” a collaboration with BitPay, found that more than 1 in 4 consumers (26%) said they are “very” or “extremely” interested in using cryptocurrency when making purchases from merchants that offer rewards and discounts.
The in-app payment offering from Crypto.com allows U.S. users to generate a single-use One-Time Card which can be used to purchase items with more than two dozen cryptocurrencies including CRO, bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and tether (USDT).
The One-Time Card feature gives U.S. app users a single-use virtual card that lets them take advantage of their digital asset holdings to pay for the goods and services, rather than use crypto solely as an investment.
For the most part, cryptocurrencies have failed to live up to their hype as a replacement for money, and despite bitcoin ATMs scattered around U.S. cities, digital assets have yet to become fully adopted by merchants and consumers.
Still, as reported by PYMNTs, crypto stalwarts haven’t given up hope that there exists some utility within crypto for consumer payments. New York State is considering a bill that would let consumers pay the state with cryptocurrency for fines, civil penalties, rent, rates, taxes, fees, and other charges owed to state agencies.
One perennial issue with using crypto for payments is the decentralized nature of the assets means that cryptocurrency payments are, by their very nature, irreversible, with no ability for a “chargeback.”
In fact, the only way to get a crypto payment back is to have the recipient initiate a second transaction — and if the money is lost due to a fraudulent action, that makes it nearly impossible.
Because Crypto.com’s payment offering is housed within its own native app, hopefully they will have a solution.