The bitcoin debate is neverending. Is it revolutionary? Is it dead? Can B2B companies get on board?
The latter question has been raised with more frequency in recent months. CoinDesk published a column in February, for instance, that explored “How Bitcoin Could Shake Up B2B Payments.” The currency, proponents say, facilitates cross-border payments between suppliers and buyers that are less expensive and are faster for companies.
The case for B2B bitcoin payments has another backer now, too. Brian Billingsley, who heads the North America operations of payments and eCommerce-as-a-Service firm Klarna, recently spoke on the topic at this year’s Keynote conference and said that while Klarna is not yet ready to accept bitcoin as payment, there is still potential for the digital currency to facilitate B2B invoice settlements.
In an interview with CoinDesk published this week, Billingsley said that the company has done “internal pilots with bitcoin.”
“We love the concept of a consumer paying with bitcoin,” he said but added, “we haven’t seen a consumer experience to date that really makes it super frictionless.” But when it comes to B2B payments, the executive said at the conference that hope is not lost.
“The cross-border payments companies should be trying to figure out how to use bitcoin technology, or they should be really scared about what could happen,” he said. “The Western Unions of the world should be really worried.”
He added that Klarna is eyeing how it could use bitcoin itself to send payments between its offices across the globe. The company is based in Sweden.
According to Billingsley, the globalization of today’s merchants, even the small ones, means bitcoin poses an opportunity to make small business owners’ lives easier, too. The payments technology could help SMEs bypass the complicated and expensive cross-border tax burdens, the executive said.