Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.
Bitcoin Bandits Roar Back With Silk Road 2.0
Why It’s Hot: Early signs that it won’t be easy for the cops to shut down illicit eCommerce and that bitcoin has a great future as the payment system of choice for dealers in drugs, flesh, guns and other more than naughty things.
Karen’s Commentary: Since the founder of the real Silk Road is cooling his heels in the pokey, it makes me wonder how he, or anyone, enforces trademarks on the dark web. Is there (intellectual property rights) honor among thieves?
PYMNTS Team: Karen, we guess you didn’t read about how Dread Pirate’s, aka Silk Road Founder, was looking for hitmen on the dark web but only because his lawyers wouldn’t take bitcoins.
Why It’s Hot: For maybe not being hot. Stuff happens, even to Walmart.
Karen’s Commentary: I know, it’s the payment demons punishing Walmart for making interchange fees tumble. (Couldn’t resist – fresh off the Durbin panel in DC yesterday)
PYMNTS Team: And, here we thought we had all of our Holiday shopping done.
Best Buy Claims Responsibility For Death Of Showrooming
Why It’s Hot: Best Buy, on the ropes, fights back against showrooming and shows there’s room for big-box retailers to not only show their stuff but to get consumers to buy it.
Karen’s Commentary: I get keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but seems a bit desperate and maybe even a little defensive, don’t ya think? The real question is not whether Best Buy will kill showrooming, but whether their efforts to not kill showrooming will kill them faster than showrooming will. Hard to get how the big-box retailers can sell stuff at bare-bones prices and still support all that real estate and people cost.
PYMNTS Team: Let’s see, sales are down, the Best Buy in the Back Bay of Boston shut down … you gotta give the CEO credit for claiming he killed their biggest competitive threat. Maybe he should be retained to sell Obamacare to the American people.