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News by Cointelegraph: Jinia Shawdagor
Earlier on, when Bitcoin (BTC) arrived on the scene, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts held on to their coins, as there were only so many places they could be spent. Nowadays, the list of marketplaces and retailers accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is significantly larger, providing crypto enthusiasts with more options for making real-world purchases.
After all, with recognizable organizations like Microsoft and Wikipedia now accepting Bitcoin as payment, conversations about Bitcoin and the power of cryptocurrencies are becoming more prominent.
Currently, several fast-food restaurants and coffee shops have started accepting Bitcoin as payment. This will likely provide traction for mass adoption as cryptocurrency payments become increasingly commonplace in day-to-day purchases.
Granted, there are some jurisdictions that do not consider Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as legal tender. Despite this set back, even big tech companies like Facebook are coming up with payment systems that mimic cryptocurrencies.
Here are some of the leading retailers, merchants and companies that will let you book flights and hotels, buy coffee or pizza, or even go to space with crypto.
Pay for a burger in Germany with cryptoThe German branch of fast-food restaurant chain Burger King now claims to accept Bitcoin as payment for its online orders and deliveries, but this is not the first time Burger King has warmed up to Bitcoin as a form of payment.
The company, headquartered in Florida in the United States, had its Russian branch announce in 2017 that it would start accepting Bitcoin payments, but it ultimately did not take off. The global fast-food retailer reports an annual revenue of about $20 billion and serves about 11 million customers around the world. If all its outlets move to accept Bitcoin as payment, cryptocurrency adoption would inevitably spread.
Spend crypto at Starbucks and other placesFor crypto payments to gain traction, merchants need to implement systems that enable swift and easy cryptocurrency spending. Starbucks is one of the companies taking advantage of this concept through Flexa, a U.S.-based payment startup that is helping the cafe giant, as well as dozens of other companies, accept cryptocurrency payments.
The company developed an app called Spedn that enables crypto holders to make purchases with merchants like Starbucks. The company’s CEO believes that by making cryptocurrencies spendable in the mainstream, commerce will realize the full benefit of blockchain technology all over the world.
Crypto enthusiasts in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto might already be familiar with Coupa Cafe for other reasons apart from its coffee and food. Through its partnership with a Facebook software developer, Coupa Cafe has been accepting Bitcoin as payment since 2013.
Reports show that the cafe received a steady stream of Bitcoin revenue as soon as they started implementing crypto payments — a clear sign of how eager its customers were to pay in Bitcoin. Coupa Cafe is among the few physical businesses in Palo Alto that accept Bitcoin at the moment. The cafe owners believe that their collaboration with the Facebook software engineer will create more traction in terms of Bitcoin adoption.
Buy food with cryptoWith over 50,000 takeaway restaurants listed on its United Kingdom-based site, OrderTakeaways is one of the surest ways to get a pizza paid for with crypto delivered to your doorstep. The company has been accepting Bitcoin payments for online takeout orders since 2018. And other similar services include the Korean platform Shuttledelivery as well as German-based service Lieferando and its subsidiaries in several other countries.
Apart from online orders, crypto can also be spent at a regular Subway restaurants. As early as 2013, several Subway branches started accepting Bitcoin as payment. Now, for a fraction of a Bitcoin, a Subway sandwich can be purchased at select restaurants.
Pay with Bitcoin to tour spaceBesides buying food and inexpensive, day-to-day items with crypto, a trip to space can now be bought with Bitcoin. That’s right. Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, started accepting Bitcoin as payment as far back as 2013. Although Branson’s predicted date for the first commercial flight has been pushed back several times, the company achieved its first suborbital space flight last year. Perhaps soon, people will be able to tour the moon on crypto’s dime.
Buy jewelry with BitcoinA brick-and-mortar American jewelry company called Reeds Jewelers accepts Bitcoin for both its physical and online stores. What’s more, if a purchase is worth more than $25,000, the company provides free armored delivery for safety. Other jewelry companies accepting Bitcoin include Blue Nile Jewelry, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Coaex Jewelry, to name a few.
A big advantage of purchasing large ticket items — like a diamond — with crypto is that it makes moving around large amounts of money cheap and effortless. Reports show that more Silicon Valley investors are buying jewelry with Bitcoin. Last year, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry reported a 20% growth in crypto transactions, leading to a boost in the company’s sales. The company has been accepting Bitcoin since 2014.
Send and redeem gift cards with BitcoinGyft, a digital platform that allows users to buy, send and redeem gift cards, was one of the first merchants enabling cryptocurrency adoption to gain traction in the real world. The mobile gift card app allows Bitcoin to be used to purchase gift cards from several retailers, some of which include Burger King, Subway, Amazon and Starbucks. The company has also partnered with popular crypto exchange Coinbase to enable users to buy gift cards from their Coinbase wallets.
Travel and pay in BitcoinIf a traveler only has Bitcoin at their disposal, the following merchants will gladly offer services in exchange for it. TravelbyBit, a flight and hotel booking service, accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Binance Coin and Litecoin (LTC) as payment.
With a network of over 300 crypto-friendly merchants, the platform is one of the biggest supporters of crypto adoption. TravelbyBit can also alert you to upcoming blockchain events in order to interact with other crypto enthusiasts from around the globe. Other platforms to book flights with crypto include Destinia, CheapBizClass, CheapAir, AirBaltic, Bitcoin.Travel and ABitSky, among others.
Use crypto to book a five-star hotel in ZurichIf ever one finds themselves traveling to Zurich Switzerland, either BTC or Ether (ETH) can be used to pay for a stay in a five-star hotel in Zurich. In May 2019, five-star hotel and spa Dodler Grand announced that it will start accepting Bitcoin and Ether as payment.
The hotel has partnered with a fintech firm Inacta as well as Bity (a Swiss-based crypto exchange) to facilitate the payment and conversion of crypto to fiat money. The hotel boasts an amazing view of the Swiss landscape among other enticing amenities that come with a five-star hotel.
Pay for electronics and more with cryptoFor all the gadget lovers, there are a bunch of platforms that allow electronic purchases with cryptocurrency. Newegg, for instance, is an electronic retail giant that uses BitPay to process payments made with digital currencies. Even though one cannot get refunds for Bitcoin purchases, Newegg has a good reputation for quality items.
Plus, the company boasts its being among the first merchants to support cryptocurrency adoption. Other platforms for gadget junkies include Eyeboot (a platform that sells crypto mining rigs in exchange for crypto), Microsoft, FastTech and Alza (a U.K.-based online store that sells phones and beauty products).
An ever-expanding listIt seems clear that more retailers are warming up to the idea of accepting cryptocurrencies. There is still a long way to go before full adoption can be achieved, but many companies have nevertheless benefited from being early adopters. Despite the volatile price movements of cryptocurrencies, all evidence points to a future cashless society that uses digital currencies, and crypto is leading the way.
If you happened to read my previous post, you would know WeChat group chats plays a phenomenal role to connect the Chinese crypto circle. The night of July 12th, a unique interview took place in one of those WeChat groups. You may even say the first of its kind.submitted by ox3tv to u/ox3tv [link] [comments]
On the one end is my friend Matthew Roszak, co-founder and chairman of Bloq; on the other, there are 499 women--all of them blockchain entrepreneurs and journalists from different parts of China.
I worked as the host of the event. Questions were collected from all members in advance. During the next hour and half, we discussed with Matt his experience as an investor, his insights on the future of blockchain, and the launch of his latest project, Metronome.
Here is the complete interview. I have tried to keep it as close to the chat history as possible, though minor tweaks were made for easier reading. Enjoy!
Matt: So cool to be here -- and talk about my favorite subject in the world :-)
Bianca: It is my favorite subject as well and glad to do this with one of my favorite people in this field.
Matt: I am so thrilled you asked me to be a part of this special chat -- ever since you produced that blockchain documentary, your star has been rising higher and higher -- congrats Bianca! I see so many amazing women entrepreneurs on this channel -- super impressive!
Bianca: Many incoming questions. We have selected a few. First of all: You’re an experienced blockchain investor. How did you start investing in cryptocurrency? By contrast, what’s your view on the future of Wall Street?
Matt: When I started out I was so inspired by bitcoin -- it was a true innovation, an invention (on the scale of a Nobel prize for Satoshi) and became a social movement.
I initially invested in bitcoin, then invested in over 20 companies in the blockchain space -- bridges, roads and tunnels -- think wallets, exchanges, miners, payment processors, software layers, etc. -- that helped me create a mental roadmap on this space back in 2012/2013. More importantly, I met some of the most amazing entrepreneurs in this ecosystem -- folks like CZ at Binance, Ted at Xapo, Charlie at Litecoin, Bobby at BTCC and even my co-founder Jeff Garzik.
My co-founder Jeff is a rare bird -- he worked on the Linix kernel with Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux) -- and worked on the Bitcoin kernel with Satoshi -- these are two of the most important open source projects in history -- so grateful to have him on my team and as my dear friend…
I hosted dinners in every city I traveled to -- about 20-40 people -- that helped me build great relationships and guide my thesis in this space.
I thought Wall Street/institutional investors would have been in crypto more substantially by now -- there is very little institutional money in our space -- the infrastructure to accommodate them, namely custody platforms, is being built however not in the format nor risk tolerance they are comfortable with -- that will change and we will see a lot of money flowing in by the end of this year with 2019 being a breakout year for institutional adoption.
Bianca: You participated in the first ICOs. What are the lessons you learned from those experiences?
Matt: I originally was a bitcoin maximalist -- I was lucky to change that thinking as it would have made me miss other networks like Ethereum, Qtum EOS and many others -- this space is a movie, and not a static picture -- the innovation is rapidly developing and it creates unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.
Another key point is that I am an investor, and not a trader -- so I buy and hold for the most part -- and that discipline has served me well.
Bianca: Compared to bitcoin or ETH, what are some innovations of Metronome?
Matt: From a tech standpoint, Metronome (MET) is an autonomous network -- meaning there is no author or founder influence or control on the code since its launch -- autonomous networks will be some of the most powerful and valuable networks in all of crypto -- they are also very hard to build as we saw first hand with the DAO, which broke ETH in half -- that project was way different, very complicated and poorly built, hence it's fate -- but getting autonomous networks right is in many ways a key part of this decentralized future we are all building and investing in.
The other key tech component is that MET is the world's first cross-chain crypto -- meaning MET is born on Ethereum but will be able to move to any other EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) -- think ETC, QTUM, RSK/BTC, etc. -- like a boxcar on a railroad that you can move to another track -- this creates a new dimension and relationship between the user and MET where you self govern where your MET resides -- we even called our whitepaper an Owner's Manual :-)
I do not think people will be moving their MET around from track to track, but from a longevity and durability standpoint -- it has staying power even if ETH or any other underlying rail goes away in the future (as you can move it).
So we created MET as an expression of many years of watching the crypto space and believed there was room for more innovation.
The other thing that I am proud of is that the proceeds from the auction didn't go to a foundation or a company, they went into code (a smart contract) -- and all that smart contract does is provide liquidity and price support to the MET community through a decentralized exchanger -- all engineered for the benefit of the MET users/community.
Bianca: Talking about the auction, Metronome used the descending price model during Initial Supply. Did you observe a lower auction price (for instance, due to buyers using bots to do last-minute biddings), thus bringing fewer funds to the pool than you had expected?
Matt: The auction raised about $12MM USD in proceeds during the most difficult week in crypto in 7 months -- we are very proud of the fact that the network launched, the system works, and there were no security issues -- the future is incredibly bright for Metronome!
Most other projects raise money and launch several years out -- MET was made alive at launch! -- again, very difficult to build and create these systems -- I am so proud of the team!
Bianca: What are the differences between working at private equity and crypto investment? How do you normally evaluate a blockchain project?
Matt: OMG sooooo different -- private equity (and even traditional venture) and crypto are two different planets.
The common denominator in how you approach people in PE or VC or crypto is people -- you always back people -- no whitepaper or product roadmap is going to build themselves.
We are in the early days, so great people are raising lots of money with just a whitepaper -- pretty soon the bar will be raised to ensure projects have a working product/protocol -- the bar will raised even further to have users and utility and metrics on that network.
With the total crypto market cap of $250 billion, we are still in the stone ages for crypto -- we have a lot of building and adoption ahead of us -- feels like early Internet or early mobile days -- big fun ahead!
Bianca: Vitalik just commented “I definitely hope centralized exchanges go burn in hell.” What’s your take on centralized exchanges such as Bitfinex, Binance, and Fcoin?
Matt: Oh boy, good question -- well I think we are watching the evolution of all of this -- we need certain infrastructure to get from A to B in crypto adoption -- even centralized exchanges and wallets -- they are not for everybody but serve an important purpose and address a market need for folks that have no clue how to manage private keys.
In the exchange space I love watching innovators like CZ and team at Binance -- they created an incredible platform, with a tokenized model that many are trying to emulate -- imitation is the greatest form of flattery ;-) they also have a strategy on how to construct a decentralized exchange.
So if you are not innovating and looking to decentralize, your business model may be at risk in the future -- however decentralized applications like this are hard to build and rely on infrastructure and tech that has not been built or not ready for prime time -- decentralization is a journey.
Bianca: Many governments are tightening on crypto regulations. Where do you think the government policy on crypto can go?
Matt: Historically technology innovation has always outpaced regulations -- we are seeing that play out big time in crypto.
I am inspired by what Singapore, Switzerland, Malta, Barbados and other countries are doing to attract projects and innovation to their boards in our industry.
Lots of jurisdictional arbitrage is playing out -- countries smell the crypto ;-) and want to bring jobs, innovation and investment to their borders.
This happened before with online gaming, hedge funds, etc. -- however with crypto, these networks can be trillion dollar blood vessels of value.
Bianca: Given the current market situation, what suggestions do you have for investors, entrepreneurs, and service providers?
Matt: Never has a technology frontier like crypto had the potential to impact power centers like Wall Street and Silicon Valley -- that is and will continue to be tested with crypto.
MONEY = POWER (old adage)
MONEY = TECHNOLOGY (with crypto)
TECHNOLOGY = POWER (new adage)
Bianca: Any story you can share when you sent bitcoins to Clinton and Branson? What were their attitudes towards crypto and blockchain?
Matt: Several years back bitcoin was so abstract to people outside of our industry -- I used to always keep a physical bitcoin on me to use as a conversation starter -- I love the Kialara physical bitcoins -- they are works of art and exposes a cool reaction when I give them to people -- the physicality always helps in a discussion over dinner or a drink -- gives tangible to the intangible ;-)
I was fortunate to meet some great people and try to open their minds to this new technology frontier -- I gave bitcoin to: Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Steve Wozniak, Robin Wright and many more -- Branson is an inspiration for me in how he conducts business and gives so much back to society and the environment.
Bianca: Last question from the group member: do you think the market value of many digital coins will return to zero?
Matt: My sense is that about 90%+ will go to zero -- I think BTC and ETH will continue to do very well as they are the two "gateway cryptos" for new money (institutions) coming into this ecosystem -- that logic will spread to the top 10-20 large and mid-cap cryptos -- speculative network effects will kick in -- we are still in the investment and speculative phase crypto (like it or not) -- once there is real utility, transactions and throughput, we will see which networks wil remain for the long haul -- the potential here is tens of trillions of value -- we have a long way to go…
Bianca: Before you go, would you like to share your feelings today? Do you have any other words for the ladies in the 499 WeChat Group? :)
Matt: Once more, I am so honored to spend time with you all -- super impressed by the women in this group -- this is the best time to build, invest and be a part of one of the most important societal shifts in history!
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