With new cryptocurrency weaving its way into the marketplace and new Bitcoin tellers popping up around town, more business owners are considering taking online currency as payment. One local business, Apriva, a secure end-to-end wireless transaction and information solutions company, announced today a partnership with GoCoin to process digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin for their 1000 plus channel partners.
Brian Sadowski, Senior Vice President of Information Technology, tells me that Apriva is looking at alternative payment types that are gaining traction with younger consumers. “Digital currency is the more popular form emerging, particularly with a younger, more tech-savvy generation. One of our core tenets is enabling our channels with the ability to offer their merchants a wide variety of payment acceptance by connecting to our gateway and having Apriva manage the security and complexity of the transaction. It’s no longer just about credit, debit and gift cards,” he said.
Sadowski shares that Apriva’s strategy to offer digital currency comes down to convenience for consumers shopping via mobile and appealing to the need for privacy. “Digital currency users appreciate not having their personal information exposed when paying for goods and services, which is an increasing concern given the pace of large breach activity we’ve seen in the past 18 to 24 months,” he explains. “From a convenience perspective, activity continues to migrate towards mobile form factors which eliminate the need for carrying payment instruments other than a mobile phone.
Merchants are getting in on the trend and Sadowski said companies are motivated by the reduction in processing fees for these transactions. “Traditional credit/debit card fees, as well as recurring fees for compliance, chargebacks, etc., can make a serious dent in a merchant’s profitability. The fees associated with digital currency are considerably less if there are consumers wishing to pay with these forms, the shift can be pretty compelling.”
But how many customers are really using Bitcoin? According to a report by Forbes, “There are now around 65,000 Bitcoin transactions a day currently, and 13 million Bitcoins are in circulation globally. (That converts to about $8 billion at a recent USD/BTC exchange rate of $589/BTC),” with China having the most transactions. As for teller machines, Coin Desk shows a growth in ATMs with the U.S. having 19 and leading globally with 40 percent of the share; over half of the machines are found at restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores.
In Arizona, we had one Bitcoin ATM in Tucson (unfortunately it caught on fire). As for businesses accepting Bitcoin, there are a few in the Valley, and Sadowski said Apriva is looking to their local partners and GoCoin to boost Bitcoin usage.
Related: BitCoin market in Arizona
“The value we bring is the ability to expand that beyond Bitcoin into other digital currencies that are gaining adoption at the consumer level,” Sadowski said.