Breaking news from Consensus 2019 – Gemini, the ‘next generation digital asset platform’ founded by the Winklevoss twins, has announced the high-profile partnership rollout of its mainstream cryptocurrency payment rails.
Partnering with Flexa, a crypto-payment-rail startup, high-profile agreements include Whole Foods, Starbucks, Nordstrom and thousands of other US retailer. By utilizing the digital scanners used by many big retailers to accept phone-based payments from customers apps and digital wallets (like Apple Pay) Flexa has persuaded retailers to configure their scanners to recognize payment from its cryptocurrency app – Spedn.
Speculators will be quick to realise that Whole Foods is now owned by all-consuming monolith Amazon. Even more excitingly for adopters, the store cashier won’t even have to be aware that the customer is paying with crypto – with the merchant able to receive real-time payments in the form of cryptocurrency or dollars.
This type of background, payment-rail adoption is considered by many to be the holy grail of mass-consumer uptake, and could pave the way to global use.
Although some early adopters will decree that this is not the first instance of low-friction cryptocurrency consumer payments, the rest of the world will rightly recognise that, well, is. The Spedn Flexa app currently allows users to spend four types of crypto: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash (ABC) Ethereum and Gemini’s own stablecoin, called the Gemini Dollar. The app automatically adjusts the amount of crypto needed in order to complete the required retail purchase.
Cleverly offering backwards compatibility with existing merchant scanners, whilst offering lower commission fees on existing payment networks (and even new types of blockchain-based customer rewards) ensures a win-win for both store and consumer.
Will Visa and other legacy payment rails be worried? We’ll have to wait until the end of Consensus 2019 to see if there are any more world-changing announcements.