High-value transactions for luxury goods and services had never occurred in the cryptocurrency space.
All that changed however when Fast Private Jet conducted the single largest cryptocurrency luxury transaction in the world recently for a private jet flight which was paid through BitPay’s payment interface.
E-Crypto News reached out to Merrick Theobald, Vice-President of Marketing at BitPay. Here is what he had to say.
Merrick Theobald Vice-President of Marketing at BitPay
- What are the implications of the recent private jet flight payment using cryptocurrencies?
While BitPay has handled many large purchases in the past, this is one of the largest to be publicly disclosed by the merchant on record. The fact that this was publicly announced has created tremendous awareness and interest for Fast Private Jet and the suite of products/services they offer.
For BitPay, this announcement further demonstrates that people are using crypto to make purchases both small and large.
It also serves as a great testimonial about how by accepting crypto as a form of payment merchants are not only increasing customer satisfaction but they are reducing payment processing costs and attracting new customers leading to additional sales revenue they might have not seen otherwise.
- Does this mean high net worth individuals have a strategic interest in the cryptospace?
Yes, we believe high net worth individuals do have a strategic interest in the crypto space. We believe this primarily because they understand the benefits to using crypto vs other traditional payment methods such as credit cards, wire or ACH.
Crypto payments are faster, less expensive and just plain easier. Also, crypto payments are processed 24/7/365 so there is never any downtime or banking holidays to observe.
- How will the use of cryptocurrencies for high-value payments affect the adoption of cryptocurrencies?
We believe the use of cryptocurrencies for high-value payments can only increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
High-value purchases tend to generate a lot of awareness and with this increased awareness we will see increased interest in and adoption of all cryptocurrencies.
- Do you think high-value payments will affect cryptocurrency prices? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.
No. We believe there is no direct correlation between high-value payments and cryptocurrency prices.
However, we do believe that the recent surge in cryptocurrency prices are because crypto is becoming more mainstream and this is partly being driven by the increased interest in cryptocurrencies by large corporations and the investment community.
- How did the private jet flight payment occur?
BitPay Email Billing was used for this specific transaction. It is a very easy process involving 4 simple steps.
- Fast Private Jet created a bill from the BitPay merchant dashboard and sent to their customer via email
- The customer received the email invoice, completed BitPay ID verification and scanned the QR code to finalize payment
- BitPay converted the crypto to fiat for Fast Private Jet
- BitPay initiated bank settlement with Fast Private Jet
Fast Private Jet recently added the ability to buy gift cards using crypto too. Gift cards start at €5,000 and max out at €20,000.
- How does BitPay enable high-value payments?
BitPay primarily enables high-value payments through BitPay Email Billing. BitPay Email Billing is a simple, turn-key solution that is easy to implement and requires no integration but comes with all of the same benefits as BitPay Online Payments.
- Are we seeing a shift from the use of fiat by high net worth individuals? Why is this trend occurring?
No, we wouldn’t exactly call this a shift from fiat to crypto. We believe many of the high-end purchases we see today are a result of early bitcoin adopters looking to diversify their holdings and taking advantage of the higher bitcoin price.
However, we are seeing crypto being used more for luxury purchases when it comes to the need/desire to purchase something quickly where the longer timeframe required for a wire transfer will not suffice.
- Does this mean that the cryptocurrency space is an alternate universe to the centralized universe?
It’s both an alternative and cooperative. Crypto makes it easier to transact online and internationally. But traditional credit cards and cash still fill a need in society.
- How can businesses become a part of the ongoing cryptocurrency evolution?
The greatest way for businesses to become part of the ongoing cryptocurrency evolution is to participate. If they are selling a product or service they should accept crypto as a payment option.
If they are trying to move money quickly and securely from one country to another they should send crypto. If they want to pay out affiliates, contractors, employees or more they should use crypto as part of the payout mechanism.
If they like the benefits of crypto acceptance and / or crypto payouts but are not interested in buying, holding, managing crypto and its inherent risk or volatility they should partner with a company like BitPay who can relieve them of this burden.
- What are your thoughts on the creation of new stablecoins?
We believe stablecoins provide a lot of benefits to both businesses and consumers alike. Because stablecoins are pegged to another currency or asset they do not have the price volatility typically seen with other crypto coins making them ideal for those who want to buy one day but transact over time.
This lower volatility assures the balance you have today will be the same next week or next month. Stablecoins have also proven to be an easy entry point into crypto for many businesses.
- Are there any other luxury businesses that make use of BitPay as a medium for payment?
Absolutely, we have partnered with many other luxury businesses, across multiple industries, who are using BitPay to accept crypto payments on their behalf.
We are working with other private jet companies, high-end real estate firms, auto dealerships, jewelry stores, bullion/precious metals dealers and even yacht sales to name a few.
- How easy is it to have high net worth individuals key into new technologies like cryptocurrencies? Are they more receptive to new trends and tools than regular folk? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.
One could say high net worth individuals display a higher tendency for risk simply because they can absorb more risk, but we don’t necessarily believe high net worth individuals are any more likely to participate in cryptocurrency than anyone else.
We believe other demographics play a more important role in determining receptivity to new trends and tools than wealth.
Typically, we have seen men between the ages of 18 and 34 to be more of the crypto enthusiasts.
They tend to understand and adapt to new technologies first. As more tools, like BitPay, are built upon the blockchain to make it easier to use, we expect men over 34 and women to become more active in the space.
- How far do you think luxury brands and services will go in their new romance with cryptocurrencies? Why are luxury brands and services suddenly interested in cryptocurrencies?
Luxury brands/services are constantly evolving as they strive to differentiate themselves from one another.
Some have already started to offer specific promotions and/or discounts if you pay with crypto. However, there is no telling how far they might go. We believe they will go as far as their imagination takes them.
Luxury brands/services are seeing the benefits to accepting crypto that top e-commerce merchants have known about for some time. Accepting crypto attracts new customers, doubles average order values (AOV), eliminates chargebacks and lowers fees.
- What will it take to have luxury brands and services become a mainstay within the cryptospace?
It takes just one or two companies to jump onboard and then the others will follow. Once this happens (we believe we are at this inflection point for some luxury goods segments) crypto payments become a mainstay within luxury brands / services.
- Where do you see the current romance between these (luxury brands and services) and cryptocurrencies in the next decade?
What we are seeing now are the early adopters (luxury brands and services) accepting crypto payments and we expect in the next decade (probably much less) we are going to see this move from nice-to-have to must-have.
Including crypto payments will be as widely accepted as cash or credit cards.
- What’s the next big thing for (luxury brands and services) and cryptocurrencies?
With bitcoin’s total value surpassing $1 trillion and the total value of all cryptocurrencies nearing $2 trillion we feel high-value purchases have just reached the tip of the iceberg. Because of this we expect more luxury brands / services to start accepting crypto payments.
Just recently, U.S. luxury hotel firm The Kessler Collection announced they have started to accept crypto payments. I would expect to see more luxury hotel firms to follow in their footsteps.
Likewise, you can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin. I would expect other auto manufacturers (small and large) to follow.
It isn’t easy blazing a new path but once you have one company doing it you can expect more to jump onboard or risk losing out on the 3rd largest currency in the world.
Lastly, I can see cryptocurrencies going much higher. This time I’m not talking about market cap. Who will be the 1st to purchase a seat on a space flight using crypto?
- If you had to guess BitPay’s role in enabling global cryptocurrency adoption, what will your guess be?
BitPay sees merchant and consumer adoption will continue to accelerate and more and more businesses and consumers will turn to bitcoin and other cryptos as a means of commerce and for transacting.
BitPay plans to continue to develop features and services to eliminate transaction fraud, reduce the cost of payment processing, and enable borderless payments in cryptocurrency.