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Understanding Cryptocurrency Payments for Retailers

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Electronic payments started just over 20 years ago, with the widespread adoption of the internet, right? Wrong. Electronic fund transfers, by definition, began via wire transfers as far back as 1871 with Western Union. However, as technology has sped up (and considerably so), consumers have been more willing to adopt new payment technologies, including more recent apps like PayPal and Venmo. As technology has caught up, ensuring security, speed, accuracy, and, in some cases, lower transaction costs or other savings, consumers seem more willing to look for additional ways to complete transactions. In fact, in the past year alone, more retailers and more consumers are looking for ways to facilitate cryptocurrency payments.

Additionally, with the arrival of COVID-19 and consumers seeking out more options for contactless payment options and shifting purchasing to online stores, cryptocurrency payments are, finally, getting some very real attention and wider adoption by consumers and retailers alike.

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Which Consumers Use Crypto for Commerce?

At this point, we understand quite a bit about who is using cryptocurrency vs. who is investing in it. While there is some deviation between the two demographics, we’ll stick to commerce for now.
First, it depends on where in the world you are. For example, as of 2021, the adoption of cryptocurrencies was led by India, followed by the United States, then Nigeria with others trailing after at a fraction of the top 3.
If we break those demographics down further, users are largely male, millennials, or Gen Z, with higher education and an annual income of $100k or more. In fact, Forbes identified crypto “super users” as young men, 18-29, though their research suggests income level is less of a factor in adoption. Additional research from 2020 suggests that of those early crypto adopters who are spending their crypto, rather than reserving it as investment, are using it on entertainment, dining, and non-essential expenses.
So, what can we take from that? In essence, cryptocurrencies are being used by highly sought-after consumers, at an age when they are starting to establish brand loyalty and who are more willing than others to adopt alternative payment methods.

What are Cryptocurrency Payments and Cryptocurrency Gateways?

Cryptocurrency payments are the actual transactions for goods or services that utilize crypto as the payment method.
Cryptocurrency payment gateways are the processors that make those transactions possible. 

When customers swipe or tap a credit card, the information goes to a payment processor who handles the transaction, ensures it processes and that the transfer of funds occurs. Cryptocurrency payment gateways are managed by processors who do the same and enable retailers to convert that cryptocurrency into fiat or government-issued legal tender.

Who Accepts Cryptocurrency Payments?

For most people who aren’t currently participating in crypto exchanges, cryptocurrencies have long been seen solely as an investment rather than as a way to shop. Spending crypto, however, is easier than you might think and many big retailers are accepting cryptocurrencies and tokens as payment. 

While a good number of early adopters on the retail side have been tech companies, including several VPNs, and e-commerce companies that exist solely online, like travel company Expedia and online retailer Overstock, we’re reaching a tipping point of more stores, both online and brick and mortar, seeing the value in accepting crypto payments.

Some of the major retailers/companies who currently accept crypto include:

PayPal
AT & T
Starbucks
Apple
MicrosoftTwitch
Amazon
Etsy
Rakuten
Home Depot
Whole Foods
CheapAir
Travela
NewEgg
Subway*
Quiznos*
Burger King*
Pizza Hut*

** these businesses accept cryptocurrencies in limited locations and countries

As more and more consumers start adopting cryptocurrency as a payment method, the number of retailers is expected to grow. In fact, recent volume increases on crypto exchanges are tied to interest by retailers in beginning to accept cryptocurrency for transactions. That means it’s an exciting time as consumers and crypto investors are looking forward to a time when using cryptocurrencies in retail spaces is no different than using a credit card.

How Do Retailers Accept Cryptocurrency Payments?

For many retailers, the idea of introducing new technology to points of sale or registers, or adding new technology to websites can be daunting. However, many cryptocurrencies provide payment gateways that seamlessly integrate with point-of-sale applications.

One method of accepting cryptocurrency includes integrating a QR scanner with your existing system. Many payment processors and point-of-sale systems already include QR code enablement due to the popularity of scan-to-pay, especially with increases in demand for contactless payment methods.

The other primary method is to utilize an app on either iPhone or tablet that is connected directly to a cryptocurrency payment gateway. In this case, you’d choose your processor in the same way that you’d choose a credit card processor, so look for one with great reliability and low transaction costs.

In short, with more widespread adoption even more, options will become available making these transactions simple and seamless for consumers and retailers alike.


If you’re ready to add a cryptocurrency payment gateway to your retail business, and looking for a responsive team, the lowest transaction fees, customer rewards, and more, then get in touch with the PayBolt team. We’re ready to help you leverage the cryptocurrency consumer space to work for your store and help you step into the future of payment processing.

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