Proponents of Bitcoin, the popular digital currency, frequently run into at least two problems when attempting to translate Bitcoin use into real-world shopping and payments. First, Bitcoin requires the use of a separate wallet or managing service in order to act as a mediator of sorts for purchases made; and second, many of the most popular online retailers do not accept Bitcoin payments. Amazon.com (AMZN), the online commerce titan, has long been one of the sites that has yet to incorporate Bitcoin functionality into its payment systems. Now, though, a new version of the famous Purse.io app, which acts to facilitate Bitcoin transactions of many kinds, will help a customer base in the billions be able to utilize Bitcoin for Amazon.com purchases for the first time ever.
How it Works
Purse.io acts as a mediator in Bitcoin transactions. The app works to connect customers holding Bitcoin with gift card holders, and in so doing allows Bitcoin users without a bank account, credit card, or other items typically required to be able to shop online to do so. When a customer browsing on the Purse app makes a purchase, Purse acts as an escrow until the transaction has been completed, saving both the buyers and sellers from weighty transaction or conversion fees. This has often been done in the past on Purse’s own marketplace, which allows for direct interactions between merchants and customers.
Purse also facilitates similar transactions on Amazon by matching up buyers with prior gift card holders. The shopper selects the products he or she wants from Amazon, saving them to a Purse wishlist and viewing a series of discounts. Gift card holders view the orders and use their cards to purchase them. Because many gift cards are unredeemable for many items, gift card holders are often looking for ways to unload their gift cards for other forms of currency. In this case, the gift card holder will receive the customer’s Bitcoin, and the buyer will receive the item.
Benefits of Purse
Beyond the opportunity to rid oneself of gift cards that are otherwise unusable, Purse offers a number of potential benefits. There is the limitation on transaction and conversion fees, but there is also the incentive to incorporate Purse discounts into the transaction process, saving buyers money off of the listed Amazon price for many items.
While Amazon does not yet incorporate Bitcoin into its regular platform, Purse will no doubt offer Bitcoin users some optimism as to the digital currency’s usefulness in the broader public market. Many other retailers have experimented with Bitcoin successfully, including Overstock.com, OpenBazaar, and more. Amazon has resisted Bitcoin because of volatility and difficulties with refunding Bitcoin purchases.