Mobile Gift Card App Gyft Partners With BitPay To Start Accepting Bitcoin Payments In Its Android App

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Mobile, Technology
Tags: , , ,

If you’re sitting on a bunch of bitcoins that are burning
a hole in your digital wallet, you now have another
way to spend them. Today, mobile gift card company
Gyft has partnered with BitPay, to start accepting
bitcoin within its app. This is a big partnership for both, as BitPay’s CEO,
Tony Gallippi, says that the company currently
processes $5M per month in bitcoin transactions for
its merchants. Gyft allows you to purchase gift cards
at over 50,000 retail locations in the US, including:
Brookstone, Lowes, GAP, Sephora, Gamestop, American Eagle, Nike, Marriott, Burger King and
Fandango. So, technically, you’ll now be able to use
bitcoin to pay for a Whopper. That’s progress, right? The new bitcoin payment option is only available on
the Android version of Gyft, but is as easy as
choosing your choice of payment once you’ve chosen
the gift card that you want to buy. Simply pick bitcoin
and then use your wallet to pay for it. This obviously means more purchase activity within
Gyft, as well as setting itself up for the future, in case
bitcoin were to go mainstream: “Gyft is proud to be a
pioneer in the bitcoin universe and we are excited
about the possibilities for further innovation on our
platform,” shared Vinny Lingham, Gyft’s CEO. I spoke with Gallippi about BitPay’s role in the future
of bitcoin, and how long it might take consumers to
jump on the train: TC: Are these the types of deals that you’re focused on now, to make bitcoin mainstream? Will there be
more like the Gyft announcement coming? Gallippi: We are looking for ways to increase business acceptance of bitcoin. Most retail point-of-
sale systems are legacy, and so integrating bitcoin
would take some effort. However, if we can easily
convert bitcoin into a tender the business can already
accept, that will help drive bitcoin adoption more
quickly. TC: How long do you suspect it will take until the average consumer gets educated on bitcoin and uses
it? Gallippi: Bitcoin is hard to use today, and that’s a good thing. There are still bugs and it is too risky for
the average consumer. The infrastructure of bitcoin
cannot handle hundreds of millions of users at this
time, so a gradual adoption is better. TC: What are some of the hurdles that stand in the way of mainstream bitcoin usage? Gallippi: It still is difficult to purchase bitcoins. This would be easier if banks were more accommodative
to let people choose what do to with their own money.
Bitcoin is voluntary, you don’t have to use it if you
don’t want to. TC: Since this lets you convert into a gift card, how long do you think it will take to be able to make direct
purchases using bitcoin? Gallippi: Most businesses payments systems are legacy, so adapting new technology to all of these
systems will take time. Ecommerce will adopt new
direct bitcoin payments faster than retail, since
ecommerce already has payment gateways in place
for software-only payments. TC: How do you feel about the recent stories of DDOS attacks that have affected bitcoin and how
that’s perhaps scared some people away from the
currency? Gallippi: Bitcoin companies suffer from DDOS like all banks do. However consumers actually are
inconvenienced less with a bitcoin wallet ddos. With
your online banking, if your bank is down, you cannot
access your money. However with bitcoin, if you are
in control of your private keys, if the wallet you use is
down, you can upload your backup into a different wallet that is up, and have immediate access to your
funds. That is possible with bitcoin, but not possible
with any other type of traditional bank. ———– The fact that it’s Android-only shows that we’re still a
long ways off for bitcoin in the mainstream, as it’s
going to take a lot for Apple to one day accept any
type of wallet integration into its own apps. For bitcoin, this is a big step forward, as real goods
and services can now be purchased using them, even
if it’s relying on a gift card as the middle man.

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