Will consumers pay merchants with bitcoin? The Uber-Xapo collaboration & more!


In Argentina, credit and debit cards operators were blocked when used by consumers to make Uber payments.

Xapo, partnered with Uber and advertised that users could use its bitcoin debit card to pay with plastic once more.

Any more examples?


I believe the founder of Xapo is originally from Argentina so I assume he understands real needs in that country.


I don’t think bitcoin will ever get to mass adoption for everyday payments. My gut feeling tells me that this is more of a behavioral challenge on the part of the consumer and merchant, than a technical challenge of a merchant accepting bitcoin payments (I guess there are already many online outlets doing so, and in Amsterdam plenty of brick&mortar places accept bitcoin to buy say a pizza or a coke). For the average consumer it might be tricky to get the notion of how much they are paying, they would probably calculate back to a currency they’re familiar with. E.g. the consumer needs some kind of anchor in their minds to determine the amount of value they are parting with in exchange for whatever product or service they are buying. Bitcoin being so volatile and high value per single unit doesn’t really help (say you end up having to pay someone 0.008 bitcoin now, and 0.009 bitcoin in 15 minutes, that doesn’t make it easy for most small payments)
The following is purely anecdotal, but I actually know quite a number of people, and not just pensioners, in Netherlands and other European countries, who still calculate back to their original pre-euro currency when paying something in euros. Mind you, the euro was introduced over 14 years ago! So, I guess it takes some time for the wider population of consumers to get comfortable with a new currency (whether physical or crypto). A solution could be to have the underlying payments infrastructure running on some kind of cryptocurrency/blockchain to keep costs low, while simultaneously providing the end users an easy unit of value (and of account, not unimportant for the merchants when they’re balancing their books!). Put it in another way. when I transfer money to someone else’s bank account, I don’t really care about SWIFT, SEPA, IBAN or whatever mechanism there is that ensures that my money arrives safely. I’m just concerned that the amount I send also ends up on the other end, as fast as possible at the lowest possible cost, regardless of what happens under the bonnet.


Welcome @vvdugteren. Thanks for sharing your insights. I still hear people too converting euros to Greek drachma and French Franc. When I go to Michellin restuarants in France, I myself convert to the French Franc prices that I long for from the 90s!

Lets continue looking examples of consumers using bitcoin to pay merchants and the motivation behind it. You rightly pointed out that it is important to understand why the switch is taking place.


No. BTC-denominated nominal price-volatility is too high. Bitcoin is an inferior means of payment. Every central bank rigorously and vehemently work on NOMINAL PRICE-STABILITY (i.e. 2 percent inflation rate; to stay safely away from deflation, yet to provide trustworthy price-stability).


I agree that BTC as an interim form of currency to convert from one Fiat to another makes no sense. The only way I can see BTC become mainstream is if people get paid directly in BTC and that is why I think Open Bazaar is the one to watch. If I own some BTC cos somebody chose to pay me that way I may choose to pay Uber or whomever in BTC. Today people paying in BTC are mostly miners are early speculators and that is too niche to sustain the whole ecosystem.


A move by Germany: Enercity, Hanover’s municipal utility and service company that provides the region with electricity, gas, district heating and drinking water; will accept Bitcoin for payments of Bills.


The City of Zug accepts payments already in Bitcoin (all porcess managed by Bitcoin Suisse - see more in https://dailyfintech.com/2016/09/16/reporting-from-finance-2-0-crypto16-the-internet-of-value-suing-smart-contracts-and-bitcoin-use-cases/)

And a map of bitcoin the 786 ATMs worlwide can be found here.


Beware of the Swiss move
Swiss Railway ticket booths become Bitcoin ATMs.

Starting Nov 11, we can all Topup our wallets from the SBB ATMs.

For those that dont have a Wallet yet, check out the 12 SBB links - proposed selections (I imagine more will come) and choose your wallet.

Which one do you own and why?

And last but not least, a short (for now) list of Swiss places that you can spend your bitcoin, again by SBB. From a medical clinic, sports place, tatoo, office products etc.

Seems like for now, Adoption is NOT in countries with failing currencies, read here.



@BernardLunn: I appreciate what Open Bazaar is doing, but there is another upon whom I recommend the other eye be kept on, more so. Open Bazaar does directly facilitate the usage of Bitcoin in transactions between consumers and merchants, however desktop only, means it may aid in adoption, but not mainstream in its current guise. When mobile ecommerce traffic is overtaking desktop, when in some countries the most prevalent and for some in those countries the only means to get on the net, engage in ecommerce, etc, is via mobile, then like I said, there is another that has greater potential.

My regards, Ace.


Hi @Ace What service are you referring to? If is is one you have an interest in, just say so. I think Bitcoin for services ie without any physical delivery has potential.


Hello @BernardLunn. I am unable to mention whom for a short period of time. Yes I do have an interest in it. It can be used for digital goods as well as physical goods. My regards, Ace.


Not Uber Italy, but a traditional taxi company is accepting bitcoin payments!
With 3,700 cars in the capital of Italy, answering 30,000 calls a day, and providing more than 10,000,000 taxi services throughout a year, it is the biggest taxi firm in Europe



@Efi Bitcoin seems to have more momentum in South Africa than elsewhere on the African continent, because the momentum of such currencies hard to create. South Africa also has quite established existing financial services, which makes deposits and withdrawals easier, and wide coverage of WiFi and mobile data. South African regulatory bodies are all aware of Bitcoin and how it works and are very progressive in their approach. banks and government bodies in SA to help with Bitcoin education, consumer protection, prevent money laundering/terror financing and to help give insight for eventual formal Bitcoin regulation .
This enables companies like BitX to provide Bitcoin exchange, wallet and storage services.

Blockchain startups, notably Custos Tech that provides digital media privacy and assists with content distribution( http://disrupt-africa.com/2015/07/sa-startup-custos-uses-bitcoin-to-disrupt-digital-piracy/ ). In South Africa, any merchant who accepts credit card or bank payments through PayFast (https://www.payfast.co.za/bitcoin/) can also accept Bitcoin payments. Some of South Africa’s leading online stores, including Takealot.com( http://mybroadband.co.za/news/internet/106487-takealot-com-now-taking-bitcoin.html ) accept it as payment method.South Africa is the centre of such developments to the rest of Africa.


Clients of EY Switzerland can pay with Bitcoin starting in 2017!


First German University in Berlin accepts bitcoin for tuition payments.


@Efi makes sense as Unis go more global.


From Japan the 2016 statistics show an 4+fold increase in merchant adaptation.



More from Germany’s energy sector.
Energy, Auto, and eWallet

"Swiss banking giant UBS bank has partnered with German energy company Innogy and automobile manufacturing company ZF to provide a blockchain-backed Car eWallet that enables charging of electric cars.