[CNBC, Getty Images]
Nearly 75% of retailers plan to accept either cryptocurrency or stablecoin payments within the next two years, according to a June survey conducted by Deloitte titled “Merchants getting ready for crypto.”
Deloitte polled a sample of 2,000 senior executives from the retail industry who represent a range of subsectors including cosmetics, electronics, fashion, transportation, food and beverage.
While digital currencies like Bitcoin are typically only as valuable as users believe them to be, a stablecoin is a type of cryptocurrency that derives its value from an underlying asset. Stablecoins are often pegged to currencies such as the U.S. dollar or a commodity such as gold.
Although paying with cryptocurrency is fairly novel now, 83% of retailers expect consumer interest in digital currencies to increase over the next year and a little over half of them have invested over $1 million into enabling digital payments, according to the survey.
For consumers, that means you could soon buy clothes, drinks, beauty products and more with crypto.
Although retailers are planning to accept digital currency as payments, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily planning to hold on to the virtual assets.
Just over 50% of respondents plan to have third-party payment processors convert digital currency into fiat, which is money that is established as legal tender by a government, like the U.S. dollar, the British pound and the euro. This means the retailers aren’t planning to actually own the cryptocurrency that’s used for payment.
Given the unpredictability of the crypto market, using this strategy is considered to be less risky for retailers than holding the crypto themselves. This approach also makes it faster and easier for retailers to enable payments with digital currencies, Deloitte reports.
Crypto-curious retailers recognize that there are a number of challenges to overcome in order to enable payments with digital currencies. Nearly 90% cited the complexity of making their existing financial infrastructure compatible with various digital currencies as their greatest challenge.
Additionally, security of the payment platforms topped the list of barriers to adoption, the survey revealed, followed by concerns about the changing regulatory landscape and the instability of the digital currency market.
More than half of retailers agreed that certain regulations regarding cryptocurrency need to be enacted, including national guidance around holding digital assets, clarity about the tax implications of using digital currencies and the ability to hold digital currencies in a bank account.
Despite their worries, retailers remain optimistic about the benefits of enabling payments with cryptocurrencies. Nearly half of retailers believe this move will improve customer experience and increase their customer base.
“We anticipate that further partnerships with regulated and established institutions in the industry will help deliver the benefits of digital currencies (e.g., convenience and support) and will continue to build the necessary foundation of trust,” the report concludes.
While the ability to pay with crypto may be good news for some crypto users, it’s still important to remember that these assets can be highly volatile, and experts typically recommend only investing as much money as you are prepared to lose.