From 2019 to 2022, our Miami store saw a continuous increase in crypto transactions...and we're not alone! Payments with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are becoming more and more mainstream. On a 2018 YouTube video, we collaborated with Austin Doyle of Crypto Playhouse (one of the top crypto influencers on Instagram at the time) to explain how we as a merchant use BitPay to accept crypto (we also accept direct wallet-to-wallet transactions in stablecoins like USDC and USDT as well). If you ever want to use a major cryptocurrency to buy a watch or piece of jewelry from us, please let us know and we'll send you the proper invoice to get started.
Since Bitcoin came into existing in 2009, this has been an ongoing theme. In fact, something really funny happened on on November 14th, 2018, the day we released the video mentioned above... Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market tanked! Our timing was perfect. LOL Even though the video simply covers the use of crypto as a viable payment source, we received numerous comments and emails from irate viewers because of it. Some were downright insulting! "How could you guys ruin your reputation promoting crypto?" "You guys must have lost so much money now that you got paid in Bitcoin!" "Crypto is dead. You guys should stick to watches!" And the list goes on an on!
People, for the love of God, understand this: the video was meant to show how we can now accept crypto as payment for watches. That doesn't mean we're recommending Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of the major cryptos as an investment. This is not investment advice. Far from it! Furthermore, given that the mark-ups on our watches are so low, we cannot afford to hold crypto once a client uses it pay (unless they pay in a top stablecoin like USDT or USDC, which basically trade in parity or 1-to-1 with the US Dollar). That is the reason why our payment provider (BitPay) initiates an auto conversion to Fiat (a bad word for crypto purists) immediately after each payment is made in a non-stablecoin. Consequently, we don't lose money on actual transactions like the one shown on the video (where Austin bought a black dial Submariner with Bitcoin). The funds are automatically converted to USD, then sent by BitPay within 24 hours to our bank account.
Fast-forward to 2021 when the price of Bitcoin reached a nosebleed high of over $68,000 a coin, a quantum leap from the close on 11/14/2018 of $5,648.03 (reported by CoinMarketCap). The huge surge in price increased our payments in crypto dramatically. In fact, we saw almost 10% of our entire sales come from cryptocurrency payments!
Being an extremely volatile market for the most part, by January 2022 Bitcoin saw a big price drop that erased almost all of its 2021 gains. Since that time, BTC and other cryptos embarked on a brutal bear market, along with stock markets around the world. This caused payments in crypto for luxury items to drop significantly as a result.
Despite the ongoing bear market and the number of people who continue to cheer on the demise of these digital coins, our crypto payments in 2022 are still higher than what they were in 2019-2020. Furthermore, we continue to see more adoption from customers wanting to buy luxury watches and jewelry from us. Sometimes they pay with BTC, sometimes ETH, sometimes in a stablecoin...but regardless of their choice of crypto, the speed, efficiency, and low cost associated with the transactions relative to traditional banking and credit card payment alternatives means that we'll continue to accept cryptocurrency payments for many years to come.
"Bitcoin, if anything, is even safer [than traditional payments] because not only are you transacting on the blockchain, which is secure, but when you're going back and forth...you know who that person is and it's confirm-able on the blockchain not just for you, but anyone else that wants to confirm that, they can go, they can take that transaction ID, check it out, bam! Right there!"
Because of the security and immutability of the blockchain, as Austin explains, crypto payments are actually safe and verifiable, something that's not possible with cash, which is typically what is used for "sketchy" purposes. Payments in crypto are also irreversible, which means that merchants can rest assured that a power-hungry bank cannot reverse their wire transfer payment one week later without any explanation (yes, this happens quite a lot with banks!).
Back when we released our video, we were able to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) only because those were the two coins that BitPay offered. Now, through a variety of compatible wallets, you're able to buy watches with a lot more major cryptos, like Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), as well as USD-pegged stablecoins, like GUSD, USDC, PAX and BUSD. If your country is not on Bitpay's approved list or you would like to pay with a stablecoin like Tether (USDT), which Bitpay doesn't offer, we can also facilitate a wallet-to-wallet transaction for you, as long as all AML (anti-money-laundering) and KYC (know-your-customer) requirements are met.