It's official- Bitcoin has navigated its way into the outdoors. Over the weekend, Mountains Plus announced they will be the first outdoor retailer to accept the digital currency as a form of payment. The company hopes this will attract the more tech savvy consumer that is looking to purchase high-tech products like GoPro cameras, cycling trainers, and other expensive gadgets.
For those not quite au fait with Bitcoin, it is a new digital currency that was created in 2009. Transactions are from person to person with no middle men – meaning, no banks. There are no transaction fees and no need to even give your real name – just a wallet ID. More and more merchants are now beginning to accept Bitcoin.
Bitcoins are kept in a digital wallet that is stored either in the cloud or on your computer. The wallet is a kind of virtual bank account that allows you to send or receive Bitcoins from other people, pay for goods, or save up in the hopes the value will eventually rise. Unlike bank accounts, Bitcoin markets are mostly unregulated and uninsured.
Small to medium sized businesses like Mountains Plus may appreciate Bitcoin because there are no credit card fees, meaning the retailer makes a larger profit off any sale when you pay with Bitcoin. The risk here is the rapidly fluctuating value of the currency- you could pay for that new $450 Big Agnes tent with one Bitcoin, only for the value of that coin to drop to $300 the next day or even the next minute.
The Bitcoin market has recently been behaving in a way that does not exactly instill confidence in the currency’s value. Most likely, Mountains Plus and other retailers will immediately convert Bitcoin into cash, at least until the market fluctuates less frequently.
Any of you out there regularly pay with Bitcoin? Would you like to see more outdoor retailers come on board?