While Bitcoin (BTC) may be considered as a store of value for many, some consumers across the globe may be thinking otherwise. Recent data has revealed that 46 million people in the United States plan to use cryptocurrency to pay for things such as groceries or real estate. Payments giant Visa further revealed in July that its crypto-enabled cards processed over $1 billion in total spending during the first half of this year.
As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that major brands like Starbucks, Home Depot and Target have started putting Bitcoin on their balance sheets. Yet, as crypto payments gain popularity and become easier to incorporate, smaller brands — specifically those geared toward women — are starting to accept crypto to help drive female adoption.
Beauty industry bets on Bitcoin
For example, the billion-dollar beauty industry has taken a recent interest in Bitcoin. Ann McFerran, CEO and founder of Glamnetic — a magnetic eyelash beauty brand — told Cointelegraph that the company now accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE) through a recent partnership with Bitcoin payment provider BitPay. According to McFerran, Glamentic is one of the very first female-founded beauty brands to support crypto payments.
McFerran shared that she started investing in cryptocurrencies in 2017, yet noticed that the space was heavily male-dominated. To McFerran’s point, research firm BDC Consulting found that only 8% of all crypto users were women in 2019. After launching Glamentic in July 2019, McFerran was determined to incorporate crypto payments into the brand to encourage women to use cryptocurrency:
“The beauty industry is a sector where crypto payments aren’t widely accepted. I wanted Glamnetic to be one of the first brands to support crypto payments since I’m a huge believer in cryptocurrency and because I want to bring more women into the space.”
McFerran further mentioned that she believes there is still a lot of stigma associated with how crypto is being used today. “It was certainly not a secure payment method to begin with,” she remarked. McFerran noted that events such as Silk Road and Mt. Gox have further resulted in women’s disinterest in crypto: “Even to this day, women are not fully educated when it comes to crypto. I want to educate others so they can understand the risks and what they are potentially missing out on."
Although transacting with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for beauty products may encourage women to become interested in cryptocurrencies, this is just one part of the equation. Sanja Kon, CEO of Utrust — a banking system for crypto payments — told Cointelegraph that educating women around crypto depends heavily on a brand’s ability to reach their consumer base with the correct educational tools:
“More beauty brands adopting cryptocurrency payments can increase awareness, but not necessarily usage. Women need to feel comfortable using cryptocurrency as a payment method. In order for that to happen, brands should provide support and educational content to advocate adoption.”
According to Kon, Utrust is facilitating this movement by investing resources into educational plans with the company’s merchants. McFerran also noted that Glamnetic has started creating TikTok videos to educate consumers on cryptocurrency, which can make a big impact given the notion that younger consumers are more likely to own crypto. PYMNTS.com found that 27% of all millennials either own or have owned one type of cryptocurrency.
McFerran further remarked that Glamnetic will be releasing a magnetic eyelash collection inspired by Dogecoin to help drive adoption: “I think people will be more open to the idea of crypto if you turn that concept into an entire beauty product.”
While Glamnetic may be one of the first female-founded beauty companies to accept crypto payments, a handful of larger cosmetic brands have also started incorporating crypto in other ways to drive female participation.
Aubrey Strobel, head of communications at Lolli — an online Bitcoin rewards platform — told Cointelegraph that the company works with leading retailers including Sephora, Ulta, EM Cosmetics and Glossier. According to Strobel, women make up 30% of Lolli’s user base. “Historically, women have lagged behind men in the space, but lead a vast majority of many households’ purchasing decisions,” Strobel said.
Strobel explained that companies offering Bitcoin rewards to consumers are attractive to many shoppers, especially women who want to “stack sats” when making purchases online.
This notion is highlighted in a recent report from The Defiant, titled “Global Report on Women, Cryptocurrency and Financial Independence.” In this document, a woman named Christine noted that she occasionally learns how to manage cryptocurrency by practicing with small transactions. She stated that she has been stacking sats to accumulate small amounts of Bitcoin over a long period of time. “When I travel, I like to buy coffee and other things with it,” Christine further remarked.
Will Bitcoin catch on in the beauty industry?
While it’s too soon to tell if crypto payments for beauty products will drive female participation within crypto, a small impact is already being exhibited. McFerran shared that Glamnetic has already processed a handful of crypto transactions from women consumers. Yuvi Alpert, founder and CEO of Noémie — a jewelry company that also recently incorporated crypto payments — also told Cointelegraph that the brand has currently only seen crypto sales with their female customers.
Although this may be the case, findings show that the top products females are likely to spend cryptocurrency on are travel and leisure, real estate and furniture or appliances. Yet, while crypto payments may be slow to catch on in the beauty industry, brands incorporating cryptocurrency transactions will likely gain a competitive advantage.
According to Kon, more brands, in general, are starting to understand the advantage of accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method:
“They will be able to drastically reduce their payment processing fees, as blockchain allows to cut all the traditional intermediaries, such as banks, payment processors and credit card schemes. Additionally, these brands will be able to eliminate chargebacks and fraud, as well as increase their revenue by reaching out to new customers.”