One of the major issues preventing Bitcoin from reaching critical mass is that the majority of its users are buying and selling it as a speculative asset and not using it for what it is designed to do: facilitate transfers of wealth in a nearly frictionless and nearly instantaneous way.
The most straight forward way to encourage users to actually spend their bitcoins on products is by increasing the number of merchants accepting bitcoin for payments. We know about Overstock, Tigerdirect and the various local businesses that are accepting Bitcoin, and now Reeds Jewelers is joining the list
. The company has partnered with Coinbase to accept bitcoin payments both online and at its 64 retail outlets.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Mitch Cahn, marketing director for Reeds, stated:
“There are a lot of people out there that have bitcoin. And they are looking for ways to convert it into other things. We want to be able to provide that as a service.”
While it isn't the most exciting news in the Bitcoin world, it is significant to see one of the most respected companies in its field moving to accept Bitcoin not only online, but in its brick-and-mortar locations as well.
, it is worth pointing out, claims to be one of the more forward looking national jewelers technology-wise. The franchise launched its first website back in 1998, when such a thing wasn't an absolute necessity. Now it is the first major jeweler to accept Bitcoin payments at all its retail locations, to which Cahn added:
“We see a trend, obviously we’re not the only retailer to do this by far. It’s not extremely difficult to implement. It wasn’t a huge undertaking.”
If the Bitcoin community wants the currency to move away from being used as a speculative asset and become the decentralized and uncontrolled currency it is designed to be, increased merchant acceptance will have to play a big part in that. Technology and service innovations will help move the currency forward, but until it can be used in a comparable number of places to credit and debit cards, it won't directly challenge fiat currencies.
But we can now buy jewelery from a major national franchise, so we can check that one off the list.