In a major milestone for bitcoin adoption, the ‘Amazon’ of Switzerland, Digitec-Galaxus, is now accepting bitcoin and other select cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.

‘WE WANTED TO DO THIS FOR A LONG TIME’
Swiss customers of Digitec and Galaxus can now pay with bitcoin $4062.80 +0.44% when shopping online. In addition to BTC, other altcoins that will be accepted include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Cash SV (BSV), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), TRON (TRX), OmiseGo (OMG), and NEO (NEO).

“Cryptocurrencies are fascinating and could become a relevant means of payment in e-commerce. We would like to support this development,” says Digitec co-founder Oliver Herren and Chief Innovation Officer. “We wanted to do that for a long time, but the effort was too long for a long time.”

When asked why his company is willing to accept these alternative means of payments, Herren explained:

Because you have some and you want to use them. Or because you cannot turn them into real money because your bank does not accept it. Or maybe just because your can and like to try new things.

The company admits, however, that it is mainly doing this to score points with the younger, tech-savvy crowd by positioning itself as a forward-thinking company.

At the same time, price volatility will not be a problem, the company says. All transactions are processed by third-party payment processor Coinify and immediately converted to Swiss francs.

However, the new payment option will only be available for Swiss customers first. If the initiative becomes a success, though, the company will extend the option to German customers as well.

The procedure is pretty straightfoward. At checkout, the customer will choose the payment option “cryptocurrencies.” They will then be redirected to the Coinify website where the specific crypto coin is selected.

The given exchange rate will be fixed for 15 minutes and the page will display an address as well as a QR-code, to which the user will send the payment.

While Digitec Galaxus will not charge any fees for cryptocurrency payments, Coinify will charge conversion fee of 1.5 percent of the purchase amount.

OTHER SWISS RETAILERS LIKELY TO FOLLOW
Now, with the online retail market leader taking such a bold step, it’s likely that its competitors will follow suit, particularly in a country where bitcoin adoption has gained a foothold.

In fact, Switzerlad has been a hotbed for bitcoin adoption and the blockchain industry. It regularly hosts cryptocurrency events and its stock exchange has rolled out cryptocurrency-tied products such as a Bitcoin ETP.

The country is also home to many crypto startups who have found a home in the Swiss city of Zug, also known as ‘Crypto valley.’ What’s more, residents of the city can even pay for municipal services in bitcoin.

Even train tickets for the country’s Fedral railway system can be bought for bitcoin at every station kiosk.

Unlike, the train ticket initiative however, which was criticized in media reports as expensive and opaque, Digitec Galaxus says its payment process will be easier and more transparent.

When you buy something from Digitec or Galaxus, the rate will be fixed for 15 minutes. This means that as a buyer you do not have to fear bad surprises, says the company.

BY ALLEN SCOTT