BitPay exec sees major European merchant adoption "soon"

Home » BitPay exec sees major European merchant adoption "soon"
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Here in the U.S., major businesses like Overstock, TigerDirect, Expedia and DISH are happily adopting bitcoin. While it could be argued that this first-wave adoption is more about free publicity than it is about the future of payments, it does beg a question: If bitcoin is a global phenomenon, why are all the major merchant adopters in the U.S.? Where are all the European merchants?

In an interview with CoinDesk, BitPay’s European business development director Moe Levin gave some much-needed perspective on that question. Noting that Europe’s merchant sales cycle is considerably longer than comparable decision-making processes in the U.S., Levin said that the lack of billion-dollar Eurozone companies is mostly due to timing. He said that major BitPay news on the topic was “soon to be announced,” but offered no further clues.

Levin told CoinDesk that bitcoin is also a less-sensational topic in Europe, where modern payment systems like Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) already provide better options than the relatively slow and outdated U.S. banking system. Only 15 years ago, Europe switched from a variety of local currencies to a single currency, the euro, prompting many Europeans to see bitcoin as a worldwide version of the currency they already use. As a result, bitcoin doesn’t have quite the same revolutionary tint as it does in the U.S., but rather a more practical, logistically elegant and lower cost appeal.

“There are not so many big statements from people here, but everyday like clockwork more and more merchants are turning on BitPay’s service, because it isn’t a stretch,” Levin said. “They don’t need to be convinced the same way North Americans do.” Levin said that BitPay is gaining ground, with around 200 new merchants adding their bitcoin payment option every week.

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