One of Switzerland’s most prestigious hotels, a luxury car dealer and a wine merchant will soon start accepting payments in bitcoin.
The trio have signed up to new payments service inapay that allows customers to pay in bitcoin without having to handle cryptocurrencies themselves.
The move follows on from Switzerland’s largest online retailer, Digitec Galaxus, announcing earlier this month that it will accept an array of cryptocurrencies as payment for its goods.
The Dolder Grand hotel in Zurichexternal link, car dealership Kessel Autoexternal link and House of Winesexternal link have now joined the race to attract a new breed of customer dedicated to the decentralised digital currency movement.
Starting in May they will accept bitcoin through the inapay application provided by Zug-based blockchain services company Inactaexternal link. Customers will pay from their bitcoin wallets and the transaction will be sent to Swiss crypto exchange Bity, which will convert the payment to traditional currencies before sending the completed transaction to the recipient company.
“It is my hope that some day an array of small businesses, such as hairdressers, will use inapay to accept cryptocurrency payments from their customers,” Roger Darin, head of blockchain advisory at Inacta, told swissinfo.ch.
“It is aimed at customers who have built up legitimate cryptocurrency holdings and who don’t want to convert them into traditional currencies, such as Swiss francs. This also allows vendors, who may be cautious about handling cryptocurrencies directly, to accept payments from these clients.”
Starting with bitcoin, inapay could expand to incorporate other cryptocurrencies at a later date, Darin added. The new service was presented at the CV Summitexternal link of Swiss blockchain movers and shakers in Zug.
The application could potentially bridge a gaping chasm between the worlds of crypto and traditional currencies in the retail sector. This would allow the likes of bitcoin to be freely used as a payment method alongside Swiss francs, moving the cryptocurrency from a largely speculative investment vehicle to a genuine medium of exchange.