A startup called Moon has developed a browser extension that allows users to exchange cryptocurrencies and fiat currency to pay for products on Amazon.
U.S.-based Amazon users can now pay with Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ether. The payment method is not provided by Amazon itself, but by the company Moon, through a desktop browser extension.
Moon says on its website, “We believe that cryptocurrency is the future of money. Our team is building the technologies to bring this future to fruition. We are engineers, builders, and enthusiasts who love Bitcoin and the change it will bring to the world. We hope our efforts drive adoption of cryptocurrency and help educate consumers on the benefits of crypto for payments.”
Moon converts crypto to fiat and tops up the user’s Amazon balance
Moon, a three-person startup from New York, provides a browser extension for Google Chrome, Brave, and Opera. Whenever a user buys products on Amazon, the browser extension will pop up as soon as the user reaches the Amazon checkout page. Moon will then insert the company’s payment widget, which shows the user the amount due in different cryptocurrency options.
Once the user accepts the transaction, Moon will convert the cryptocurrency into cash – without any additional fees – and top up the user’s Amazon account. The payment will then get deducted from the user’s balance.
Users can pay with any Bitcoin wallet that works on the Lightning Network, enabling fast transaction speed. Moon also allows users to pay with their crypto balance in their Coinbase account via the Coinbase API.
While the service is so far only available in the U.S., Moon plans to expand to Canada and Europe. The company also said it wants to offer its browser extension for other e-commerce websites as well.
Crypto adoption won’t happen overnight
Even though Overstock.com and other U.S. e-commerce retailers already allow their customers to pay with cryptocurrencies, online retailers generally have been slow in adopting cryptocurrencies so far. Likewise, Amazon itself does not offer any crypto payment options.
The use case is not that strong at the moment, especially in the case of free-floating currencies like Bitcoin. The volatility of the currency is still way too high to be a feasible means of payment. Stablecoins, cryptocurrencies pegged to a fiat currency, could solve this problem, but they are not being adopted on a large scale by e-commerce retailers either, despite their advantages.
The reality is that it will take a long time for cryptocurrencies to conquer the e-commerce space. It makes little sense to expect retailers to drive crypto adoption. Most retailers won’t offer crypto payment options unless their customers expect it. Why should anyone rock the boat without any real demand?
The existing system might not be perfect, but it is working well enough. Unless users see a fundamental reason to use cryptocurrencies, there won’t be any changes soon.
Crypto adoption will be a slow and steady process
A significant disruption of the currency market won’t happen overnight, but the process is already ongoing. The advantages of cryptocurrencies, such as lower transaction costs, faster speed, and increased transparency are apparent, making it likely that cryptos will play a major role in economic processes at one point.
Japan and South Korea are amongst the fastest adopters. Several major retail outlets have already adopted crypto payments. Both countries are home to thriving trading scenes and active cryptocurrency communities. Thus, the existing popularity of cryptocurrency in Japan and Korea paved the way for merchant adoption, rather than the other way round
In most countries, however, the network effect and infrastructure are not yet in place, making it unattractive for retailers to offer a payment mechanism that no one uses. Projects like Moon could highlight the benefits and result in a wider popularity of cryptocurrencies.