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proximity payments still struggle, Management

Glass half empty or half full? In Beaugrenelle Shopping Center, on 15th Streete arrondissement of Paris, the pioneering experience took place from June 8 to July 8. Its goal: to check whether consumers are ready to pay for their purchases in “cryptocurrencies”. The topic is crucial, because payment at the point of sale is one of the holy grails that the “crypto” ecosystem strives for, in order to achieve its trivialization in the financial landscape, despite the mistrust shown by regulators and banks.

During this period, customers of the center were able to pay for their purchases in all stores with cryptocurrencies, a first in France, which will continue at the beginning of the school year. “We will continue the experiment from September to perpetuate it,” Beaugrenelle’s spokesperson confirms to the Echo. “It was a real commercial success from all sides,” he says Damien Patureauxco-founder and current director Lyzastart-up with which the Beaugrenelle Center has partnered in the realization of this project.

On the ground, however, feedback seems more mixed. About twenty merchants interviewed by “Les Echos” claim that they did not receive any payment of this type during that period, and few have actually heard of this experience. “It didn’t have any particular impact,” notes Sylvain, a salesman at a clothing store.

Such a discrepancy can be explained by the payment technique used by Lyzi: instead of a transaction made directly in “ cryptos,” the start-up allowed cryptocurrency holders to purchase Beaugrenelle Center gift cards in virtual currency. These gift cards were then valid for all brands. “At the transaction level, the gift card was the easiest solution to implement to reach all 150 merchants in the center,” explains Damien Patureaux.

Crypto payment card

In a broader sense, the experience illustrates the difficulty of this sector to enter the daily life of users, as the term “cryptocurrency” suggests. Currently, these are mostly digital assets used as investment products, and concrete applications are still very rare in France. “It’s true that people who deal with cryptocurrency don’t want to spend it because they believe in it,” said one industry player. Bitcoin has become a kind of store of value. Nobody pays with their gold bullion. »

However, most cryptocurrency exchange platforms, such as Coinbase or Bitpanda, have launched their own payment cards. But the use of these cards is rare. France’s Ledger, a digital asset storage specialist, also announced at the end of last December the launch of its own card for the first quarter of 2022. A card that is not yet on sale.

Difficulties for the initiated

Some insiders still manage to use their crypto assets to make certain transactions. With, also, operational difficulties. “I just paid part of my house with my cryptocurrencies,” says Benjamin, who works for a company in the sector. But it took me three weeks to transfer the funds from the various exchanges where I bought cryptocurrencies to my bank. I also needed to warn this one not to block funds. »

Eventually, he intends to go without a bank. He also started making more regular payments in his cryptocurrencies, using some of the profits made before bitcoin’s crash last June. For that, he uses a card from the company Monolith. The latter is responsible, through the application, for converting his cryptocurrencies into euros, then loading them onto his Monolith card, which he can then use as a conventional card.

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