February 12, 2014
By Kevin Woodward
Revel Systems Inc. is the latest payments organization to support Bitcoin with the announcement Tuesday that consumers can use the digital currency with its iPad-based point-of-sale system.
Chris Ciabarra, Revel chief technology officer and co-founder
San Francisco-based Revel is working with Bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase to integrate acceptance.
Revel added Bitcoin acceptance because of about 30 requests from clients, says Chris Ciabarra, Revel Systems chief technology officer and co-founder. Some even began accepting the digital currency via a third-party acceptance function built into Revel’s POS system, he says.
A Bitcoin transaction works like this: When a consumer pays with Bitcoin, a Quick Response code appears on the Revel POS screen. The consumer scans that code using a Bitcoin wallet app on his smart phone to complete the transaction. Revel’s iOS app for use with Apple Inc. mobile devices is in testing now.
Approval of the iOS app might resurrect a Bitcoin wallet in Apple’s iTunes’ store. Last week, Apple banned the Blockchain mobile wallet used to access Bitcoin. Blockchain claimed three other Bitcoin apps, include Coinbase, Gliph, and CoinJar, also were removed. An Android app is available now.
The merchant must create an account with a Bitcoin exchange to accept Bitcoins, Ciabarra says.
Merchants that accept Bitcoins face little risk, Ciabarra says. “There would only be risks if you leave money in your Bitcoin account and do not take it out right away,” he says. “In this case, the Bitcoin [exchange] rate can go up and down.”
He says merchants benefit from Bitcoin acceptance because there are no chargebacks associated with the scheme, processing fees are very low—.001 cent per transaction--and merchants do not store payment card information.
Revel is among the latest to enable Bitcoin acceptance. E-commerce site Overstock.com Inc. and online game provider Zynga accept Bitcoins, or are testing their acceptance.
Bitcoin derives its value from speculators, who set its price on global trading exchanges. The currency’s volatility is such that a Bitcoin worth $1,000 at the start of trading can be worth less than half—or double—that amount by market close. For merchants that expect to be reimbursed the full purchase price of a Bitcoin transaction, that makes accepting the currency a very risky—or rewarding—proposition.
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