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Avnet Is Working with BitPay to Add Bitcoin Payment Options for Its Customers
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After a meteoric rise in 2017, the following year saw bitcoin plummet through the floor, leaving many commentators to speculate that the cryptocurrency was coming to an end and the bitcoin bubble had finally popped. However, while the consumer market turned its back on the digital currency, there is an emerging trend in the B2B sector which is showing high growth in bitcoin payments.
At the beginning of 2019, BitPay, the world's largest bitcoin payment processor, reported that it had set a new record for transaction fee revenue, processing over $1 billion worth of transactions for the second year in a row. B2B payments were behind much of this growth, surging 255% in 2018, even as bitcoin dropped 80%.
In a blog post for BitPay, former Paypal executive Rolf Haag, who is now Head of Business Solutions at BitPay, commented on the trend: "B2B payments is our fastest growing segment. Because BitPay only charges a simple 1% fee and settles within 2 business days, we're already better than international wires, which can cost 3-4% and settle in 3-5 days."
The benefits of digital currency such as bitcoin in the B2B space are clear. Accepting cryptocurrency payments means businesses around the world can complete transactions without the need to utilize the banking system's legacy processes, which can delay payment, incur high costs, and create a burden for cross-border payors and payees. Exchange rates become a thing of the past, and payments can be facilitated in real-time - no more 30- or 60-day terms, as everything can be processed immediately without the additional cost and hold-ups inherent with paper checks and wire transfers.
Now, Avnet, a leading technology supplier for industries as diverse as automotive, communications, energy, and wearables, is working with BitPay to accept bitcoin payments for products and services.
Announcing the news in March 2019, the Fortune 500 firm said that its customers can now pay in bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH), with BitPay verifying and processing the payments.
"We're working with BitPay to facilitate secure blockchain payments for all types of customers so they can focus on developing their products, not how to pay for them," said Avnet Vice President of Demand Creation Sunny Trinh in a press release. "Whether it's Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, we can handle it."
Avnet says that with more than 2 million customers worldwide, bitcoin acceptance can be cheaper than traditional money transfer options - especially for cross-border payments. It also gives customers more options for completing their financial transactions, which Avnet hopes will give the company a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Customers who elect to make a purchase using bitcoin or bitcoin cash have the funds verified by BitPay, who then processes the order and completes the transaction. Together, Avnet and BitPay also have the ability to manage and process cryptocurrency requests outside the US on a country-by-country basis.
"As one of the largest global technology solution providers on the Fortune 500 list, Avnet is truly an innovative company that listens to the needs of their customers, as demonstrated by their decision to accept bitcoin payments," said Sonny Singh, Chief Commercial Officer at BitPay.
Facilitating more payment options is likely to prove attractive to Avnet's customers, particularly those placing orders and completing purchases via the website's ecommerce store. Be they entrepreneurs or enterprises, one of Avnet's core aims is to break down the barriers its business customers face when bringing their ideas to market. By accepting bitcoin as a payment option, Avnet says it is giving customers easier access to its unique end-to-end ecosystem of design, product, marketing, and supply chain expertise at every stage of the product lifecycle.
Key to this is the launch of a new hardware wallet - which Avnet worked with Bitcoin.com to develop - that further enables cryptocurrency storage and provides the highest level of security for transactions. Users enjoy a fixed 1% fee on transactions, as well as the ease of use B2B buyers have come to expect when using online platforms.
"Not only is paying with bitcoin easier and faster than with credit cards and bank wires, it is less expensive and acceptance of it is growing," said Singh. "I predict Avnet will attract many new blockchain-focused customers from around the world that want to take advantage of paying with bitcoin."
With hundreds of thousands of on-ledger bitcoin transactions being made each day in 2019, the payments landscape is changing. Avnet says that by accepting the cryptocurrency, the company is positioning itself - and its clients - to be ready for it.
Providing seamless, convenient, and innovative buying experiences is becoming ever more crucial for companies operating in the B2B space. Giving customers the option to pay in cryptocurrency is one way to provide them. And it's not necessarily difficult to facilitate - adding the bitcoin acceptance method was a simple technology change for Avnet, taking only about three months to implement, according to Trinh. As he puts it, "It's not as hard as you think," though he advises making sure it fits your business model before adding cryptocurrency as a payment option for customers.
Leading-edge customer experiences are set to be a hot topic at B2B Online Miami 2019, taking place this November at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, Fl.
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