According to Vinny Lingham, CEO of digital card platform Gyft, when the company first integrated bitcoin payments they accounted for 90% of the company’s sales. Although Paypal and credit card purchases made up the remaining 10%, Mr. Lingham has stated to CoinDesk that the field has shifted dramatically.
Since the initial bitcoin integreation in 2013, Gyft has seen an incredible 80% drop of bitcoin’s usage, leading to a complete reversal of purchasing trends – now Paypal and credit cards make up 90% of the payment methods, while bitcoin hangs on at 10%. Lingham remains steadfastly fascinated by bitcoin, as he has since he spearheaded the endeavor to accept it as a payment option.
“The reason we started [accepting bitcoin payments for gift cards] is because I am a bit of a bitcoin fanatic and being the CEO and co-founder is kind of one of those things where you build the company and its DNA around the things that you are passionate about.”
The media attention surrounding Gyft’s integration of bitcoin sparked an rapid growth rate for the company, Lingham stated.
Adding that the company “rode out the bitcoin bandwagon for at least a year throughout various hype cycles and so a lot of people adopted bitcoin and they used Gyft … and we became the de-facto standard for bitcoin usage.”
However, Lingham does not see bitcoin as a currency, despite his company being on the leading edge of acceptance of bitcoin as a payment method. That, he said, will happen when suppply and demand are balanced and an industrial use-case is found.
“The reason for this is its just not stable and you can’t price things in the currency … right now it’s being used as a medium of exchange, the same way you would use gold,” he told CoinDesk.
Regardless of his current viewpoint, Lingham stongly believes bitcoin’s potential price point will reach $10,000.
It will get there, it may take five years to get there but it will get there and at that point it will be a very stable asset and the price fluctuation will be very minimal. I think we will get to the point eventually where you can use bitcoin as a currency, we are just nowhere close to that right now.
As many of his counterparts, Lingham sees use-cases of block chain technology in the distributed database arena.
There are so many potential use-cases [for blockchain technology] that I wouldn’t even know where to start. I personally think there are a lot of opportunities in identity, property ownership titles and obviously stock market trading and decentralised stock exchanges.
Presently, Lingham said, companies in the gift card service niche are storing customer data in proprietary databases.
“Why does that have to be the case? Why can’t you store this information publicly in a public ledger or in a public database and so whoever owns that gift card has access to that data and owns that data,” he added.
Lingham noted that his option would be cheaper, more secure, and provide a better user experience.
To achieve this, Gyft is launching Gyft Block – a gift card trading platform which leverages blockchain technology. Gyft Block was created in a partnership with Chain, an API Developer.
Lingham concluded that with Gyft Block, the company is showing how a neutral third party technology such as blockchain can be safely used to keep track of “sensitive and financial data”.
Images from Shutterstock and Wikipedia. Story credit to CoinDesk.