A group of retailers that includes Nordstrom, Whole Foods and Crate & Barrel is planning an initiative to accept payments in bitcoin and three other cryptocurrencies, Fortune reports. The effort, led by Winklevoss-run cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and a startup called Flexa, involves configuring payment scanners used for services like Apple Pay to allow customers to use Flexa’s app to pay in cryptocurrency.
While customers will spend cryptocurrency, the retailers will receive payment in traditional currency. That makes this initiative different from earlier experiments with bitcoin payments, which suggested that bitcoin’s price volatility could make it impractical to use in commerce. The retailers that have signed on hope that the cryptocurrency payments system will lower the fees they pay to existing payments providers, but it remains to be seen whether enough people will want to shop with cryptocurrency to justify the effort.