Opportunities for spending Bitcoin in the real world remain somewhat scant. At the same time though, there is more and more reason for individual businesses to get in on cryptocurrency. For one thing, more consumers are familiar with Bitcoin and other cryptos today, which means there may be more who are interested in using it functionally. Additionally though, on the business side of things, we’ve pointed out “How Bitcoin Saves Your Business Time and Money” before, and the benefits are clear. By dealing in Bitcoin, a modern business can increase transaction fees, make transfers cheaper, and even decrease the likelihood of fraud.
Those benefits apply across businesses and industries; they are a result of the very nature of cryptocurrency. But what they don’t speak to specifically is which businesses might be most likely or best suited to start accepting Bitcoin transaction moving forward. Most likely is difficult to answer. But when we think about which types of businesses may be best suited to adopting Bitcoin, one idea actually stands out: coffee shops.
There are a few reasons for this assertion.
Massive Volume of Consumers
One key factor is that coffee shops cater to a massive volume of consumers. According to ZenBusiness’s advice for people starting coffee shops, the industry ropes in $50.7 billion (US) every year. The same advice points out that in America alone, an incredible 83% of people drink coffee! These are huge numbers, and going off of them we can justifiably suggest that a majority of consumers patronize coffee shops, at least some of the time. This matters with regard to Bitcoin because it means there are simply going to be more customers open to spending it. If we assume that one in ten consumers will make Bitcoin transactions, that is, coffee shops are going to reach more of those consumers simply by way of the overwhelming volume they serve.
The point about volume essentially means that adopting Bitcoin is worth the effort for coffee shops. However, it’s also an appealing concept financially. Per the same advice for aspiring coffee shop owners referenced above, these businesses have extraordinary margins already. A cup of coffee costs some $1 (US) to make, with consumers paying $3.50 or more per cup. We already noted that Bitcoin can make a business more money by cutting down on transaction fees. And if this is done on top of such an attractive, existing margin — and across millions and millions of sales — it may be an irresistible idea to a lot of business owners.
Customers Accustomed To Mobile Payment
Maybe the biggest point in favor of coffee shops in this conversation is that more than most types of businesses, they have customers bases that are already accustomed to making mobile payments. As of 2018, Starbucks had the leading mobile payment app even over the likes of Apple, Google, and Samsung. This means that more people were using the Starbucks app than those counterparts despite the fact that it is only useful at one business! Apple has since caught up, but this data proves fairly definitively that coffee shop patrons are more accustomed to using mobile apps for transactions than customers of any other businesses. This would make a transition to Bitcoin particularly feasible and straightforward.
Relation To Tech Hubs
This final point is a strange one, but may be significant nonetheless: For whatever reason, it just so happens that the most concentrated markets for coffee shops tend to overlap with tech hubs. Looking through Mental Floss’s list of top coffee cities in the U.S., we see that the first cities listed are New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and Los Angeles. All of these cities are known for startup culture, and for tech innovation in particular. And if we assume logically that tech hubs are likely to have more Bitcoin-curious people than other cities, this means that some of the most concentrated markets for coffee shops happen to exist where people may be most inclined to use cryptocurrency.
None of this guarantees that coffee shops will lead the way in Bitcoin’s emergence as a more useful day-to-day payment method. But if we are to begin seeing Bitcoin used as money more frequently, these may be the businesses most naturally suited to embrace the change.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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