In a major step towards mass adoption within the expanding over-65 demographic, one of the oldest names in retail has adopted cryptocurrency payments. Sears Roebuck & Company has announced the integration of Bitcoin payments to the 223 US stores that have not yet closed.
This could potentially introducing digital currencies to literally hundreds of remaining customers.
“Sears has always been at the forefront of the latest technological innovations,” said Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert, reading from a piece of parchment dated April 1st. “By integrating fast, low-fee digital payments on the blockchain, we’re making it even easier for our customers to acquire home repair supplies and automotive tools, with nothing but a mobile device and a blockchain-enabled wallet. “
It’s a big step for one of the oldest department stores in the U.S., which pioneered the use of mail-delivery catalogs in 1906, and which hasn’t evolved since.
Now, by integrating the most popular cryptocurrency, the retail giant hopes to introduce thousands of Bitcoin users to the Sears brand, and to accelerate mass adoption within the rapidly-expanding department store industry.
But integrating Bitcoin payments has not been without some friction. “We have heard some concerns about the technology being hard to use,” Lampert admitted. “In order to keep things running smoothly, we’ve started advanced training for all sales staff in cold storage, online safety, and advanced public key cryptography.”
Upon checkout, each customer will be presented with a choice of payment methods, including cash, credit, debit, or Bitcoin. In addition, they may also make smaller payments via the Lightning Network.
“Lightning payments will totally change the game for retail,” Lampert enthused. “Our minimum-wage sales associates are ready to show customers how to set up their Lightning wallet and make instant, nearly feeless payments through the second-layer solution. As soon as they fund a payments channel, that is.”
Each Sears store will also host its own Lightning node in a closet near the men’s room, thereby providing extra liquidity to the payments network and providing extra revenue of several hundred satoshis per month.
“Running a Lightning Node adds an important income stream to our balance sheets,” the CEO remarked. “Our creditors will be able to rest easy with the knowledge that our remaining assets are safely stored in an online hot wallet.”
“Unless someone tries to pay us while the node is offline,” he added. “Boy, I wouldn’t want that to happen again.”
The company expects the latest adoption to give Sears a major competitive edge, but it may not last long. Last week, J.C. Penney announced the adoption of Bitcoin Cash, while Jiffy Lube is now accepting Litecoin.
The author is invested in Bitcoin, which is mentioned in this article.