As Black Friday looms, holiday shoppers are filling shopping carts and wish lists for another year of gift-giving. Crazy people everywhere line up on sidewalks for seasonal sales in the hope of getting a few deep discounts. But one fintech firm, Purse.io, offers a way to get those deep discounts every day, using bitcoin.
Bitcoin has long suffered from two problems: First, it is often difficult to buy bitcoin. Payment methods that are almost universally accepted elsewhere, like credit cards and PayPal, are too risky to accept when selling bitcoin due to the risk of chargebacks. Second, bitcoin users don’t have many places or reasons to spend their bitcoin. There are more places every day, but right now it’s hit or miss.
Two Birds With One Stone
Purse.io aims to tackle both of these problems with one elegant use case solution: matching bitcoin buyers and sellers through Amazon wish lists. With Purse, users can get discounts of 5% to 30% (maybe more) on purchases from Amazon. Or users can buy bitcoin using any payment method Amazon accepts – credit cards, gift cards, Amex and Chase reward points, etc.
If you have bitcoin and want something on Amazon, set up a wish list and post it on Purse. You can choose how much of a discount you want off the posted Amazon price. If you want to buy bitcoin, you will see a list of Amazon orders you can choose to fill. Orders with a larger discount take longer to fill, as buyers scoop up the better bitcoin rates first.
Each wish list added is one order. The order can have one item or many items, but the entire order must be filled at once. Shoppers should bundle items they want to arrive together, but keep order wish lists relatively small to get them filled quicker.
If the whole wish list thing sounds like too much work, you can just shop through Purse for anything on Amazon at an instant 5% discount by paying with bitcoin. That’s an easy way to save some money, especially once your Coinbase account is set up with instant buy. Link your Coinbase account with your Purse account and you can order quickly and easily at a discounted rate.
(Update: Purse.io is raising the instant buy discount to 10% on Black Friday only!)
Purse also offers a secondary marketplace for Amazon gift cards. The cards are normally difficult to sell since they can only be redeemed through Amazon. Through Purse’s redemption process, gift card holders can convert their card balance into bitcoin.
Many overseas Amazon affiliates receive their earnings in the form of gift cards due to fees or lack of bank access. The same things that make it difficult to receive their commission payments make it hard for them to buy bitcoin. Purse’s gift card redemption process lets them convert their store credit to digital cash, no bank needed.
Bitcoin buyers with an Amazon Prime account can register as VIP members of Purse. Since their Prime membership means faster shipping on their orders, VIP members get 24 hours of exclusive access to orders placed with discounts below 10%. Orders in that range get filled in under 6 hours on average.
Boosting Bitcoin Spending
Purse began in April 2014 with an undisclosed seed funding amount from Funders Club and Plug & Play Ventures. Seven months later, founders Andrew Lee and Kent Liu closed a second seed round for $300,000 with participation from several more investors, including Bobby Lee and Roger Ver.
Revenues are private, but the company’s user base has grown from 12,000 customers spending $120,000 per month in November 2014 to over 60,000 customers spending half a million per month in 2015. The company plans to expand its offerings to make bitcoin easier to spend at any merchant, with a compelling discount.
Purse.io is worth a try, and what better time than the holiday shopping season? It’s quick and easy, and it can offer steep savings. Do your holiday shopping on Purse.io, and buy yourself a little something with what’s left over.