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Sales Surge for Electronics Firm After Bitcoin Black Friday

(@kadhimshubber) | Published on December 4, 2013 at 18:20 GMT

Just over a week since Adafruit Industries announced you could pay for their products with bitcoin, the DIY electronics merchant has raked in tens-of-thousands of dollars in the cryptocurrency.

“We can say it’s in the multiple tens-of-thousands of USD,” Adafruit founder Limor Fried told CoinDesk.

The company's sales were boosted by Bitcoin Black Friday (bitcoin’s answer to the discount-shopping holiday that follows Thanksgiving), which generated a record day of transactions for bitcoin payment processor BitPay, the service Adafruit uses.

Furthermore, in a curious twist, at least one customer who decided to pay with bitcoin used the very same coins they mined using Adafruit’s bitcoin mining tutorial. Fried said:

“The coolest thing for us is a customer told us they made a bitcoin miner using our tutorial, mined coins and then spent them on Adafruit.”

The company first entered the bitcoin world six months ago with the PiMiner, a Raspberry Pi-powered bitcoin miner. From there, the decision to implement bitcoin payments was a natural progression for Adafruit's team.

“We all considered mining coins a fun math puzzle and hobby,” said Fried.

Volatility

Like other businesses that have adopted bitcoin payments, Adafruit was concerned by the volatility of the currency due to the risk of bitcoin's price plummeting shortly after a sale.

“The big challenge for us was how [to] sell physical goods with a ‘currency’ that changes so often,” said the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Limor Fried, Adafruit's Founder.
Entrepreneur Limor Fried, Adafruit's Founder.

BitPay was crucial to solving that challenge, she said. The payments processor, which transacted a $1m order in October, does the currency exchange into dollars at the point of sale.

“We never touch the bitcoins, each day BitPay does a daily bank transfer in USD to us. This was perfect for us,” she added.

According to Fried, the most popular bitcoin purchase on Adafruit's website, which has over 1,600 products, is the humble Raspberry Pi model B.

“The average order [with bitcoins] is over $100. Many orders were over $1,000 and we have a few over $8,000. The most popular item people purchase with bitcoins is the Raspberry Pi model B,” she said.

Bitcoin frenzy

Bitcoin Black Friday, bitcoin’s answer to the 'frenzied consumerism' that follows Thanksgiving celebrations in the US, returned for a second year in 2013. The day was set up by Jon Holmquist in retaliation to claims that bitcoin has been fuelled by speculation rather than its potential as a global payment system.

This argument was made rather forcefully in a recent Wired article that suggested bitcoin’s irreversibility was a “fatal flaw” that ensures it “won’t ever achieve widespread adoption as a currency”.

Bitcoin Black Friday saw a range of sites offer discounted products. Alongside BitPay's bigger merchants, it seems the deals at Adafruit won consumers over.

“During our recent Bitcoin Black Friday, Adafruit was one of our top selling merchants,” said Stephanie Wargo, VP of Marketing at BitPay.

BitPay processed just over 6,000 bitcoin transactions on Bitcoin Black Friday – up from just 99 during the inaugural event last year.

“The bitcoin space is growing each and every day; as more people acquire bitcoins, and more merchants accept them,” said Wargo.

Featured image: Collin Cunningham

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