Black Friday, a popular shopping phenomenon in the United States that occurs the day after Thanksgiving, is getting a bitcoin-related promotion.
The effort, dubbed Bitcoin Black Friday, aims to list the best deals for anyone paying with bitcoin.
Existing bitcoin merchants can sign up now, but they are also hoping to entice new merchants to accept bitcoin. Signing up is free.
“Bitcoin Black Friday is simply a way to help BTC consumers, help BTC merchants,” founder Jon Holmquist told CoinDesk.
Holmquist thinks that bitcoin’s distributed, peer-to-peer nature makes it a bit difficult to promote for things like shopping and payments.
“It is very hard to attract bitcoin consumers. Also, it is very hard to find merchants to spend your bitcoins at,” he said.
Black Friday is not a national holiday in the United States, but since Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday in November, many workers have that day off, which can make it an ideal time for Christmas shopping.
To take advantage of the increased footfall, many US chains open their stores earlier than normal. Both brick and mortar retailers and online sites have special deals.
Wal-Mart, for example, is selling a 32″ inch flat screen television for $98 on Black Friday.
Even though you could potentially use a Wal-Mart gift card from eGifter, customers can’t buy that TV directly with bitcoin. That’s something Holmquist hopes Bitcoin Black Friday will help with in terms of awareness and virtual currency adoption. Merchants are a key aspect of this.
“Because of the lack of fees associated with bitcoin payments, merchants can offer much better deals than they can using conventional payment methods,” he said.
The outlook for the 2013 holiday shopping season is expected to be weak, and forecasts are such that retail revenues will be similar to 2009 levels, a time when the global financial crisis was in full swing.
And although the recent increase in bitcoin value has enriched many enthusiasts, Holmquist isn’t sure that translates into more people spending bitcoin. It’s the merchants that need to accept it in order for BTC to gain legitimacy as a choice for purchasing good and services.
“Any increase in price will make bitcoin consumers richer, but I don’t think it really affects merchants that much,” he said.
Bitcoin merchants interested in being included should sign up on the Bitcoin Black Friday website, so they can offer a BTC-based deal for shoppers.
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