New Silicon Valley startup Beepi – an online used-car marketplace that connects buyers and sellers and claims to offer better prices than car dealerships – now accepts bitcoin payments.
Beepi’s co-founders Ale Resnik and Owen Savir told CoinDesk that accepting bitcoin is a “logical step” for any e-commerce startup.
The promise of the company is to replace the middlemen in the car sales industry with a more efficient peer-to-peer system – an aim that has parallels with the impact of bitcoin, Resnik and Savir said:
“We’re reshaping the antiquated process of buying a car by removing complex barriers that go beyond just payment options. In turn, bitcoin is reshaping an outdated payments industry, which is moving us toward a digital, cashless society.”
How it works
On the buy side, Beepi is similar to other listings platforms, except with the added assurance that the cars for sale are ‘Beepi verified’ and come with a 10-day honeymoon period, during which you can decide to return your purchase.
The car is delivered to your door, free if you live in California, and reportedly with a big red bow wrapped around it.
Sellers register their car’s details online and then Beepi comes to their house to look over the car and test-drive it.
Beepi guarantees a sale within 30 days, you can keep driving it until you a sale is completed, and Beepi will buy your car directly if it doesn’t find a seller on its marketplace. The firm takes a 9% commission from the seller in return for the service.
Holding onto bitcoin
In April, the company received $5m in investment from Redpoint Ventures and, as well as bitcoin, offers a range of payment options that can be combined for each purchase, an approach Resnik and Savir said makes the startup unique:
“With the addition of bitcoin, we can further streamline the process of buying cars by give our customers a variety of ways to pay.”
They say that that they use bitcoin themselves and “are holding it as an investment”, rejecting the suggestion that bitcoin is simply a publicity tool for startups.
“We don’t see this as a publicity tool for any business, but rather the next necessary step in a world where consumers are becoming increasingly technically savvy. Again, as bitcoin continues to grow in popularity, accepting bitcoin as a payment option should be one of the next logical steps for any ecommerce company.”
Shift in payments
Like many merchants who accept bitcoin, Beepi uses a specialised payment processor, in this case BitPay, meaning that neither Beepi nor the car seller will actually handle any bitcoin.
This means sellers aren’t able to receive payment in bitcoin, but buyers can pay in bitcoin as they do on sites like online retail giant Overstock.com or travel services platform Expedia.com, which recently began accepting bitcoin for hotel bookings.
“The way [society makes] purchases is changing across the board,” say Resnik and Savir. “Both Beepi and bitcoin are a part of that process.”
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
Car photo via Shutterstock