People really do seem to be buying things with cryptocurrency.
Announced today, Coinbase Commerce – the exchange unicorn's app for online retailers – has exceeded $50 million in transactions since launching in February 2018.
"Volumes really started picking up in Q2 ," Justin O'Brien, the product lead for Coinbase Commerce, told CoinDesk in a phone call. "They've been on an upward trend since we launched."
Coinbase Commerce is now also integrated with Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop and WooCommerce. To use Coinbase Commerce, merchants need to set up an account and create a non-custodial wallet for receiving cryptocurrency.
At the beginning, O'Brien noted, it was a minimum viable product meant for crypto enthusiasts. Now, he said, it should have all the features a merchant could want, which makes adoption easier. Once merchants join the network, he said, they tend to keep their accounts live.
While Coinbase Commerce has built an experimental point-of-sale feature, this has really been a product operating in the e-commerce realm. Primarily, it's been serving the crypto industry – for example, companies providing portfolio management tools or taxation services.
But there are some non-crypto companies joining the network as well. Said O'Brien:
More coins, more features
Payments received via Coinbase Commerce go to the wallet and remain as crypto. In order to shift funds to fiat, merchants need to withdraw the cryptocurrency and sell it.
With its last update, the service is potentially ready to accept any ERC-20 token, O'Brien told CoinDesk.
In integrating USDC, Coinbase took advantage of a new feature of Ethereum's Constantinople upgrade called CREATE2. This improves the trustlessness of Coinbase's facilitation of payments between customer and merchant, O'Brien explained.
A stablecoin gives a merchant a way to accept crypto without the fear of volatility wiping out their income, but O'Brien argued that somewhat stable prices for crypto itself have helped spur consumer usage.
When there is less volatility, O'Brien said, "people are more likely to actually spend their cryptocurrency rather than hold onto it."
E-commerce has been a recurring theme for the cryptocurrency sector. Stablecoin competitor Terra was initiated by a coalition of Asian e-commerce giants, primarily as a way to curtail credit card fees from eating into very thin margins.
Coinbase image via Shutterstock