bitcoin

The wine retailer banking on Bitcoin

04 February, 2021

“Blockchain technology opens new perspectives regarding traceability and logistics. We are thinking about exploring these perspectives. We find synergies between wine and cryptocurrency, because wine in a way is a tangible asset and Bitcoin is another asset. It was natural for us to mix the two businesses.”

BTC Wine has three different meanings. BTC is the abbreviation of Bitcoin, like USD, EUR, GBP and so on. It also means Business To Consumer, and By The Case. Many of BTC Wine’s customers are younger than your average fine wine buyer, but De Bonnecaze says the firm has received interest from a pretty broad range of clients.

“The main core of customers are in their 30s and 40s, but you have some people who are in their 60s or 70s,” he says. “Recently we had a guy whose son gave him one Bitcoin a few years ago [now worth more than $35,000] and he wanted to spend it. He didn’t know anything about it, so we helped him to spend it with his wallet.”

The team has found that sales perform well during bullish market conditions, but they decrease during bearish conditions. When asked how he thinks Bitcoin will fare in the years ahead, De Bonnecaze says: “My friends know I am dealing with Bitcoin, and they contact me to ask my predictions. I am pretty sure that Bitcoin and blockchain and the cryptocurrency market will grow in a huge way in the long term. But of course if you enter now, you will lose money, because I am pretty sure there will be another decrease. In the long term I think it will be very useful.”

RANGE INCREASE

The current range features around 200 wines, spanning Bordeaux Grands Crus, top Burgundy wines, Rhône Valley fine wines, luxury Champagne, Super-Tuscans and high-end Spanish wines. Yet the team is in the process of increasing the range to 2,000. “We are looking for the best wines in every country. We have bought the best wines from England – the most expensive sparkling wine that Chapel Down has, about £100 a bottle. We only want luxury wines. We don’t want to sell by the bottle or cheap wines. That’s not our business.”

The fine wines are packed in original wooden cases and shipped around the world, with full insurance and safety over-packaging. Accepting Bitcoin as a banking method presents challenges and opportunities.

The advantage of Bitcoin, Ether and Bitcoin Cash is that they are decentralised, peer-to-peer currencies. They allow direct transfers from one wallet to another, crossing international borders with ease and cutting out the need for a middleman. Banks and traditional financial institutions do not get involved, so there is no need for handling fees, conversion fees and so on. That makes it a lot cheaper to deal in crypto than in currencies like euros and dollars.

It is also a lot quicker. A traditional bank transfer can take several business days to arrive, whereas Bitcoin arrives in around 15 minutes. Ether and Bitcoin Cash are even quicker, as these altcoins have shorter block times. These transactions are also very secure, as only the sender and recipient have the keys.





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