If you have bitcoins to blow, Yelp just made it easier for you to find local places to spend them.
The popular (and plenty controversial) customer review site announced on its blog yesterday that it’s making room for Bitcoin in the “More business info” section that appears on each company’s page. Yes, it’s now, or should we say finally, letting users know which of its millions of listed companies accept Bitcoin as payment.
The words “Accepts Bitcoin:” followed hopefully increasingly by a “yes,” and not a “no,” will now appear directly below “Accepts credit cards:” That’s big news for Bitcoin boosters.
While Yelp slapping up a handful of text about Bitcoin payment acceptance might not seem like a big deal to you, it is to us. The move signals another mainstreaming win for the world’s first cryptocurrency, which is quickly turning the traditional payments industry on its head across the globe, online and in-store.
It won’t be long before most merchants accept Bitcoin. About 50,000 merchants around the world already do, according to Nicholas Tomaino, business development manager at Coinbase, a San Francisco-based global Bitcoin wallet and merchant service. The “vast majority” of them, he said, are online businesses, not brick-and-mortar operations, making the in-store corner of the market “ripest for bitcoin to disrupt.”
As of 11:25 a.m. EST, CoinMap listed some 4,212 brick-and-mortar businesses currently accepting Bitcoin. That number literally grows by the day.
The folks at Yelp are paying close attention to the in-store Bitcoin payments race. They’ve obviously done their homework and they like what they see:
“For those who haven’t heard the buzz about Bitcoin, it’s a new payment technology that allows consumers and businesses to make fast, secure and low-cost digital payments from any Internet-enabled device,” Yelp said in its announcement yesterday.
“Why does this matter? Bitcoin also allows for consumers and businesses to transact without having to store sensitive data like a credit card number. Finally, like cash, Bitcoin's transactions are one-way, so businesses don't have to worry about chargebacks.”
If you’re a business owner who wants to add Bitcoin to the list of payments you accept and you’re on Yelp, you can log in to your Yelp account via biz.yelp.com and add the cryptocurrency to your payment attributes in a click. If only it were that easy to actually accept bitcoins.