Interview with TGT Wallets
Wednesday 26 November 2014
TGT (pronounced "tight") wallets are exactly what they sound like: tight. Designed by Jack Sutter in New York,these handmade wallets are small and slim, providing an alternative way to store your cards and money when compared to your traditional wallet. These wallets come in a variety of styles, which range from simple designs to fancier leather options. Sutter launched a Kickstarter campaign back in November of 2012, resulting in over 7,500 backers pitching in and raising over 15 times the targeted amount to get the company going.
TGT first started accepting bitcoin back in late June of 2014. Andrew Yakovlev from TGT mentioned how the team discovered and decided to use bitcoin through word of mouth:
"We have a few friends that bought a lot bitcoins a few years ago and are now quite well off because of it, chattingwith
them at parties we would always joke that they should buy lots of TGT wallets, and they would joke back that
theywould if our store took bitcoin. So we decided to study this further."
Andrew went on by describing how his team looked at the bitcoin market and competing cyptocurrencies when considering accepting bitcoin:
"We monitored other ecommerce companies, and it started to look like adoption was spreading - overstock.com was
a big one. Also, it seems this year a lot of VCs [(venture capitals)] jumped on the wagon, so that’s a sign that more
capital will go into the ecosystem. We also looked at other cryptocurrencies (eg dogecoin), but it seems like bitcoin is
quite institutionalized now. So the bottom line, it looked like this was a wave of the future and something we should have
experience with and Shopify, our ecommerce platform, made it pretty painless to setup."
The level of establishment bitcoin has seen, along with the ease of setting up bitcoin purchasing with third-party tools, has made bitcoin a rather appealing payment option with many merchants. Shopify currently lets merchants accept bitcoins through either Coinbase or BitPay. It is possible to directly convert bitcoin into local fiat; TGT, however, has chosen to keep all their received bitcoin, noting how interesting it is to observe market fluctuations and the desire to keep an open mind about using that bitcoin to buy other goods and services from fellow bitcoin-acceptors.
As a wallet producer, we thought it would be interesting to see TGT's take on bitcoin as an alternative form of payment when compared to cash and cards. Andrew noted the "futuristic" and attractive payment option that bitcoin serves as:
"As a wallet company, we see the trend to virtualization and digitization of possessions. We look at TGT as the last wallet a
person will need, in a few years all cards and currency will be on a phone (or portable computer device). That’s why our product
is minimalist, and designed for people on that path. So in that futuristic mindset, cryptocurrencies are another nail in the coffin for cash.
As a business, cryptocurrencies are attractive because they eliminate certain transaction costs, with merchant fees being a big one. A bitcoin ecommerce transaction is on par with a cash-only transaction, so that’s very exciting - we get to keep more of the sale, with lower fraud risk."
We asked Andrew to discuss how bitcoin sales have been for TGT. "Bitcoin sales are starting to come in (we want more though!)," stated Andrew, "with an even split between us domestic and international [sales]." With the lack of international payment fees that many credit card users face, it would be interesting to note a rise of international sales in the future.
Andrew stated that it's a bit too early to tell whether or not bitcoin has led to more exposure in terms of sales. Looking towards the future, however, Andrew stated, "...we’re still treating bitcoin as a beta initiative and experimenting with the backend on our side as well. But we hope that exposure will pickup, the TGT wallet seems like a natural fit for cryptocurrency enthusiasts who are moving away from cash and credit cards."
It will definitely be fascinating to see how bitcoin affects sales in the near future, and perhaps one day, it won't be considered a "beta" option.
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