Yesterday, a payment company called Flexa launched an app that lets people pay for a morning cuppa with Bitcoin.
Flexa, which raised $14.1m last month, enables shoppers to spend their hard-earned cryptocurrency at stores like Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Baskin-Robbins, and (thank the Winklevi) Petco.
Nope, that wasn’t a typo — Flexa’s app is called “Spedn.”
It works like this: Every time a shopper wants to buy a Jamba Juice, Spedn generates a QR code that, once scanned, immediately deposits the payment at the cash register.
Then, Spedn withdraws the same amount of crypto from a user’s crypto wallet, using its own coin, called FlexaCoin, to secure and speed up the transaction.
Several companies — including Coinbase and the now-defunct Shift — have tried to bring crypto to stores. But sluggish withdrawal times have proved problematic.
But, by making payments first and debiting crypto accounts later, Flexa solved the problem of slow withdrawal — while exposing itself to the risk that its crypto checks won’t cash.