Gucci to accept crypto in leap for luxury industry

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Gucci is tapping into the crypto crowd. The brand will accept cryptocurrency payments in some US stores at the end of this month, and plans to extend the pilot to all of its directly operated North America stores this summer.  The move marks a major validation for the currency from a leading luxury brand. 

In-store crypto payments will be made with a link sent via email to the customer; the link contains a QR code that allows them to execute the payment from their crypto wallet. The first Gucci stores to take crypto are Wooster Street in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Miami Design District, Phipps Plaza in Atlanta and The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas. Gucci will accept payments in more than 10 currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, Shiba Inu and five stablecoins pegged to the US dollar. It will also accept Dogecoin, a “meme” cryptocurrency originally created as a joke.

Crypto payments are usually accepted in physical spaces through a QR code or NFC reader on an existing point of sale terminal that connects with a customer’s smartphone cryptocurrency app, similar to mobile credit card payments. A retailer can automatically convert the payment to fiat currency, such as US dollars, or keep the payments in the form of cryptocurrency. 

Brands have been increasingly testing blockchain technologies, primarily through NFT artwork collections and digital twins that store product information, but in-store crypto payments are still nascent. Gucci has established itself as an early adopter of Web3 technologies, which include blockchain, and crypto payments mark another step toward Gucci blending its existing physical presence with its emerging Web3 efforts.

Most recently, it shared via its Gucci Vault Discord server that owners of two of its NFT projects — SuperGucci and Gucci Grail — would have special access to pre-order a Gucci collection before it is released to the general public. It’s a move that clearly ties NFT collections and Gucci’s budding Web3 community to real-world consumption — a significant move for a luxury brand.

“Gucci is always looking to embrace new technologies when they can provide an enhanced experience for our customers,” said Marco Bizzarri, Gucci president and CEO, in a statement. “Now that we are able to integrate cryptocurrencies within our payment system, it is a natural evolution for those customers who would like to have this option available to them.”