Gucci has gone crypto. The luxury brand announced it was accepting cryptocurrency payments at in-real-life stores in select stores in the United States; ultimately Gucci wants all its non-franchise shops to accept crypto.
The announcement is groundbreaking in two ways; it’s a strong reminder that cryptocurrency is not just the interest of HODL people or “true believers”, but is growing into an important retail option, albeit a high-end one.
If you went looking for a Gucci store that takes crypto in the earliest days of the project, you might not find much–only five stores were originally identified to launch this new approach. But five isn’t the limit, there are well over one hundred locations scheduled to go crypto as the operation expands.
Gucci’s initial ambitions were announced to include accepting virtual currencies at the following five in-person locations before rolling the program out to other stores:
- Wooster Street, New York, NY
- Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, CA
- Miami Design District, Miami, FL
- Phipps Plaza, Atlanta, GA
- The Shops at Crystals, Las Vegas, NV
In general, where crypto payments are accepted they may require a reader or a QR code that is compatible with your smartphone crypto app. Some retailers may convert the crypto to real-world money while others may choose to keep the transaction in cryptocurrency instead.
For Gucci, the process basically involves the retailer emailing a link to the buyer. That link includes a QR code that enables the transaction. Gucci plans to support multiple currencies and at press time is not a Bitcoin loyalist.
You may be able to buy Gucci in person using the following cryptocurrencies where they are accepted by the retailer:
The luxury giant may also accept certain stablecoins tied to the United States Dollar.
Does it surprise you to learn that Gucci operates a Discord server? This luxury brand is, in addition to accepting cryptocurrency, working on its own NFT projects. One is known as SuperGucci and the other is called Gucci Grail. One source notes that Gucci may be the first luxury retailer to offer an NFT, and it is currently developing virtual real estate on The Sandbox.
Owning these NFTs means being offered member access to a pre-order for Gucci collections that have not yet been offered to the public. It’s a telling and crypto-savvy move. But will it work for those who are not NFT enthusiasts and have a more casual relationship with crypto?
It may be too early to tell whether the interest in cryptocurrency is a fad or a real long-tail business strategy that will still be operating in 10 years’ time.
But there are indications that this involvement in alternative payments and the blockchain is a growing trend. Other luxury brands are exploring their own crypto options. Off-White, and Philipp Plein have both announced crypto payment programs for their Paris, Milan, and London shops.
Off-White uses a policy that may catch on among retailers; you have no payment limits when using crypto, but refunds can only be made in the local currency as store credit. That feels to some like an anticipatory anti-fraud measure; it is much different than Gucci’s stated plans to offer refunds only in crypto.
Both options carry a degree of risk. A refund in crypto for the purchase price might not be worth as much if the price of that currency drops in the meantime. The same is true for a store credit situation where the at-refund-time value of the cryptocurrency is lower than at purchase time.
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.