Bitcoin’s largest payment processor, BitPay, has announced that they have added a new feature to their array of merchant services: integration with Fulfillment by Amazon. Fulfillment by Amazon is a service which allows any business with inventory in Amazon’s warehouses the ability to sell the products on their own website, and then have Amazon automatically ship them to the buyer’s address. The service is available to merchants in the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, although it can be used to ship worldwide.
Services like FBA are rapidly closing the gap between small businesses and large ones, giving even merchants with only a few thousand dollars of annual revenue access to world-class shipping services of the same quality as that available to major retailers. FBA merchants’ customers even benefit from programs like Super Saver Shipping. Amazon also handles customer support, freeing small business owners to work on their product, and not their logistics. The program is quite expensive, but FBA users argue that without FBA they would be paying high costs on shipping and customer service anyway, and doing a poorer job at the same time.
What BitPay is now offering is direct integration with the platform – that is, whenever an order is paid through BitPay, BitPay automatically notifies Amazon of the order. Thus, Bitcoin businesses no longer need to deal with Amazon integration themselves. Bitcoin Magazine itself has been using the service for weeks, and has been very satisfied. “Adding BitPay’s plugin to our webstore, which is based on WordPress, has dramatically improved our logistics,” Bitcoin Magazine’s Mihai Alisie reports. “When orders get paid through BitPay, Amazon’s servers are automatically notified, and our admin screen is updated with the correct status. PayPal does not offer the same service that BitPay can, so we have to manually process any orders which are paid through PayPal.”
PayPal may well add FBA to their offerings soon, but what this shows is that Bitcoin businesses like BitPay are now advanced enough to be competitive with their non-Bitcoin offerings. BitPay is not the first business to have come this far; Bitcoin precious metals seller Coinabul has been known industry-wide for months for its speed and reliability. “Conventional gold dealers are terrible at building websites,” Coinabul’s Jon Holmquist explains. The Bitcoin community’s technical skill has proven to be a very valuable asset, and for both Coinabul and BitPay it appears to be paying off. Thanks to its latest two rounds of venture capital funding, BitPay has been able to considerably expand its staff, and will be expanding its range of offerings quickly in the months to come. For now, this is yet another small step toward making Bitcoin possibly even the preferred payment method for e-commerce businesses to start accepting payment.
Vitalik Buterin is a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine who has been involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, and has contributed to Bitcoin both as a writer and the developer of a fork of bitcoinjs-lib, pybitcointools and multisig.info, as well as one of the developers behind Egora. Now, Vitalik's primary job is as the main developer of Ethereum, a project which intends to create a next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform that allows people to create any kind of decentralized application on top of a blockchain that can be imagined.