State-imposed quarantines, mandates to socially distance, policies set to work-from-home… it seems to have led to a surge in online shopping. Earlier this week, major outlets like Walmart and Amazon said they were struggling to keep up with demand from “panic buyers”.
This increase in preparedness buying is spreading to the crypto sector as well, leading to unprecedented growth for a number of crypto payment processors. Lolli, a bitcoin rewards application, reports a doubling in sales over the last couple of weeks as a reaction to the pandemic. The company’s spokesperson says they expect to see this continue over the next several weeks as people transition to a remote work schedule and prepare for COVID-19.
Strike by Zap, a lightning implementation currently running in beta, nearly shut down after its payments increased beyond expectation. But now according to Zap CEO Jack Mallers, the wallet has “crushed its all-time-highs”.
Strike works by converting and settling bitcoin payments on behalf of merchants, so retail outlets never have to “touch” the asset. This means Strike is “inherently short bitcoin” for every payment made through the app. Using live trading algorithms to keep its exposure flat, Mallers set automatic borrowing limits with its OTC desks to cover these short positions, which when exceeded would block users from completing their transactions.
Fold, another crypto payments startup with lightning integrations, has experienced inventory issues since February, with many users stocking up on first aid and other supplies on sites like Amazon, Lowes, and Cabela’s.
ZenGo, a Tel Aviv-based wallet startup with customers in 70 countries, has also seen record volumes of people buying crypto and using it for remittance. Transactions using the non-custodial wallet surged 300 percent week-over-week.