The traditional Black Friday may be the victim of consumer “shopping fatigue,” but the enthusiasm behind Bitcoin’s edgier counterpart shows no sign of abating.
That’s according to the New York Times and John Holmquist, respectively. Holmquist was the organizer of the first Bitcoin Black Friday event back in 2012, and is the one-man show orchestrating this year’s symphony of participating major retailers.
“I started this event back in 2012 during the Silk Road era when Bitcoin was joked about as only being used to buy drugs,” Holmquist writes. “Now the press alleges it is used to fund terrorists, but at least people now understand it’s used for legal things as well.”
Last year’s Bitcoin Black Friday was unleashed with the reassuring participation of mainstream retailers such as Newegg, Overstock, Dell, and TigerDirect, helping push the Bitcoin price up $30 on the day. This year, the line-up is being kept secret until Friday itself, but the upwards price trend can already be seen across bitcoin exchanges. Interestingly, on November 26, a bitcoin was worth just under $350 – almost identical to the same day in 2014.
Consumers looking to take advantage of Bitcoin-only deals from retailers are able to convert fiat currencies on exchanges for use on the relevant websites. Preliminary lists of deals are already appearing in the mainstream press, with products and services on offer covering everything from domain names to beef jerky.
2014’s event was widely considered a success, with BitPay reporting 82% more retailers completing BTC transactions compared to the same day in 2013, while overall sales for traditional Black Friday fell 11%. This year, Holmquist has been ramping up the preparations even more, focusing as much on PR as merchant recruitment.
…Or a Flash in the Pan?
Underneath the hood, however, all may not be as it seems. The list of retailers, which have registered for Black Friday 2015 currently, only numbers 150, a far cry from the 600 Holmquist proudly presented a year ago. He explained the reason for the sharp contrast in numbers to Bitcoin.com:
“This year we’re really focusing on making sure the merchants who participate are quality merchants. So using the amount of participating merchants isn’t going to be very telling to show the growth. This year the number we’re trying to grow is the amount of BTC spent. So far, I think our consumers are going to be very happy with the deals we’ve manage to get for them.”
Indeed, with renewed activity recently centered on Bitcoin exchange, this year’s event, coming the day after Thanksgiving, could well prove to be an attractive alternative to spending cash in the standard fashion. Bitcoin.com has also published a dedicated guide, ‘How to Explain Bitcoin to Your Family This Thanksgiving’, to help spread the word.
“Last year we had a number of merchants who were new or selling fairly irrelevant products complain that they weren’t getting any sales,” Holmquist continued. “We decided that Bitcoiners will only purchase from trusted brands, and tend to focus on certain gifts and products. The merchants offering those items are who we focused on reaching out to this year.”
Some deals are already out of the bag. Purse.io users, for example, can save 10% on Amazon orders while Bitcoin-friendly VPN provider PureVPN is offering 2 years’ use of its product for $49 if purchased with Bitcoin on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can also check out Mixedtees.com, which has a Star Wars theme for this year’s Black Friday.
When asked what kind of projections we can expect this year, Holmquist replied:
“It’s always a big question of how well the sale will do. Luckily the Bitcoin price seems to be rising right now. if it continues to rise or stay at the current level I expect a moderate increase in the amount of sales volume this year.”
If you’re a merchant, you can sign up to participate here for Bitcoin Black Friday 2015, and take advantage of step-by-step information on how to get the most out of this year’s event.
Will you be taking part in this year’s Bitcoin Black Friday? Know of any special deals for bitcoin? Share below!
Featured image courtesy of nbcnews, bitpay, youtube