Birks Group to Accept Bitcoin Payments at Select Stores

Canadian jewelry retailer Birks Group will begin accepting bitcoin at select stores—making it the first luxury retailer in Canada to do so, according to a company statement.

The 26-store chain will accept bitcoin payments using BitPay in eight of its stores, including its recently opened Graff and Patek Phillipe stores in Vancouver and five Maison Birks stores: Vancouver, Fairview Mall, Toronto, Yorkdale, Montreal (pictured), and Brinkhaus in Calgary.

“Birks Group has a large number of international shoppers, so allowing them to pay in bitcoin makes perfect sense,” said Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer of BitPay, in a statement.

BitPay is an Atlanta-based bitcoin processing service that offers bitcoin payment options to brick-and-mortar merchants.

Jean-Christophe Bédos, president and CEO of Birks Group, said in the same statement that he considers this to be a significant move for the retailer.

“As an internationally growing brand…we look to align ourselves with these innovative capabilities that are on the forefront of technology,” he said.

In the United States, several jewelry retailers currently accept bitcoin, including mall chain chain Reeds, Silicon Valley jeweler S.H. Silver, and e-tailers Allurez and Since1910.

Bitcoin was purportedly invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (whose real identity remains a mystery). Units of the cryptocurrency are created through digital “mines” that involve hundreds of computers scattered across the globe.

Originally valued at less than a penny, the appraisal of the world’s largest digital currency soared to nearly $20,000 in December 2017. Its value has since crashed to around $4,000, down more than 70 percent from its peak.

According to statistics published in Bitcoin Market Journal, 22 million bitcoin wallets have been set up globally, and an estimated 5 percent of Americans hold at least some bitcoins.

BitPay’s vice president of marketing talked to JCK senior editor Emili Vesilind in 2014.

(Image courtesy of Birks Group)

JCK News Director