Gucci Furthers Its Stake in Blockchain
Gucci strengthens its Web3 ecosystem by accepting cryptocurrencies in its US stores starting this month.
Italian luxury fashion house Gucci has announced that it will expand its mode of payment to include more than ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Shiba Inu and the five stablecoins pegged to the US dollar. This move marked the first endorsement by a major player in the fashion industry.
In a report by Vogue Business, Gucci will pilot this new payment method in some of its stores in the US, mainly in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas and Atlanta. The brand aims to roll this out to its directly operated stores in the US by the end of this summer.
Offering cryptocurrencies as a payment option is nothing new in the fashion industry. Other brands like Philipp Plein and Off-White have already started accepting it as early as 2021. But what makes Gucci different from its competitors is its vision of building a whole ecosystem using Web3.
The brand’s first foray into using blockchain can be traced back to the release of its first NFT project inspired by its “Gucci Aria” collection. Then on, Gucci ventured further into the metaverse space by purchasing virtual land in the decentralised blockchain game The Sandbox. It uses the digital real estate to build its online community, and complementing this is the Gucci Vault Discord channel. Gucci has since shared its two latest NFT projects, SuperGucci and Gucci Grail, on the server.
“Gucci is always looking to embrace new technologies when they can provide an enhanced experience for our customers,” said Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Now that we are able to integrate cryptocurrencies within our payment system, it is a natural evolution for those customers who would like to have this option available to them.”
While it is excellent that Gucci is looking to integrate blockchain into its business model, there are also concerns concerning this nascent endeavour. More prominent companies like Tesla had once accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment but rescinded the offer because of the implications to the environment and certain areas of the law.
A potential point that could disrupt the smooth adoption of cryptocurrency is the problem of using luxury goods from brands like Gucci to launder money. The nature of luxury goods is such that it is highly liquidable and has strong demand. This makes it easy for criminals to inject the “dirty money” back into the economy without much obstruction. Should brands want to see cryptocurrency payment flourish, it would then need to strengthen their ESG mandate to give the local authorities and users the confidence they need to continue using it.
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