Bits for Diamonds: Bucking the Merchant Acceptance Trend
According to a new report from JPMorgan as seen in Bloomberg and Business Insider, merchant acceptance of bitcoin, the world’s leading digital currency, is at an all-time low. Out of the top 500 internet portal, only three accept bitcoin, down from five last year. That decline according to the report signals a “striking discrepancy” to the explosive climb in the price of bitcoin in 2017.
Trade Some ‘Bits’ for Diamonds
In a noteworthy move bucking this trend, international diamond jewelry brand Samer Halimeh New York announced that it had become the world’s first diamond dealer and ‘Bond Street’ level jeweler to start trading and retailing in bitcoin. Headquartered in Manhattan with a global flagship store in Central London, the luxury diamond brand is utilizing BitPay as its merchant services provider. This online portal will host the firm’s bitcoin wallet and bitcoin holdings for trading.
For business-to-business activities, Samer Halimeh New York will accept bitcoin as payment for purchasing and trading diamonds. For business-to-consumer retailing, the brand will accept bitcoin as payment for jewelry and individual diamonds, provide clients with jewelry priced in BTC.
This move is a strategic response to a growing number of clients over the past eight months – predominantly from Asia and the Middle East – that have requested an option for purchasing diamonds using bitcoin. This, according to company officials is the result of a rising number of people now wanting to divest some of their bitcoin holdings in exchange for hard/real investment assets such as diamonds, gold, art and fine wine.
The Samer Halimeh diamond brand specializes in colored and rare diamonds ranging from D Flawless to GH VS stones. The brand deals exclusively in GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Certified Diamonds all sourced directly from local mines in South Africa, with pieces cut and handcrafted in the company’s workshop/factory in New York.
The company provides clients with finished jewelry; bespoke pieces created from loose diamonds that can take up to four to six weeks to make; refashioned heirloom pieces in new settings; and rare diamonds purchased by discerning collectors. Samer Halimeh New York clients include A-list celebrities Angelina Jolie, P Diddy, Naomi Campbell, Elton John, and Oprah Winfrey.
Says Samer Halimeh, Chief Executive of Samer Halimeh NY about their decision to embrace the retail use of bitcoin:
“We are the first diamond dealer and ‘Bond Street’ level luxury jeweler to start accepting and trading using bitcoin. This is because we have seen rising inquiries for this digital currency from clients, suppliers and trading partners. Our high-net-worth clients and contacts are currently holding large quantities of bitcoins within their investment portfolios and have decided to exchange some of their stock for hard assets such as diamonds, artwork, gold and fine wine.”
He goes on to note that because trading and retailing via bitcoin can be done from anywhere in the world, it is especially beneficial for their company suppliers in Africa and as well as their clients from developing countries like China, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, India, and Uzbekistan. He believes that in the future the cryptocurrency will revolutionise the luxury goods marketplace, with the use of digital currency making trading and purchases for their clients and contacts easier, cheaper and much faster.
Bitcoin and the Luxury Industry
Halimeh adds: “When it was in its infancy five years ago a lot of bitcoin retail trading was discount retailers, then over the last couple of years it has gradually gone upmarket with portals buying and selling previously-owned but high-quality goods in bitcoin with retail luxury goods including Ferrari cars, Mercedes-Benz sports cars, Rolex watches and jewelry. What’s happening now is that luxury goods retailers like ourselves are directly accepting Bitcoins for brand new luxury goods. Lamborghini supercars, London’s Dadiani Art Gallery, luxury yacht broker Nami are now all accepting bitcoin as currency.
“As I understand it Samer Halimeh New York is the first Bond Street level diamond dealer and luxury jeweller to start price listing and accepting bitcoin. I personally believe that this will open the floodgates, because where one high-profile brand in a sector leads, others always follow.”