Self-Service Trends

Crypto in the Unattended Retail Market: An exclusive with our CTO, Ravi Venkatesan

May 24, 2021 | By Madison Barr

Crypto in the Unattended Retail Market: An exclusive with our CTO, Ravi Venkatesan

Cryptocurrency is today’s hot topic in the finance world, and it is here to stay according to our CTO, Ravi Venkatesan, who discussed the history and future of crypto in this exclusive interview with Vending Market Watch. In the interview, Ravi educates us on complex topics, such as what crypto is, why it’s here, and, how it will impact the unattended retail market.  

Here are the top 5 points we don’t want you to miss: 

  1. How does Cantaloupe foresee the adoption of crypto impacting payment acceptance in retail, creating a payment alternative? How is this a breakthrough for the unbanked and underbanked?  Ravi explains that the experience of purchasing retail without an attendant requires a level of technical sophistication. Adding the capability to accept crypto is an extension of that sophistication, which gives consumers many ways to pay for products however they want to – credit, debit, mobile wallet, crypto, and more.  

    Additionally, crypto is available to everyone. Ravi states, “digital coins can level the playing field for underbanked or unbanked individuals. It gives them much more of an opportunity to be players in a world that’s moving to digital payments.” This includes accessing reward programs, which can incentivize consumers to pay with crypto in a way that can’t be done with debit cards or cash.   

    “Crypto acceptance is another way to give consumers more choice and flexibility in the way they want to buy goods and services. From the first credit card reader, to enabling mobile wallets, we continue to prioritize inclusivity in how we evolve to meet the changing needs of consumers” states Ravi.  

    At Cantaloupe (formerly USA Technologies) it is our vision to help the world buy it and go.  We do this by consistently innovating the types of payments our devices accept to engage customers and optimize sales. See how our payment acceptance types have evolved over 27 years. While credit/debit cards originated cashless payments, crypto will carry it into the future.  

    Chart: The Evolution of Digital Payments at Cantaloupe
The Evolution of Cantaloupe's Accepted Cashless Payment Types Timeline
  1. How steep is the learning curve for operators and their consumers to accept crypto and begin adoption?  Good news, the learning curve for operators is non-existent. You don’t need to know much about crypto to accept it as a payment type. For operators, the ability to accept crypto on their devices will virtually be the same as their ability to accept Apple Wallet or Visa cards. It’s a functionality that is activated on their devices, offering consumers more ways to buy products. 
  1. How will operators get paid if consumers purchase with crypto? This is an important question with an easy answer, operators get paid in U.S. dollars! Ravi states “if you are an operator of a business that has, for example, vending machine and cafeteria installations in 10 office buildings, then all you do is let the location know that cryptocurrency has been turned on as an additional payment option. And when you get paid, you still get paid in U.S. dollars, so you don’t have to worry about cryptocurrency exchange. Cryptocurrency acceptance is simply a convenience for the consumer.” 
  1. Who does the conversion? Our partner Bakkt, will manage the conversion from crypto to U.S. dollars. The conversion rate will be based on the market price of crypto at the time of the transaction. This  Vending Market Watch interview closely followed the partnership announcement between Cantaloupe and Bakkt. Together, we will enable consumers to pay for products using crypto. 
  1. Why is now the right time to introduce crypto acceptance? Ravi pointed out that crypto isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around since 2009.  He states there were “three systemic problems holding back cryptocurrency: high cost, low performance and lack of trust”. Now we are seeing established financial organizations like Pay Pal and MasterCard integrating crypto. As Ravi put it “once reputable companies begin addressing the trust problem and administering crypto transactions off the blockchain, they’re also solving cost and performance problems. And then by integrating with a company like Cantaloupe – and we have a large footprint with over a million devices out there where consumers interact and buy stuff. We’re now solving all the problems that were holding back crypto usage.” 

In the world of crypto there is always more to learn. If you’re interested in where the first bitcoin transaction took place, or how much energy a single bitcoin transaction consumes, we encourage you to read the complete Vending Market Watch article here.   


Madison Barr

Content Marketing Manager

Madison has over a decade of experience in marketing communications, she earned her B.A. from the University of Colorado Denver in 2011, and an M.A. in Communication Management from Denver University in 2017. She is passionate about integrating marketing, sales, and communications to drive business results.

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