As interest in the metaverse has taken off, interest in digital currency has also grown. The crypto market has seen a whirlwind of change, with many retailers beginning to accept digital currencies in recent years. In 2022, companies like DTC retailer Alo Yoga and Gucci expanded their payment options to include cryptocurrency. 

The crypto hype struck enough of a chord that some retailers began to recruit specialists in the space. Just a year prior, Walmart was in search of a leader for digital and cryptocurrency products. The job posting described the position as someone who would focus on digital currency strategy, identify customer needs and search for related investments and partnerships. 

Despite interest in crypto, some retailers have put an end to their crypto offerings or backed away. Many retailers expanded their payment options to include crypto last year, but the discussion around the payment method has since quieted, with fewer announcements from brands.

Martha Bennett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said that crypto still remains volatile. The market has little broad interest with almost no new money coming in, Bennett says.

“[Cryptocurrency] didn’t solve any problems in payments,” Bennett said. “People will always say, ‘Yeah, but it’s instant, and everything,’ but that’s much more easily and cheaply replaced with a real-time payment system.”

“So, there isn’t really a reason for retailers to even say you can pay with cryptocurrency here, unless they can see an uplift from the cryptocurrency community and I don’t think there’s so much of that,” Bennett said.

After a rocky few years of crypto in retail, here is what three retailers’ approach to the technology says about the market.


In 2021, Pacsun dubbed itself the first youth fashion retailer to accept cryptocurrency through BitPay, a blockchain payment provider. 

Pacsun’s decision to accept crypto stemmed from its target consumer Gen Z. The company also noted at the time of the announcement that its digital sales doubled from the previous year. Gen Z’s proficiency with tech and social media platforms means the generation is often one of the first to hop on digital trends. 

Not every retailer targeting Gen Z also accepts crypto. American Eagle, another retailer in the young adult fashion sector said it would not accept crypto for NFTs in 2022. At the CommerceNext conference in June last year, American Eagle Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers said its 15- to 25-year-old customer wasn’t ready for cryptocurrency.

When asked if the retailer still accepts cryptocurrency, Pacsun declined to comment. A list of payment methods on the retailer’s website includes a passing mention to BitPay, but it is not specifically listed as an available payment option.

As some retailers back away from crypto, it’s possible Pacsun’s target audience wasn’t a match.

When asked about the demographic of typical crypto users, Bennett said the data shows males aged 25 to 35, noticeably older than Pacsun’s target audience. Bennett noted that Gen Z is less interested than the next generation up, though it’s hard to get samples of statistical significance on crypto users.

“Almost stereotypical,” Bennett said. “I mean, yes, there are sprinklings quite widely around the age groups. It’s often those that do use cryptocurrency for making a payment, it is mainly males between 25 and 35 and some in the next 10-year age group.” 


Even some retailers that dove head-first into crypto have since backed away. For companies with other financial distractions, an investment in crypto isn’t certain to provide a return.

GameStop beta launched its digital asset wallet, dubbed GameStop Wallet, in May 2022. It allowed consumers to store, send, receive and use non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrency. The company launched the beta version of its NFT marketplace a few months later in July 2022. 

Now-CEO Ryan Cohen initiated the company’s push to transform into a technology business during his role as board chairman. Cohen bought a financial stake in GameStop in 2020 and became an activist investor in 2021 with a mission to turn the retailer into a tech company after a history of what Cohen called “secular decline.”

This June, GameStop’s former CEO Matt Furlong was terminated and Cohen was named executive chairman before becoming CEO in September.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *