Ulmart, Russia’s largest online retailer, plans to start accepting bitcoin as a form of payment from 1 September 2017 as technology has continued to evolve and blockchain has arguably become even more important than the currency it created.
Currently, Ulmart sells close to 150,000 SKU in its “first-party seller” format. With the launch of marketplace, the company is slowly building out its online inventory. By year-end an additional one million items could be on offer from “third-party sellers.”
“Ulmart started closely monitoring the market and regulatory environment for the use of crypto-currency in Russia as early as March 2014. As the blockchain technology is coming into our operations to fight counterfeit items, we see that the mystery that existed around the bitcoin three years ago has significantly receded,” explained Dmitry Kostygin, the Chairman and majority shareholder of Ulmart.
While the company has not yet decided which products will be available for purchase by the bitcoin, it expects that the higher-priced ones will be targeted first. Items such as used cars and apartments, which may soon be sold via the marketplace, will be well positioned for purchase by the bitcoin.
Brian Kean, Chief International Officer of Ulmart, commented: “Life is ever in flux. The bitcoin was created to offer security against fluctuations in hard currency. As the technology behind the crypto-currency slips unseen into our everyday lives via the Internet of Things, it has become one of those ‘why not’ moments. Tomorrow is today in the world of blockchain and as a leader Ulmart strives to be ahead of the market. We welcome the willingness that the Russian government has demonstrated with regards to the review of the bitcoin technology and look forward to cooperating with it in this area. Ulmart believes such initiatives as bitcoin can be part of the efforts to develop ‘smart’ economy and cities and will aim to play a major role in this process.”
Ulmart is Russia’s largest privately held Internet company specializing in e-commerce. The company was founded in 2008, and its headquarters are located in St. Petersburg. Ulmart has over 450 infrastructure facilities (fulfilment centres and pick-up points) in more than 240 cities and towns