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Crypto is another step closer to mainstream acceptance as a payment method—if buying $1,250 hoodies that come pre-destroyed can be considered mainstream, that is.
The move makes Balenciaga the latest legacy fashion brand to embrace cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Earlier this month, Gucci announced that it would begin permitting crypto payments online and at five in-store locations. Gucci currently accepts cryptocurrencies , , , , , and as payment.
Balenciaga will initially permit payment only in Bitcoin or Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, but plans to expand the program to other coins in due time.
Luxury fashion is no stranger to Web3. The last year has seen numerous legacy brands, including Balenciaga, Gucci, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry, launch NFT collections and metaverse pop-ups. As traditional as these brands are in some respects, they’re all seemingly aligned on digital fashion as a business opportunity: According to several industry experts who spoke to Decrypt in October, the digital fashion industry could eventually approach or even match the $2 trillion value of the physical fashion market.
In December, Balenciaga announced the formation of an in-house metaverse business unit. While Cédric Charbit, the label’s CEO, declined to reveal anything to the WSJ regarding the unit’s plans or long-term strategy, he did say that he sees “the metaverse as a country,” a market just as important as any nation the brand currently operates in.
The news of Balenciaga’s embrace of cryptocurrencies comes as many believe the crypto market is entering another Crypto Winter. The amount of Bitcoin necessary to purchase a $1,250 Balenciaga hoodie in November would be worth a little under $563 today. But the turbulence of the crypto market does not intimidate the brand’s leadership. When asked if the market’s recent crash affected Balenciaga’s position on crypto, Charbit simply replied that his thinking was “long-term.”