Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is underpinned by cryptographic systems. “Crypto” uses cryptography to confirm transactions on a publicly distributed ledger called a blockchain, thereby, removing the need to rely on banks or other centralized authorities to verify or process transactions. Cryptocurrencies allow for peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries such as banks. They enable secure and fast transfer of digital assets globally via transactions that are verified and recorded on the blockchain through a process called mining. Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity due to several reasons, including the potential for financial privacy, lower transaction fees compared to traditional methods, and the ability to bypass traditional banking systems. They have also attracted attention as investment assets, with some cryptocurrencies experiencing significant price volatility.

Bitcoin, which launched in 2009, was the first cryptocurrency, while other cryptocurrencies, such as the Ethereum-hosted ETH, have grown as digital alternatives to money issued by governments. Bitcoin was developed by a programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who first described the crypto system in a 2008 white paper entitled, “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” in which he proposed “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash [that] would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

Crypto in Fashion

Amid rising awareness and adoption of cryptocurrencies in 2022, brands, including Gucci, Philipp Plein, and Off-White, among others, began enabling consumers to use cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, to purchase their products. Gucci, for example, announced in May 2022 that it would accept certain types of crypto in some of its U.S. stores, including its flagships on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and Wooster Street in New York.

The announcement came after Off-White revealed in April 2022 that it would follow in the footsteps of fellow fashion brand Philipp Plein (which became one of the first major fashion brands to accept crypto back in August 2021) and start accepting crypto payments in its flagship stores in Paris, Milan, and London. “This is another important step in the growth of the brand, that looks toward the future including Web3 technologies, understanding the needs and desires of its ever-evolving customer base,” the company said in a statement.