Add used cars to the list of products you can now buy with a currency that didn’t even exist a decade ago.
Beepi, a two-month-old company that operates an online market for used-car sales, will start accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, CEO Ale Resnik told Re/code in a recent interview. Beepi is working with bitcoin payment processor Bitpay to make it possible.
While some niche sites allow for used-car purchases with bitcoin, Beepi says it’s the first peer-to-peer car marketplace to accept the virtual currency.
“We’re making buying a car fast, fun and easy, and what’s more fun than paying for a car with bitcoin?” Resnik said.
Over the past year, e-commerce companies such as Overstock.com, NewEgg and Expedia have started accepting bitcoin as the digital currency grabbed the media spotlight and its value rose, dropped and rose again. Still, there’s currently little incentive to make purchases with bitcoin unless you bought into the craze when its value was much lower than the current $619. Bitpay competitor Coinbase is trying to change that by making it easy for online businesses to automatically provide a discount to anyone who pays with bitcoin. Why would merchants do that? Bitcoin transaction fees charged to merchants are typically much lower than fees associated with credit card purchases.
Bitpay will convert bitcoin purchases to U.S. dollars, so neither Beepi nor the car seller will ever touch the currency.
Car sellers go to Beepi.com and enter in the basics about their car, and Beepi provides the person with a quote that the company says will always be $1,000 higher than a dealer will pay. Beepi sends out its own inspector to make sure the car is in good condition before listing it on the site. If the car doesn’t sell in 30 days, Beepi buys it and re-lists it on the marketplace. Buyers in California get the car delivered to them free, wrapped in a bow and all. Out-of-state buyers currently pay between $600 and $999 for delivery.
Based on the first two months of sales, Beepi should generate at least $6 million in gross sales in its first year in business, according to its CEO. The company takes a nine percent cut of each car sale.
The California-based startup announced a $5 million investment led by Redpoint Ventures in April.