Customers of the auction site GunBroker.com may soon be able to use cryptocurrency to purchase firearms and accessories, according to a January 29 press release from blockchain and digital currency developer ICOx Innovations (ICOx).
According to ICOx, it has been contracted by FreedomCoin LLC to develop a stablecoin/utility token, dubbed FreedomCoin, specifically for customer purchases on the site. The new token, which will utilize the BitRail blockchain platform, will be designed to peg 1:1 to the US dollar; users can purchase FreedomCoins with dollars and then use the coin to make purchases.
GunBroker.com is an auction site akin to eBay, meaning that business is done between individuals. To facilitate purchases using FreedomCoin, both parties would seemingly need to have a wallet connected to their account. FreedomCoin says it complies with all anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.
According to Steven F. Urvan, CEO and CTO at GunBroker.com, the new payment method is intended to circumvent the hassles and red tape associated with using a credit or debit card when purchasing a firearm:
"Anyone who has purchased a firearm knows how painstakingly brutal it can be to deal with traditional credit card companies and other financial institutions. Thanks to ICOx and BitRail, now we can virtually eliminate that problem and expose a whole new segment of gun and outdoor enthusiasts to the world of digital payments."
In September of last year, ETHNews spoke with Chris Lapinski, US Army veteran and operations manager at Last Stand Readiness and Tactical, located in Sacramento, California. Lapinski echoed Urvan's sentiment, claiming that when customers attempt to purchase a firearm with a credit or debit card, their purchase is often stalled by their financial institution at the point of sale. According to Lapinski, when this happens the customer is forced to call their bank to unlock their funds.
Yet payment processing troubles for firearm purchases may extend to crypto payment processors as well. In May of 2013 Lapinski says he decided to add bitcoin to his list of acceptable payment methods and for a while, things went very well. However, in an April 2017 blog post, Last Stand announced it was no longer able to accept payment in bitcoin because the payment processor it used, BitPay, closed its account "without warning." This was apparently based on an existing policy that its services not be used to purchase "ammunition, firearms, explosives (including fireworks), or weapons regulated under applicable law." This policy is also shared by popular crypto exchange Coinbase.
The release of this new stablecoin, then, marks a potential way around such barriers. The devil, though, is in the details: If yesterday's release is any indication, the coin has yet to be designed. And it's not yet clear how it will be released or what exchanges it might be available on.
According to a company fact sheet, GunBroker.com was created in 1999 and is the world's largest firearm auction site. The site contains roughly 750,000 active listings, has 3.5 million registered users, attracts an average of 6 million visitors every month, and has accumulated over $4 billion in merchandise sales.