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Please take the title with a grain of salt. I couldn't make it short and also implying all that I am about to ask here.

Consider Yen devaluation. Forex traders constantly buy USD and sell JPY, or vice versa, based on news and events in politics and economy, or anticipation of the same.

Devaluation of Yen affects exporters and importers and, while it will have an effect on Japanese consumer, eventually, it is not that people in Japan today buy a sushi for 100 Yen and tomorrow for 102.1 yen, based on movements in USDJPY on Forex.

But what is an online store, that quotes goods both in Bitcoin and, say Ripple (but insert any alternative crypto currency here), to do in this situation? It has to have a fast and reliable access to some exchange current bid and ask and constantly update the prices of goods.

What are, if any, foreseeable solutions to this extra pressure on merchants who accept crypto-currencies?

How does it affect their customers who, implicitly, have to verify quotes in this or that currency in order to possibly get a better deal?

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But what is an online store, that quotes goods both in Bitcoin and, say Ripple (but insert any alternative crypto currency here), to do in this situation? It has to have a fast and reliable access to some exchange current bid and ask and constantly update the prices of goods.

Since you mentioned Ripple I'll give you a Ripple answer. If a merchant was using Ripple as a payment processor then the merchant would typically just price things in whatever currency they wish; probably their local currency, say USD. Almost certainly not in XRP (ripples). They'd completely ignore the exchange rates.

People paying via Ripple could use whatever currency they have access to by using any available credit paths and trade offers. That's what Ripple does and why it's called Ripple. The merchant doesn't have to worry about today's USD/JPY rate for a customer wishing to pay in Yen as long as someone is trading USD/JPY on Ripple. Or, if no one is trading USD/JPY at a good rate then one person trading (say) JPY/XRP and another USD/XRP is also good; Ripple will offer the person paying the best rate it can find. If someone wants to pay in HRS (hours) that they'll owe a friend that can work. The merchant recieves USD (or whatever they asked for).

How does it affect their customers who, implicitly, have to verify quotes in this or that currency in order to possibly get a better deal?

For the case of Ripple it's left up to the person paying to chose between the currency options they're given. Sadly the current interface for this no longer shows them the effect exchange rate so they're left figuring out which rates are reasonable for them.

  • Well, you can report this problem, I'm pretty sure they would consider fixing it... – o0'. Apr 15 '13 at 7:39
  • @Lohoris, I believe they removed the rate to simplify an already complicated page (at least others keep complaining it is complicated). – dchapes Apr 15 '13 at 9:07
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    Sure, but don't let the complainers win, complain yourself :P – o0'. Apr 15 '13 at 9:51
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    Both answers are good and I had trouble picking which one to accept. I have chosen this one because it goes into a bit more details. – Bitripple Apr 15 '13 at 15:03
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But what is an online store, that quotes goods both in Bitcoin and, say Ripple (but insert any alternative crypto currency here), to do in this situation? It has to have a fast and reliable access to some exchange current bid and ask and constantly update the prices of goods.

First off, would that really be so bad? I could write a program that polled exchanges, took the median of the exchange rates, and use that to price my goods.

Second, having prices that are slightly different because of changing exchange rates isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it can end up functioning as price discrimination. Price sensitive customers will look up the exchange rates and use the one that is less expensive. Price insensitive customers will use whatever is close at hand.

Because of this, how much you need to know about exchange rates is closely tied to how much your average customer knows.

  • I don't think it would be necessarily bad for consumer. I would love to be able to walk in BestBuy with a stash of Yens and buy something for less, knowing the exchange rate I can get at some exchange. It does complicate things for most people, however. IMO at least. – Bitripple Apr 15 '13 at 15:01

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