Payment Solutions With Blockchain
You can’t walk into any restaurant and expect your crypto to be accepted as payment. Cryptocurrencies may have gone mainstream but merchant adoption isn’t quite there yet. A Bitcoin is worth thousands of dollars but for some reasons, not every merchant is ready to accept some for her products or services. We take a look at several payment focused cryptocurrencies in this article: Paytomat / Pundi X / Lapo – aimed at making it easier for merchants to accept cryptocurrencies and for holders to spend their coins.
Over the last decade, cryptocurrencies have seen exponential increases in their prices. This has made it difficult for most holders to part with their coins and tokens. The cryptocurrencies simply became too valuable to spend. On the other hand, merchants would have to convert the crypto they receive as payments to local currencies on a daily basis to avoid having to stomach losses that might come with the frequent price swings. Merchants doing this daily conversion back to local currencies have to deal with liquidity problems. These are a few of the things limiting the spending of cryptocurrencies and merchant adoption. Let’s see how the above-mentioned payment solutions tackle these problems.
The above-stated hindrances to merchant adoption of cryptocurrencies are tackled by Paytomat. Their loyalty program is expected to encourage holders of cryptocurrencies to use them for payments. For the merchants, Paytomat would handle the receiving of payments as well as the conversion of payments back to fiat currencies.
You must have heard of other existing businesses like Bitpay that already provide similar services. You are also probably wondering why Paytomat needs a blockchain to do same. The answer is that Paytomat is planned to be a decentralized organization on its own. Also, the tokens on its blockchain, PTX and PTM are key in its incentive system. PTX tokens would serve as rewards for crypto holders who spend their coins using the Paytomat service. PTM tokens, in the same manner, would be used as rewards for merchants.
Paytomat offers a broad range of features to facilitate payments with cryptocurrencies. The service comes with a multi currency wallet and a map showing geographical locations of merchants. The wallet also allows instant exchange of cryptocurrencies when payments are made. The loyalty program is also expected to be in place by the end of 2018.
The Paytomat wallet would also come with advanced features like multisignature accounts and support for hardware wallets. There is also a special feature for bills payments as well as a “vault” for long-term holding.
Work Done So Far And What To Expect
The Paytomat service is already being used. Their wallet supports 11 cryptocurrencies. The purpose of the project, which is to allow merchants to easily accept cryptocurrencies, is already being achieved albeit on a small scale at the moment. Over 300 merchants use the service.
In terms of what to expect from Paytomat in the future, the focus would be on increasing the number of merchants using their service. The loyalty program to encourage payments with crypto is also in the works.
LAPO coin (LAX) is the stable coin of the LAPO platform. Stable coins are cryptocurrencies that retain all the cryptocurrency features, except for the volatility. They are often pegged to other stable currencies. One result of this is less risk for the users of the stable coin.
With LAPO (LAX), there would be the LAPO stability fund purposely set up to reduce the shocks from price swings. The fund would buy or sell LAX tokens at various times to control the volatility of the token. This sounds like something central banks do, if you ask me. It probably goes against what cryptocurrencies were created for, but actions taken to reduce the risk associated with the token makes sense.
The LAPO platform itself is also designed to help in the processing of crypto payments. It promises to provide businesses with the necessary set up to receive cryptocurrency payments at faster speeds and at lower costs.
Features Of LAPO
At the core of the services provided by LAPO is the point of sale app known as LAPO sales point. The app is for merchants to receive crypto payments easily using laptops, tablets or mobile phones. Merchants using LAPO would be able to create promotions and also advertise them on the LAPO platform.
LAPO also comes with a wallet that supports multiple cryptocurrencies. This wallet is expected to come with a welcoming user interface.
There is the trading platform as well. With this, users would be able to trade their cryptocurrencies. A positive from this is that the exchange is decentralized. Tokens or cryptocurrencies traded on the platform are exchanged directly to the wallets of the parties involved in a particular trade. Also, with the LAPO bank, tokens can be converted to local currencies directly.
Not So Good Signs
Mariyam, LAPO’s PR officer, told us that their test network would be open during the ICO. The ICO happens to be a week away. According to her, their new website which would better explain coin functionalities was also going to be released around the time of the ICO. Considering the fact that the link to the LAPO whitepaper on the official website leads somewhere else, a new website is in order. It must be said that not having the above done, with only a week left before their ICO, is not a very good sign.
All the same, we will keep our fingers crossed and see how the LAPO team proceeds.
Pundi X offers services similar to that of Paytomat and LAPO. The main solution they provide is helping merchants accept cryptocurrencies. Like the others, they also go a bit further to provide other products. Pundi wants to help developers and cryptocurrency holders reach more people with their products. They are “empowering blockchain developers and token holders to sell cryptocurrency and services at any physical store in the world.” This is new and brilliant. We all know tokens and cryptocurrencies are mostly traded online. This service by Pundi simply creates access to a lot of potential buyers that are not active on the internet. It may be hard to believe, especially in the developed world, that there exist a lot of people who are more comfortable buying things in brick and mortar stores than online. Also, with so many concerns about online scammers, selling cryptocurrencies and other related services and products in physical stores could work out well.
Buying Or Receiving Crypto With Pundi
Pundi enables its users to buy crypto with bank cards, local currencies, mobile phone or the Pundi X Pass.
By installing the Pundi wallets, a user can buy cryptocurrencies and also receive them as payment. The bank cards and cash can be used to purchase cryptocurrencies at the physical Pundi locations.
The other option is the Pundi X pass. The pass, which comes with a QR code, provides an added layer of security when buying and storing cryptocurrencies.
The Pundi POS device seems to be quite handy for merchants who accept cryptocurrencies. In addition to processing payments, the accompanying software can handle other store management tasks like inventory management. It can also handle reward programs. The device can be used with the Pundi mobile app and the X pass when making or receiving payments.
Putting All Three Together
Businesses helping merchants accept crypto is not a new thing. Bitpay, one of the pioneers in this area, has been helping businesses accept cryptocurrencies as well as converting them to local currencies. Bitpay is, however, not a cryptocurrency. The company does not have its own token either.
The three projects we looked at in this article come out with reasons for having blockchains as a part of the solution. The main reason for this has been the need for incentive systems and trading on the platforms’ own exchanges.
They are, however, at different stages of implementing their proposed solutions. Pundi X is ahead of the pack in this regard. They have working products that are already in use. Paytomat is working on reaching more merchants and users worldwide and LAPO is getting its ICO underway.
On paper, their solutions are great. Those that have been implemented so far are also working quite well. We will keep an eye on how such blockchain based solutions for crypto payments develop.