Bridging the gap between cryptocurrency and the world of commerce continues to be a major focus of a number of blockchain ventures. It’s here where Munich, Germany-based startup BlockPay hopes to make a significant impact by providing merchants with a payment transaction innovation that supports their strategic business aims.
So what is BlockPay? In short, it’s a rapidly emerging blockchain-based solution that allows retail, grocery, restaurant, gas stations and other businesses to accept one or more digital currencies, all at zero cost. Among the currencies currently accepted are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Steem, EUR, USD, and the Chinese Yuan. Debit, credit, and gift cards will also be accepted as forms of payment.
A key goal of BlockPay is the mitigation of security and related business concerns that serve as a barrier to merchant acceptance of digital currencies. User friendliness of the payment system is another important goal. With just a couple of taps, businesses are able to provide customers with their amount due. The customer can then use their crypto wallet of choice to pay instantly via QR code or NFC. This then prompts the issuance of an “eReceipt” from BlockPay to the consumer’s phone, along with any loyalty points they’re due.
The merchant system is driven by a free, downloadable standalone app that syncs with an integrated system aligned with existing e-Commerce/POS systems like Odoo and SAP. Over forty different foreign languages are integrated into this infrastructure and merchants receive payment in their local currency.
Christoph Hering, Co-Founder & CEO at BitShares Munich, the decentralized exchange which powers BlockPay, started his career in the wealth management and B2B money transfer industry, managing international money transfers for clients. Says Hering: “During that time we were constantly approached by clients seeking a faster and cheaper settlement method. So we started to look into Bitcoin, Ripple, and BitShares and other related digital currency technologies. That’s where my passion for Blockchain-based financial systems, and now BlockPay, was sparked.”
Hering noted that he analyzed different technologies, markets, and prices in addition to having a lot of conversations with London Forex brokers and partners. It’s here where he came to the conclusion that most cryptocurrency solutions are not able to beat the traditional ones quite yet. “The fees with Bitcoin are too high. And Ripple? It still needed more gateways and had some technical aspects that were not suitable for us.”
Building Consumer Use
BlockPay systems function nicely with several existing mobile wallets such as Jaxx, Mycelium, Circle and Dash wallet. In addition, Echo, a special feature that’s directly integrated with BlockPay, provides users with an encrypted multi-currency, multi-asset wallet that combines privacy through an encrypted voice, video, and messaging application along with the ability to pay in a number of digital currencies.
Says Hering: “We built digital payment solutions like BlockPay and Echo in a way that combines the best features of WhatsApp and PayPal, all in one app. Echo encrypts all chat and media messages and 100% protects all user data. Echo also has multiple Blockchain wallets built in enabling users to transfer multiple currencies, including Bitcoin, via a P2P payment network. In addition, Echo users can easily deposit/withdraw funds using bank transfers, direct debit or credit cards.”
In an effort to expand the BlockPay ecosystem, a ‘Level 1’ campaign to initial investors was launched on Saturday, August 20th.
Additionally, a pre-ICO to crowdfund the BlockPay project began on August 23, 2016, in collaboration with the decentralized exchange platform OpenLedger, its economic enterprise engine ICOO (Initial Coin Offering OpenLedger) and the Denmark-based bitcoin exchange CCEDK.
In 2017, the full ICO will be hosted by Open Ledger.