Satoshi Nakamoto released the first globally distributed ledger in 2009. The massive ripple effect that followed would have been limited if the project wasn’t open source, which allowed anyone to modify it and create their own P2P network.
Within a decade of blockchain technology introducing itself to the world, we’ve seen thousands of projects pop up, all claiming to have an integral part to play in the crypto revolution. While the possibilities stemming from the permissionless project were intentional, Bitcoin may only need a handful of partners to make its widespread use a reality.
If Bitcoin remains the king of digitally stored value, what does the crypto-court look like? Will software “scaffolding” in the form of altcoins be necessary in the initial stages of mass adoption, allowing Bitcoin to stand on its own eventually? Or will there always be a place for hundreds of blockchains all doing their part to sustain a thriving ecosystem?
It seems that altcoins will play a vital role in the expanding use of cryptocurrencies from here on out. Whether their solutions will be absorbed by Bitcoin protocols remain to be seen.
The development and implementation of payment gateways will play a vital role in the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. Businesses of all shapes and sizes will need a way to accept cryptocurrencies without taking on the risk they currently imply.
Here are 3 different payment gateway models allowing merchants to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
Founded within 3 years of Bitcoin’s release, Coinbase has claimed its spot as the most popular exchange for new investors. Getting into cryptocurrencies has never been easier. Users can instantly purchase and sell cryptocurrencies by linking their Coinbase account to their bank or credit card.
Coinbase continues to be one of the largest exchanges in the world, and since it operates out of the United States, it’s required to follow all US currency laws and regulations. In a largely unregulated market, this creates a trustworthy option for new and seasoned investors alike.
The platform allows traders to invest directly in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. What’s more, users are able to hold USD in their on-platform wallet, providing a convenient safehaven for funds that would otherwise be exposed to volatility, without having to interact with their bank.
Aside from trading coins on their platform, Coinbase allows merchants to accept cryptos as payment for their business with relative ease. Their merchant app allows sellers to accept cryptocurrencies, and instantly convert them to fiat to avoid price fluctuations.
There are several ways that merchants can integrate the merchant app with their business. A payment button can be added to your website or blog, shopping cart plugins for eCommerce stores, or custom integration APIs.
Shopify, one of the leading eCommerce platforms, supports Coinbase integration, and already has thousands of users accepting crypto payments. For many reasons, Coinbase is the go-to option for established businesses to link their bank accounts to the ever-expanding cryptocurrency market.
Merchants using Coinbase as their payment gateway can expect to pay a 1% fee on all their transactions, further cementing it as one of the top options for business worldwide.
For enterprises without their own bank account, GoURL offers a unique solution. Their platform is able to integrate with a wide variety of Bitcoin wallets, offering an anonymous solution for its users.
Founded in 2014, GoURL currently has more than 18,000 customers from all over the globe, with more and more websites joining the platform daily.
Buyers paying for a product or service through GoURL will see a payment box on their screen, allowing them to transfer coins to the merchant. Within 5 seconds of the payment being made, the buyer will see a confirmation directly on the merchant’s website.
Much like Coinbase, the GoURL platform also offers a highly sought-after WordPress plug-in, making it simple for online businesses to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. The plug-in is allows for easily managed orders, and payments rarely take more than 30 seconds to be completed. Payments made through a website are currently charged a 1.5% fee.
For merchants without their own website, GoURL offers a service called Monetiser Online. Musicians, photographers, videographers, or any of the like will be able to sell their digital files with a simple form on the GoURL website. Payments made with the Monetiser Online system will be charged 3.5% of the transaction.
The benefits of GoURL are currently limited to business owners who prefer to steer clear of centralized banking services. The GoURL platform doesn’t support direct bank transfers; however, payments can be forwarded to third-party crypto trading platforms and exchanged for fiat currency with an “autosell” feature. The downside to this method is that it takes 1-2 hours before the exchange for fiat is complete.
MenaPay is currently developing a payment gateway that will consist of two separate cryptocurrencies. MenaPay (MPAY) will be the initial token available for purchase during their public ICO.
While MenaPay is an ERC-20 token, transactional security and speed will be ensured with the private blockchain technology of MenaCash, which is 100% backed by USD at a 1:1 ratio.
The Islamic-compliant crypto solution is focusing on adoption in the Middle East and North Africa. Among the countries in the MENA region, MenaPay is setting out with the ambitious goal to serve 420 million individuals across 18 different countries.
Regular banking tools are largely not used in the Middle East and Africa Region due to the conservative practice of Islam and the poor banking system. The region also has a very fragmented structure with multiple currencies. MenaPay brings a 100% Islamic, non-bank digital solution, using blockchain to create a single currency to be used in everyday and cross-border transactions.
— MenaPay One-Pager
The team also plans to implement what they call Green Mining, where every Peer-to-Merchant transaction conducted with MenaCash will be rewarded with MenaPay tokens.
The MenaCash Stable Coin
Having a stable coin specifically made to follow Sharia Law may prove to be extremely useful for an already massive market. The laws of Islamic banking prohibit the implementation of interest on loans, while encouraging Mudarabah, which equates to profit sharing.
Therefore, MenaPay will distribute 75% of total revenue and profit to MenaPay holders, collected from a variety of Peer-to-Peer, Peer-to-Merchant, and Merchant-to-Foundation fees.
After the project is up and running, their native stable coin will be the primary currency used for the platform’s transactions. As previously mentioned, MenaCash will be pegged to the US dollar, meaning 1 MenaCash will always equal US$1, allowing merchants to make simple cash-outs from the MenaPay Foundation.
In order to further encourage businesses to use their cryptocurrency, MenaPay will offer desktop and mobile wallets, APIs and SDKs for third-party integration, and a “reporting and a management dashboard for merchants.” To serve the Islamic regions of MENA, all user interfaces will be in Arabic.
Their roadmap shows their goals of being listed by a top 10 exchange by the end of 2018 and reaching 5 million users by May 2019. The large MenaPay team plans to achieve a US$1 billion market cap by mid-2019 by offering special discounts to premium merchants using MenaPay, strong local marketing, building a reseller network that operates offline, and gaining the support of influencers in their respective regions.
Merchants are finding it easier than ever to cater to crypto enthusiasts, aiding the adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. With all the options available on the market today, enterprises of all kinds will be able to get into the cryptosphere in a particularly meaningful way.
How these payment gateways can help accelerate the mass adoption of crypto remains to be seen, but with the industry in an early stage, the available platforms are forming a promising foundation for growth.