Sanja Kon and UTRUST demystify Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
One of the most interesting talks at Retail Without Borders was presented by Sanja Kon from UTRUST. Sanja talked about how to enable borderless payments from anywhere in the world, and at far lower transaction rates than with traditional ecommerce finance providers.
When ecommerce started out we were still in the days of Cheques, Postal Orders and even resorting to sending cash through the post to complete payments. Banking facilities to enable accepting credit and debit cards were extortionately expensive and payment providers were picky about which small businesses they wanted to trade with until the likes of PayPal came along and democratised payments. Today it’s a snip to add a payment gateway to a website, but it’s still relatively expensive and merchants still face the conundrum of how to trade overseas without being stung for high exchange rates. Plus there is still the challenge of how to enable consumers in the the unbanked countries of the world to purchase online.
That’s where new technology such as the Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies come into play. While for many, these are still words describing the black magic of ecommerce and the payments world, UTRUST aims to democratise the BlockChain and make accepting cryptocurrencies easy and seamless.
How does UTRUST work?
In essence UTRUST is no more complicated than adding another payment button to your website – you probably already have a merchant bank facility for direct payments but may have added a PayPal or Amazon Pay button. Adding blockchain payments can be just as easy, there’s a bit of work in the background to set up your account but that’s a one off task and then consumers have the additional choice of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
Why bother with Blockchain?
You may well be thinking that hardly anyone (other than the real techy geeks) are using Blockchain, but you’d be wrong. It’s increasingly being used for high value purchases as it avoids fluctuations in currencies and more importantly it cuts out cost from the payment chain.
Normally there’s an issuing bank, a payment gateway, a payment processor, a card network, and an acquiring bank sitting between the consumer and the retailer and they all want to take a tiny cut of the payment. These costs all add up, but with Blockchain the transaction is stored in the cloud in a distributed network and the costs are limited to 1% fees for the merchant and no cost for the consumer.
The other reason for using Blockchain, unsurprisingly for a solution presented at Retail Without Borders, is that it’s a borderless solution. It doesn’t matter which country the consumer or retailer are in, it’s one seamless payment platform that just works. This is especially relevant when trading with consumers in countries where there is a low availability of bank accounts – consumers are able to load their cryptocurrency account with cash and then they can trade with the world.
I don’t want to accept Cryptocurrencies
You wouldn’t be alone in not wanting the hassle of managing crypto and with UTRUST you don’t have to.
There are some 4,000 and counting competing cryptocurrencies and some of them are volatile so with UTRUST as soon as a consumer makes a payment they cash out the crypto to a fiat currency (legal tender) – generally in your chosen currency which for UK merchants would be £ Sterling but could be dollars or Euros. Effectively the consumer gets to pay with whichever cryptocurrency they choose and you as the retailer get hard currency and the price you advertised.
Who should be interested in UTRUST?
If you are already a merchant of scale and sell overseas then UTRUST is a solution you should be considering. Is Crypto still new for ecommerce? Well yes you’ll be at the bleeding edge of payments but through the partnerships signed by UTRUST, almost 800K merchants will be able to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment option and it’s a proven payment system. You won’t suddenly see all of your transactions being processed through Blockchain but, especially if you offer high value items, over the next few years more and more consumers will want to pay with Cryptocurrencies and if you don’t accept them they’ll shop with merchants who do.
You can find out more about UTRUST on their website.