Cryptocurrency is becoming more accepted all the time. Once (and not so long ago) viewed with suspicion and uncertainty, the technology now generates positive headlines on a pretty regular basis.
Still, it’s not exactly mainstream yet. While speculation is rife and the ICO industry appears to be booming, use of cryptocurrency in everyday situations as a means of payment seems to be a long way off.
In particular, real world sellers seem to be slow on the uptake when it comes to accepting crypto payments. This is in spite of the technology’s rising public profile and the many advantages it offers.
In fact, a lot of offline merchants do see the potential, with around a third believing that crypto payments will be widely accepted in offline stores within two years. But that optimism doesn’t really line up with the reality — try going to your local town center and using cryptocurrency to pay for just about anything.
So how can we nudge crypto closer to mainstream acceptance? It shouldn’t be difficult to make a compelling case for it, as crypto comes with a ton of big plus points for businesses.
It’s transparent and easy to trace, secure, avoids chargebacks and fraud, has the potential for low fee compared to traditional payment methods, convenient, and makes businesses look tech-savvy and forward-thinking.
But businesses often know all this — the reason they’re wary is because, for them, the drawbacks outweigh the advantages.
What’s holding businesses back?
The reason for high street businesses’ wariness of crypto can be boiled down to two main issues: transaction times and volatility.
Let’s take the first issue of transaction times. Cryptocurrency transactions right now can take an enormously long time to complete — sometimes in excess of an hour. This is down to factors like consensus mechanisms and overly busy networks.
This length of time isn’t so bad in an online transaction, where users aren’t compelled to wait around until it’s finalized. In a high street store though, a wait of more than a few seconds is a big inconvenience for buyers and sellers alike.
Simply put, the owner of your local coffee shop isn’t prepared to risk reputational suicide by having customers wait around for an eternity whenever they buy a drink.
This issue alone is a deal breaker for many merchants. But the second issue, volatility, can be even more of a deterrent to adopting crypto payments.
It’s no secret that cryptocurrencies can fluctuate in value quite a bit. You can buy a certain amount of cryptocurrency in the morning, and thanks to big price changes that same amount might be worth significantly less by dinner time.
That’s a real problem for businesses. If a high street seller accepts a payment, they’ll be expecting that payment to be worth more or less exactly the same at the close of business. With crypto, it could be worth a lot less when they come to exchange it.
That amounts to a very real loss of profits, and it’s not a die that most businesses are prepared to roll.
If we’re to promote wider crypto acceptance in the offline world, and deliver the benefits to both buyers and sellers, we need to eliminate these problems and make crypto more attractive so these two cons don’t get in the way of all the pros. But how?
Making cryptocurrency offline friendly
A company called Tosblock (T.OS) is dedicated to bringing crypto payments to the high street and brick and mortar shops by addressing the two stumbling blocks mentioned above.
They use two crypto tokens to do this. The first, called TOSC, can be purchased at normal crypto exchanges. It’s like most other cryptocurrencies, and its price is subject to fluctuation, so it isn’t ideal for use in brick-and-mortar stores. It is, however, geared towards fast and efficient transactions.
But it doesn’t end there. Users can trade their TOSC for another token, called TOSP, at special exchanges, like the one currently based in Singapore.
TOSP doesn’t suffer from the same fluctuation issues, as it has a fixed value pegged to the local fiat currency. That means 1 TOSP in Paris would be worth 1 Euro, and 1 TOSP in London would be worth 1 Pound.
This way, the T.OS system allows for quick transactions without the worry of volatility. It aims to encourage more widespread use of cryptocurrency in offline stores, by addressing sellers’ main concerns.
Tether (USDT) is literally a coin which is pegged to US Dollars. One USDT coin will always be worth around $1, and can be used as a very stable coin or payment method.
Cryptocurrency has the potential to change the way we pay for things both online and offline, and the sooner we address the current flaws the sooner offline crypto payments could be a reality for everyone.
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