We recently ran a poll among Twitter followers, asking people to explain what makes them interested in paying with crypto (implied, using a decentralized payment network) at the point of sale.
The three choices that were given represent the three main benefits of a decentralized payment network as we see it. We asked respondents to prioritize these benefits as it relates to them personally and whether they would consider paying through an alternative payment network with cryptocurrency, and why.
Privacy is something that you simply do not get with the regular credit/debit payment networks. Your purchase data can be lifted (hacked, subpoenaed, etc.) from payment gateways, payment processors, payment network own databases (Visa, MC, Amex, etc), acquiring bank, issuing bank. Unfortunately, you have practically zero control over protecting this data.
We realize that privacy can be used to hide things that are not legitimate; however, we believe that privacy is a fundamental right people have (consistent with the latest GDPR guidelines).
If you have ever tried to pay for things overseas, you know that it’s not trivial. From little things like getting hit with foreign fees on every transaction (sometimes equaling or exceeding the amount of the transaction), to having the card be blocked based on bank rules, OFAC lists, etc. If you’ve ever been in a situation when you card is declined, you don’t have cash, and you’re stranded in a foreign land, with limited use of the language – you will know exactly how important being able to transact cross borders without any artificial limitations is.
Credit card fees
This category was the clear winner of the poll, and for a good reason!
Most of credit cards (issuing banks really) employ a “got you” type of business model. They offer attractive introductory rates and purchase rewards, only to slap you with all sorts of fees and charges, should you be late with your payment; and since everyone is late at one time or another, this becomes an incredibly profitable business model, where the consumer is made to believe it was their own mistake that lead them to having to pay up.
People have also commented that another big reason they want to use a decentralized payment network is to “stick it” to big banks. This is an understandable sentiment, considering how much money those banks make on people and how unfairly stacked the system is to the little guy.
People often think of cryptocurrency payments at the point of sale or ecommerce as just a way to spend the value they have accumulated, where in reality it can be much more than that if paired up with the payment processing network that is ubiquidous, private at the core, and capable of serving as an alternative to bank-backed credit / debit cards.
This type utility, however, isn’t going to be achieved by a centralized payment gateway – it requires a real, decentralized payment NETWORK behind it.
We test our hypothesis periodically to make sure that we don’t work on something that’s not connected to the market needs, so this type of polling helps us stay on track. Thanks to everyone who participated!