Increasing crypto adoption by merchants


#1

As it is right now, in all but a few cases “spending” your cryptocurrency is more or less synonymous with “exchanging it for national currency and then spending that”. It’s a good workaround, but generally unfortunate one for a number of reasons. Amount limits, pretty intrusive KYC done by the same entity that can link you your immutable public transactions, exchange rates and all the other quirks are just some of the issues. Needless to say, it would be much better, faster and way more comfortable to just pay directly with crypto. Like they do in China, but decentralized. But to get there, we must first break through the network effect.

Which brings us to my main question here - What can we as an organization and a community do to change this?

We may want to start with merchants who already accept payments in crypto. How do we find them, rate them and compare them? One way to handle this could be a Token Curated Registry of merchants with some kind of reputation management system.

As for those merchants who are still relying only on fiat currencies, educating them about crypto sounds like a safe first step. A lot of those people may not even know the pluses and minuses of what crypto payments have to offer, but they are painfully aware of the issues they have with credit card processing and online payments. And those issues are very real: high commissions, bad customer experience with refunds (debit card holders can wait up to a month to get the money back), very high turnover requirements to get card processing installed in the first place and many more.

Obviously, every merchant likes income and just loves increased volume of sales. With the relevant knowledge, they should be able to make the comparisons themselves and reach a decision.

It would be good to find out reasons why merchants would or wouldn’t consider accepting payments in cryptocurrencies. Some of my own educated guesses are:

a) What’s crypto, again?
b) tax complications
c) unstable fx rates

Can we run some kind of a poll? It would be good to get actual feedback from say small business owners. We have to identify obstacles in order to overcome them.

When it comes to success metrics, we can define them as two dimensions: width and depth.

Width represents sheer number of merchants of certain type, e.g. 10 pizza takeouts that accept ETH is twice better than 5.

Depth on the other hand shows what kinds of goods or services you can buy for crypto, with respect to regulation, logistics and infrastructure. This is one possible list of increasing levels of depth:

  1. Crypto for other crypto on the same chain - e.g. most Ethereum-based token exchanges
  2. Digital goods or services (including off-chain other crypto) - e.g. buy digital images (or anything that can be delivered digitally), API access quotas or BTC with ETH.
  3. Physical goods or services - e.g. pizza (or anything that requires delivery), haircuts, nail care, paintball reservations, etc.
  4. Specially regulated goods, e.g. vehicles or properties. Ownership of these typically regulated with special registries, special taxes may apply and usually the value is much higher than with every day transactions. It is safe to say that this level of depth would indicate complete adoption of crypto as a method of payment in any market or jurisdiction.

So, there were some of my ramblings ideas. Have any comments, question, ideas of your own? How can we make this happen? Let’s break this network effect!


Crypto for cabs
#2

One thing that might help is some simple payment gateway type of integration for a web shop. Even if I’m ready to sell physical goods online and take crypto payments, I’m not always a pro to be able to integrate it properly. Something as simple as Wordpress or Shopify plug-in might help, IMO.


#3

I have been toying with the idea of preprinting paper wallets and when going to places that call for leaving a tip, leaving the tip on a paper wallet.

It could have a design like this: https://ethereumpaperwallet.com/ which makes it feel like it’s legal tender except with instructions on how to get Status and get the funds off the paper wallet.


#4

Those are some good ideas, guys.

I like streamlined payment integration. It would give them a chance to “try it out” without too much extra investment and effort. An interesting technical problem, too.

As for the paper wallet tips, it may help raise awareness about crypto in the shops. It may even be possible to measure the conversion rate by watching the traffic for those addresses (not sure how cool would it be to do that). The only problem I can possibly imagine is: "Hey it’s that guy who tips us with Monopoly money (ptui) " :slight_smile:


#5

One thing I’ve been thinking about is trying to identify those merchants who are most severely affected by the existing system and target them first.

One example: souvenir shops are typically small venues that have monthly revenues way below the card processing thresholds. Yet they almost exclusively deal with tourists who are often foreign and thus already have a strong preference for card payments - it’s either that or having to change the money to local currency and awkwardly count unfamiliar bills.


#6

There are a few options available for Shopify merchants such as BTC and ETH.

A few years ago the local corner store in Brooklyn accepted bitcoin!

It must be pretty hard for merchants with high fees, big price fluctuations, and liquidity issues.


#7

My local Indian Restaurant (http://www.khybertandoori.com/) accepts cryptocurrencies through https://github.com/EMRahman/CryptoTill and seems to be a cool way for individual shops/restaurants to do it. Although it’s not integrated with their ordering system :slight_smile:

From talking to small business owners, I think Square done a great job at helping small businesses accept credit card payments (for 1.75% fee per transaction). The crypto solution would need to be as simple and user friendly before small merchants would mainstream adopt.

If we are interested in merchant feedback I’d be happy to share with my local networks.


#8

Well, the show-qr-code to customer way of paying is gaining a hold, in Asia at least - for a merchant, that would mean having a tablet with a special “enter amount” mode that would allow them to key in amount and pop up a screen with QR quickly - akin to how there are credit card solutions for pads.

What could potentially be more cool however, would be to have an easy way to set up a payment channel from the same UX, linked to some customer coupon system - also very popular in Asia - where the 10th coffee is free or whatever - ie combine a loyalty program with channel to get the no-blockchain-fee setup and make it easy to buy more coffees from the same shop…


#9

Could we do this as some kind of weekend challenge, e.g. everyone goes out and speaks to 1-3 local business owners and surveys them about crypto payments? Would be super interested to see the results of this.


#10

So, to technically cover face to face sales including payment upon delivery we only need a few small additions to Wallet > Receive, namely the addition of amount and possibly asset type to the generated QR and a handy fiat currency conversion to convert Status into a mobile Ethereum POS for merchants. (RIght now generated QRs only include the recipient’s address)

Buyers can pay by scanning just fine as it is.

And the extra cool stuff like loyalty programs can be handler by extensions.


#11

Awesome idea! Can’t wait to compare results.


#12

Talked to a small business owner a while back. He had been offering people to pay with crypto at his foodtruck. Mentioned two reasons he stopped actively pursuing:

  • Couldn’t find a wallet that would give him a decent export of all his crypto transactions, which he needs for taxes in Germany.
  • Around January he noticed people stopped using crypto for payment; his theory was that people wanted to hold on to whatever they had after devaluation.
  • It was always a bit of a workaround as the tax system was unclear. He put up a QR code inviting people to ‘donate’ crypto with the possibility that they might receive a meal in return.

So step one… based on N=1, a Transaction overview export.


#13

These guys seem to be on the right path: https://www.dappos.app/


#14

additionally, I imagine you’d want the screen to look for the payment making its way to a block, or at least to the txpool (depending on value maybe), such that the merchant can tell if a payment has been done / attempted…

it can be an extension, but it should be first-class - ie from a merchants pov, it has to be stuff that draws more customers to their booth for them to pass the logistic hurdle of accepting a new payment mechanism…

What I imagine extensions could be used for is to build custom per-merchant apps where you pre-order your stuff on the way to the shop (or in the shop queue or whatever)… then you can include the payment even before, eliminating confusion, queueing time and at the same time dealing with the block confirmation time… or if you’re ordering at the table, the waiter can type up your order into the system and you get to see it live allowing you to clear up confusions or paying at a time of your convenience (before leaving the shop I guess) - all you do is scan a qr when you sit down to link up with your specific table / order / whatever


#15

This is a great thread. Love some of the ideas about increasing merchant adoption. I also like the idea of breadth and depth to measure adoption.

To me, this entire area seems like dedicated swarm/team(s) where we try and tackle:
(a) Seamless UX for merchant and customer, integrated with Status (e.g. do we have a merchant facing UI in the Status app? e.g. the 7-11 owner just opens that Status Merchant DApp and it ‘just works’)
(b) Crypto-fiat exchange (i.e. Status Teller Network)
© Increasing adoption and distribution of Status as a merchant tool
(d) Decreasing transactions/confirmation times (I know this one is slightly outside our control, but imo is a big blocker to widespread adoption)


#16

this is where the beauty lies of what the combination of extensions and payment channels can offer - ie a “customized” merchant site with “tricks” to work around confirmation time - either pre-orders or off-chain payments with automated loyalty built in - so in this sense, we can totally control and own it!


#17

maybe this would even be a cool thing to have as a tutorial in status studio - ie how to set up your own merchant site!


#18

Great question and excellent discussion which I’ve found while looking for merchants selling their products for Ethereum. I thought such online communities already exist. I don’t know where. I imagined that merchants in Africa and Venezuela might be more motivated to accept Crypto currencies as payments then merchants from a developed country with robust financial institutions. I’d like to offer such merchants my web site: https://www.videoclassified.com to which I’d like to establish a good reputation. While I can programmatically ensure that merchants receive payments, I have no control over the accuracy of shipment of the merchandise.