A race might be on as merchants try gain a competitive advantage through far lower fees and by opening themselves to a new half a trillion global crypto market.
Starbucks opened the firing shot, with its chairman, Howard Schultz, making it clear the world is going the crypto way. He said:
“I believe that we are heading into a new age, in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application. And I believe that Starbucks is in a unique position to take advantage of that…
And we think we have something to offer the companies that are chasing this, because we are in a position to create the trusted legitimate place in which this could be accepted and possibly take advantage of the mobile payment digital platform that we have created.”
South Korean merchants then added fuel to the race. One of their biggest online shopping mall is to add 12 digital currencies in a very first for the country. Its competitor, TMON, quickly followed by suggesting they might do the same. Naver too.
In a country where crypto trading is fairly mainstream, the phenomena can quickly spread, with a new era potentially underway as a tipping point might be near.
But can the network handle it? Depends which one. Bitcoin clearly can’t right now with its ecosystem so placing all its eggs on the Lightning Network. In contrast, Bitcoin Cash says they can scale to even country level this very moment.
Ethereum is racing towards the biggest breakthrough since blockchain’s invention, sharding. But even now they handle one million transactions at a fee of five cents. Some recent tech efficiency improvements might allow them to handle more, but not really at a country level until perhaps next year.
Free market competitive pressure on merchants, however, is leading them to jump and swim or sink. That should put pressure on developers too to move fast, for with many now realizing there is not just one crypto, the one that can run will run.
For the first time in centuries, merchants and customers have been offered an alternative to banking monopolies. With the internet increasing efficiency and blockchain tech getting rid of intermediaries, processing fees can be slashed from $2-$3 to pennies.
For one transaction, that makes little difference. For millions or billions of transactions, the difference is stupendously vast.
The addition of crypto payments, therefore, especially considering the crypto holders market is now so big, seems to be a very common sense no brainer.
As such, in this decisive year, merchants might be kings as the crypto commerce flag waves once again.
“There’s going to be lot of winners, a lot of losers… tech companies and the blockchain technology will provide… the rails to potentially… benefit financially, benefit in terms of consumer behavior and incrementality and significantly create long-term shareholder value.” – Schultz.