In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, released a white paper proposing a radical shift away from prevailing fiat money transactions. Nakamoto begins the white paper with an abstract,
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
Today, there is significant attention around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While they are most often looked at as a speculative asset, questions remain about day-to-day utility of cryptocurrency. For many businesses, accepting digital currencies might not seem worth the trouble, given that the process can be beset with unpredictable fees, a perceptually steep learning curve and other transactional complexities. Setting aside the risk component, one reason why businesses have avoided adoption is the fact that few point-of-sale systems can efficiently accept crypto payments.
In alignment with Satoshi’s vision, a London-based company known as Plutus has set its sights on igniting a new age of crypto-based point-of sale transactions. Founded in 2015 by Danial Daychopan before being successfully funded the following year through its pluton (PLU) token crowdsale, Plutus is a decentralized payment ecosystem that permits cryptocurrency payments anywhere in the world through the use of a decentralized, escrow-based model.
Plutus’ vision is to deliver cryptocurrency payment options to the general public. The fundamental value they see in this territory is that it is the launching point for boosting cryptocurrency user growth and adoption for point-of-sale commerce.
Plutus offers consumers a trusted and secure platform for the conversion of cryptocurrency into fiat currency, as well as the reverse. The user can spend without being charged astronomical fees while simultaneously benefiting from incentives tied to automatic pluton loyalty rewards.
This loyalty element is pivotal to Plutus’ value proposition in that consumers can earn plutons for purchases executed through their digital app. Akin to frequent flyer miles or loyalty points, these tokens, which are facilitated through the Ethereum blockchain and transacted utilizing the Plutus mobile app, can be used to pay for everyday goods and services. There are zero transaction fees and near-instant transaction confirmations.
Orchestrating the Next B2C Payment Universe
Creating a decentralized crypto infrastructure to foster business to consumer commerce is no easy proposition. But the team at Plutus appears up for the task. The current platform they have engineered is composed of three foundational building blocks: Plutus Tap & Pay for Android and iOS, the Plutus debit card, and PlutusDEX.
The “Tap & Pay” element is predicated on a blockchain-driven debit card network that will allow crypto spending at brick and mortar stores worldwide. This solution allows Plutus to usher in contactless bitcoin and ethereum payments at any merchant location worldwide utilizing near field communication (NFC) checkout terminals.
With this advancement, customers can use their Plutus app at debit card terminals across the world to spend their digital currency at no cost, usurping the need for physical debit cards, credit cards or cash. Users simply hold their phone or mobile device over the card reader to debit money from the BTC or ETH loaded onto their app for payment.
Then there’s the Plutus debit card, which can be used to make payments both at local storefronts as well as online. This card can be loaded and reloaded through Plutus Tap & Pay.
Together, the Plutus app and Plutus debit card, can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted, an estimated 40 million stores.
Finally, there is PlutusDEX, a peer-to-peer, smart contract exchange that provides the liquidity for the Tap & Pay app. It’s here where plutons can be converted, allowing users the ability to make in-store purchases with zero conversion fees. Plutus traders by way of the DEX exchange have the ability to purchase small denominations of bitcoin, ethereum and pluton from Tap & Pay users and load it as cash on a Plutus debit card or Tap & Pay balance. Designed to be a seamless experience, this process can be set up through email and phone verification without a lengthy know your customer (KYC) onboarding.
A major advantage of the Plutus gateway (DEX) is that user cryptocurrencies are never stored, eliminating the need for a central hot wallet or cold wallet. Rather, transactions occur peer-to-peer using an order-matching engine that allows customers to send currency between each other.
Escrowed fiat funds aren’t transferred to a customer card until they have successfully been executed via a cryptocurrency transaction that’s then posted and confirmed by miners on the public blockchain. In other words, the crypto is directed to the purchaser’s wallet of choice, before the fiat is released from escrow to the card.
HitBTC, Liqui, and EtherDelta are among the exchanges where pluton can be purchased directly using bitcoin, ethereum and U.S. dollars.
Crypto Acceleration Meets Financial Utility
Unlike many in the blockchain space, Plutus Founder Danial Daychopan has a successful track record of bringing ideas to market. In 2013, he was the seed behind the U.K.’s first licensed exchange and merchant processor, spurring public awareness of blockchain-driven payment systems. Now, with his eyes set on leapfrogging traditional, centralized exchanges with their inherent vulnerabilities and limitations, Daychopan endeavors to have Plutus become the trendsetter behind decentralized application payment systems. Through this he hopes to unleash the immense potential situated at the nexus of contactless payments and blockchain technology.
Daychopan says that historically merchant adoption in this space would have involved building a new distribution network, with additional fees for retailers and businesses, thereby slowing network accessibility. He touts Plutus’ innovative model, which allows merchants to have instant access to fiat currency while giving consumers the option of easily spending and converting their cryptocurrency.
In terms of the road map ahead for Plutus, Daychopan had this to say in closing: “The app is available in Europe. We are currently receiving legal guidance, and some adjustments may have to be made before enabling a U.S. launch. Payments can be made both online and in person, wherever regular debit cards are accepted.”