A few barriers have prevented cryptocurrencies from reaching Main Street, such as scalability and poor user experience. But the biggest hurdle is perception: that cryptos are a fringe and volatile asset rather than a frictionless and value-increasing payment method.
People's perceptions don't always match the innovation's helpful features.
In reality, cryptocurrencies are extremely convenient when sending and receiving payments compared to bank wires and Western Union. Fiat remittance services are slow, expensive, and often publicly viewable by the prying eyes of third parties.
Retailers are ones who can significantly boost crypto adoption. Point-of-sale (PoS) purchases comprise the vast majority of payments . And in the first decade of Bitcoin's existence, cryptocurrencies have thus far been incapable of simple PoS integration on the merchant's end.
For blockchain companies, crypto debit cards are key to accessing the $3.8 trillion U.S. retail sector and beyond. However, early cards had inefficient designs. The majority relied on pre-funding, where a card gets funded like a gift card. Under this process, a major crypto like Bitcoin (BTC) or Litecoin (LTC) must first be converted to fiat (e.g. dollar or euro) before a purchase can be made.
Thus ironically, a frictionless form of payment acquires some friction when it comes to retail because vendors live and breathe in the traditional financial system.
BiBox, Litecoin Foundation, and Ternio Introduce The New BlockCard
BiBox, a leading crypto exchange, partnered with the Litecoin Foundation and Ternio to offer consumers around the world a new solution, BlockCard. It's a crypto debit card that converts multiple coins to fiat in real-time.
How does it work?
Users spend Bitcoin, Litecoin or other cryptocurrency anywhere that major credit cards are accepted. That includes online retailers and physical PoS terminals. Ternio, an Alpharetta, Georgia-based enterprise blockchain firm, issues the BlockCard. BiBox (an exchange) converts the digital funds to fiat by providing back-end liquidity. BiBox also acts as the custodian of the funds that are deposited into BlockCard wallets. The exchange routes deposits and converts assets in real-time by leveraging its $200 million in daily volume.
Converting Cryptos to Fiat in Real-Time
So where's the convenience? Well, if you own cryptos then you can swipe and go.
A consumer can deposit BiBox tokens (BIX), Litecoin, and Ternio (TERN) into his/her BlockCard account, and swipe as usual. The BIX token is the foundation of BiBox's exchange economy. It's an incentive that reduces transaction fees and grants access to rewards. And a quarterly burn stabilizes the token's price via supply management.
"BiBox has always positioned itself as being on the forefront of crypto adoption," says Aries Wang, Co-Founder of BiBox. "By partnering with Litecoin Foundation and Ternio, we can leverage BiBox's robust exchange platform to bring consumers more options for spending cryptocurrency with unprecedented ease."
The collaboration represents a fundamental shift in the crypto card model. BlockCard is integrated directly into the BiBox exchange, as well as Loaf Wallet, an iOS and Android Litecoin wallet. This gives users instant access to their cryptos at PoS terminals without having to convert to fiat.
"Leveraging Ternio's BlockCard platform with BiBox's exchange engine gives Litecoin holders unparalleled access to use their LTC at merchants around the world," says Litecoin creator, Charlie Lee.
The BIX token, an ERC-20 token on Ethereum and the utility token of the exchange, will function as the intermediary collateral for real-time payments using BlockCard. As a result, the points of friction, namely the installation of crypto-compatible PoS terminals or manual conversion by users, are masked from consumers and merchants. Instead, the processing is handled on the back-end by BiBox and Ternio.
Perception and reality aren't always the same thing. But one thing is certain about the marketplace: Consumers and vendors love convenience, and better ways of doing business.