BitPay or Coinbase? Shopify gives merchants the choice

Shopify Managing Director Louis Kearns justified the decision to bring both companies on board with the fact that the dealers now have the opportunity to choose between one of the two suppliers depending on their needs.

The European Commission has announced a deal with the Bitcoin payment processor Coinbase. This gives another 70,000 merchants the opportunity to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment in the future.

In November of last year, Shopify chose BitPay as its Bitcoin payment processor. Now merchants can choose between one of the two leading providers.

Shopify CEO Louis Kearns justified the decision to bring both companies on board with the fact that merchants now have the option to choose between one of the two providers depending on their needs.

Kearns said about cryptosoft:

“By partnering with the two companies, we are stimulating innovation which will ultimately benefit customers. At the same time, it is of course a great development for cryptosoft and the Bitcoin as a whole”. Read more on:

On the Shopify homepage, the user will find detailed instructions on how to integrate the two providers into the online shop.

Coinbase took the initiative
Kearns pointed out that he strongly believes he can improve service to customers with a second service provider and that Coinbase had taken the initiative to develop the Shopify integration tool independently. Once the tool was complete, Shopfiy only needed to approve it and release it to customers.

Kearns explained crypto trader:

“We offer an open source crypto trader platform for the integration of different payment methods. This gives crypto trader companies like Coinbase the ability to develop their own Shopify integration and get it up and running. Coinbase took the initiative and developed such an integration”.

As a result, merchants can now test both vendors before finally choosing a payment processor.

Extension of Shopify functions
Kearns also justified the introduction of Coinbase with the fact that the demand for this special Bitcoin payment processor was constantly present due to the different features of both platforms.

Kearns anticipates that the new offering will attract more Shopify merchants and increase Bitcoin’s popularity and acceptance:

“Both companies have a special segment in which they are the dominant market leaders. Coinbase, for example, is more focused on the US mark and the user needs an American bank account to exchange Bitcoin for Fiat currencies. BitPay, on the other hand, focuses more on the international market.”

As shown on the Shopify website, both companies offer different pricing models. BiPay charged a transaction fee of one percent for standard sales and zero percent for users with a monthly subscription. Coinbase, on the other hand, does not charge a transaction fee until the customer has reached USD 1 million in revenue.

Building on success
Although Kearn doesn’t give any official figures, he did point out that Shopify has seen a steady growth in Bitcoin payments and that several BTC payments with a total value of “several million US dollars” have already been processed.

The key to success are high-profile Bitcoin companies and enthusiasts. The Hip Hop artist, for example, uses 50 cents to sell textiles and accept Bitcoin.

WTO Blockchain Report: A Festival of Conjunctives

Can Blockchain technology revolutionize world trade? The World Trade Organization (WTO), based in Geneva, has investigated this question in a recently published book. The book, written by Emmanuelle Ganne, was published at a blockchain workshop held on 27 November.

The fact that the World Trade Organization also has the issue of blockchain on its agenda was shown in the World Trade Report 2018 published in October at the latest. According to this report, the WTO counts blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies among the “big four” technologies that can significantly change world trade. The WHO held a blockchain workshop in Geneva on 27 November on what these changes could consist of. On the occasion of the workshop, WHO published a report entitled “Can Blockchain revolutionize international trade?

Main problems: Interoperability and regulation of the Bitcoin revolution

On the technical side, the lack of interoperability (and scalability) of the Bitcoin revolution remains the main obstacle to the full development of the technology’s potential according to the review by onlinebetrug: “In particular, technical solutions must be developed to address the problem of the ‘digital island’ and to ensure that blockchains can communicate with each other”.

The report analyses possible application areas of the technology in international trade. The focus is on paperless commerce, copyright issues, new services in finance and e-commerce, and government procurement management. The author of the analysis is Emmanuelle Ganne, Vice President of the Allam Advisory Group. The almost 150-page report contains little that is new – but a lot of statements of the kind “Hätte, könnte, sollte” (Had, could, should). Ganne emphasizes the much-vaunted potential of blockchain technology, but also points to the technical and regulatory hurdles that still need to be overcome.

Moreover, there is still a lack of a global regulatory framework for the Bitcoin revolution:

“The broad use of blockchain requires an appropriate legal framework that recognises the legal validity of Bitcoin revolution transactions, clarifies applicable law and obligations, and regulates how Bitcoin revolution data can be accessed and used,

Ganne notes. It is by no means certain, however, that this will ever happen. This applies in particular to Permissionless Blockchains, where there is no de facto (and de jure) contact for regulatory authorities. An example: to whom should the German government turn in order to force the Bitcoin Protocol into a regulatory concept? Exactly. The situation is different with private or “enterprise blockchains”, for example, which are the focus of IBM’s Hyperledger.

In order to overcome these hurdles, close cooperation between all parties involved is required:

“Given the potential of blockchain, companies, civil society organisations, software developers, academics, governments and intergovernmental organisations should work hand in hand to assess the practical and legal implications of the technology and develop common solutions to existing challenges.

If this ambitious goal is achieved, world trade could undergo “radical” change in ten to 15 years.

Blockchain platform for application documents

A further, time-consuming expenditure consists with the housing search of sending each time anew its documents to the housing company or the broker. A blockchain solution would also be helpful here – there are already functioning practical examples.

On the one hand, a blockchain platform based on the Estonian model would be conceivable. Here, within a decentralised network (the so-called X-Road), all data of the inhabitants are stored, so that everyone with the corresponding digital signature, for example a civil servant, has access to the respective data, without constantly having to fill out and send new forms.

X-Road using the news spy as an example:

Such a platform could work in a similar way for the news spy housing market. All housing associations and estate agents could be equipped with a key that gives them the right to access a platform where the application documents are stored.

As a result, the housing application documents would only have to be uploaded once. Also here a digital signature with an individual Hash can be provided for each document and be tracked over the Bitcoin or Ethereum Blockchain. This form of document certification could well be done with Stampery, which is already available as an add-in for Microsoft Office and runs on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum block chains.

How realistic is that Bitcoin secret?

From a technical point of view, the scenarios presented above are quite realistic. Nevertheless, there is little hope in the short to medium term that housing associations will equip their homes with intelligent locks or implement other Bitcoin secret blockchain solutions, which are not a Bitcoin secret scam.

There is no economic incentive because the apartments will find a tenant one way or the other, even if the estate agent is no longer on site. The brokerage companies would have to bear additional costs due to the conversion as well as the effort to communicate the new technology comprehensibly both internally and externally.

In addition, the profession of broker or mediator, which is already being called into question by digitalisation, would be further in need of explanation. The question of what housing brokers are needed for, if even the doors can be opened automatically via Smart Contracts, would become an even more important topic of discussion.

The conflict of interest, the usual scepticism towards new technologies and economic reasons are currently preventing a rapid blockchain rollout in the brokerage business.

Before intelligent locks become part of everyday life, some time will probably pass before the use cases have been better researched and blockchain usability has matured further.