XBTerminal is passionate about making bitcoin about payments
XBTerminal could well be the way for digital payments to make their way into physical stores, at least that’s the hope of XBTerminal CTO Alex Kotenko.
Speaking to a, quite literally, captive audience at Boatcoin during London’s Technology Week, Kotenko painted out a vision of the future of retail payments that involved Bitcoin and bitcoins at the centre of the experience. At the heart of all of this lies XBTerminal’s POS system, an NFC-enabled device with a PIN pad to authorise payments. It’s relatively lightweight too, due to needing none of the technology a normal Chip & PIN POS system needs.
It also features a fair few benefits over standard NFC payment systems, in that it actually forges a connection with your device, usually a phone, and pulls through a network connection via bluetooth to your phone. This means it can verify and complete a bitcoin transaction with ease, even when you don’t have any WiFi or 3G/4G signal at the time. ‘But bluetooth’s not secure!’ I hear you cry. And you’d be right, it’s rife for someone to intercept mid-payment. But unlike a traditional payment system and model, Bitcoin is super secure and encrypted so it makes absolutely no difference if someone intercepts the transmission or not.
The idea behind pushing for a Bitcoin-enabled POS device is not just to spread the use of bitcoin spending across Britain, but also to make payments something far easier for merchants. It allows for them to expand into accepting alternative means of payment without all the headaches involved with credit or debit card acceptance.
Merchants will be given data summaries to show what transactions happened when, and for how much, to help them find new ways for their business to grow. And it also makes use of the advantages of using the Bitcoin network, such as no rick of chargeback or fraud, and near-instant transaction times. It’s also far lower-cost to run, with a £200 up-front cost for a terminal and no more than one per cent on on transactions. Merchants are also protected from any price fluctuation on bitcoins due to XBTerminal convertign any funds from bitcoin to FIAT currency.
The plan for the future is to eventually remove the £200 barrier to entry for a handset, instead leasing the devices out and thus driving up adoption rates. For now though, the income from this initial purchase helps keep them afloat.
There are a couple of issues though, namely the fact that iPhone users can’t make use of the device’s NFC capabilities, although a QR code workaround has been implemented. It may not seem like a big deal due to most bitcoin spenders using Android-enabled phones, but it’s definitely a barrier to expanding it into the wider payments space, especially as QR codes are more of a compromise than a serious method of payment acceptance.
Still, if you’re feeling like you want a slice of this particular part of the payments pie, they’ll soon be taking investment.