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Credit cards have been a staple payment method for the last 20 or so years. From their humble beginning as a Diner’s card in the 1950s to the modern day’s smart-chip enabled version, they have come a long way and provide great and measurable benefits to their users. Credit cards are pocket-sized, easily portable, and have no intrinsic value in themselves. In addition, true credit cards buy you time to pay your bill, typically with a modest fee attached.
With all the benefits, credit/debit cards also have significant weaknesses, like complicated and high fees for merchants and tough qualification and use requirements for consumers, not to mention all the consumer fees and sky-high rates on unpaid balances. What’s more, the issuing bank can pull the customer’s credit at any time, leaving the consumer financially stranded.
Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, have been gaining a lot of momentum over the past few years due to their properties of being global and not under the control of any government or institution. They introduce a real and viable alternative payment method and are likely to gain significant share in the payment methods mix in the near future.
To accept cryptocurrency today, a merchant would have to do it “out-of-band”, taking the payment “wallet-to-wallet”, circumventing the POS (point of sale) systems they already have in place, paying unpredictable fees for the transactions, all without a way to preauthorize the transaction before it goes through, and settling the transaction can take hours.
Fees in particular are a big obstacle slowing down adoption of cry...