The Bitcoin (BTC) white paper published over a decade ago described a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic cash system, suggesting that the cryptocurrency was designed as a means of exchange. However, it has gradually deviated from that status due to its high volatility, scalability issues and transaction fees that made micropayments unfeasible.
The largest cryptocurrency by market cap has been used as a store of value instead. Nevertheless, what Bitcoin did was show the way and open up an opportunity for the boom of blockchain projects that the space is currently seeing. Many of these seek to improve Bitcoin’s limitations by adopting more elastic consensus mechanisms like proof-of-stake, new features such as smart contracts and innovative solutions to address volatility, such as stablecoins.
Today, digital currencies are ready to take e-commerce by storm and fulfill Bitcoin’s original intent to act as a means of exchange. Layer-2 solutions like the Lightning Network make Bitcoin suitable for payments, including micropayments.
Crypto payment gateway Coingate reported that payments in crypto had surged 60% in 2022 compared to the previous year, with payments processed through the Lightning Network nearly doubling.
DeFi and Web3 merge with e-commerce
The time when digital currencies are ubiquitous in e-commerce is just around the corner. There are many factors accelerating crypto adoption across e-commerce, and one of them relates to online shops dedicated to crypto users. One example is Uquid, which has built an ecosystem that brings decentralized finance (DeFi) and Web3 features to e-commerce.
The platform lists about 120 million physical, digital and NFT products that can be purchased with dozens of digital currencies through a wide range of payment options, including BinancePay and the Lightning Network. It also provides its proprietary payment solution, Uquid Payin3, which enables users to split their basket into three separate payments spread across three months with no interest.
Uquid has been working on a new concept that may strengthen its position in the e-commerce industry. The new feature is The Alpha $1 Shop, a convenient online store where users can purchase day-to-day items priced at $1 or less. This will be the first such store in the crypto e-commerce space. Alpha is the sub-brand of Uquid, and it is also used to name its other successful products, such as Alpha Mobile Top-Up and Alpha Game Store, both of which are listed on Binance and Gate.io.
The Alpha $1 shop offers a wide range of high-quality products at an unbeatable price of only $1, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious crypto holders. While $1 may seem like a small amount, there are many items that can be purchased at this price, including game keys, gift cards and physical products. The new store will compile $1 items from over 120 million products and services currently available on Uquid. This approach will highlight the capability of digital currencies to act as a medium of exchange.
Uquid and its Alpha brand are bridging the gap between blockchain and traditional payment infrastructures, as its broad range of payment options includes credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and crypto payments through Binancy Pay, Gate Pay and Web3 wallets, offering an unprecedented level of flexibility and convenience.
The advent of the Alpha $1 shop by Uquid could trigger a new era for the crypto e-commerce industry, demonstrating the potential for digital currencies to be used as a medium of exchange, including for micropayments.
Thanks to the latest developments in blockchain, cryptocurrencies are making micropayments viable. Back in 2014, Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, noted:
“Micropayments have never been feasible, despite 20 years of attempts, because it is not cost-effective to run small payments (think $1 and below, down to pennies or fractions of a penny) through the existing credit/debit and banking systems. The fee structure of those systems makes that nonviable.”
The Alpha $1 shop is materializing the potential of Bitcoin and other digital currencies for feasible micropayments, and this might be only the beginning of an e-commerce revolution.
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