UK-based digital currency startup Plutus.it has built a contactless payment application that is powered by the Blockchain. The app allows users to pay at any NFC payment enabled point of sale (POS) terminals or stores using bitcoin. Cointelegraph conducted a convoy of leading entrepreneurs in the Bitcoin industry to get their perspectives of the project.
One Step Closer to Mainstream Adoption
BnkToTheFuture and Bitcoin Capital Fund manager, Simon Dixon, expressed his optimism toward the potential of the application.
"I have been waiting for something like this for a long time,” said Dixon.
“I currently use a bitcoin debit card for transactions like this and would love to throw away my plastic. This allows me to use bitcoin the same way I can use Apple Pay, but without the bank integration. My preference would be to spend bitcoin direct, but this is a great solution when you can't spend your bitcoins with the merchant. I would want to know how expensive this is compared to a card payment where the merchant covers the fee and also if the bitcoins are converted at point of sale, or if it is simply adding converted bitcoins to a fiat enabled phone wallet,” he added.
BTCGreece founder, Thallos Marinos further emphasized the significance of a payment application like Plutus, especially in Greece, where there is a small number of bitcoin accepting merchants and businesses. Marinos explained that such an application could lead to the mainstream adoption of bitcoin in the country.
“I like the idea and the name is a Greek god, so I have to like it,” Marinos told Cointelegraph.
“The only problem I see is why the end user will have to buy bitcoin in order to use it to buy something in fiat when he already holds fiat. I understand, it can make sense for miners or people who hold bitcoin and want to pay fiat.”
However, its competitors such as Cryptopay criticized the app’s limitation to NFC enabled terminals and the amount of resources it requires for the issuers and merchants.
“The idea of Plutus is nice, but not new,” Cryptopay founder George Basiladze told Cointelegraph.
“The idea is cool but requires enormous amount of development and resources. Additionally, you would need a lot of capital and reserves on different exchanges to make the settlement. In their case only the execution will show whether their product is fine or not,” continued Basiladze.
Vision of the Plutus Project
The core software is currently in alpha stage. However, users are already able to simply deposit bitcoin into a virtual debit card with local currency of their choice and spend it at any of the millions of NFC point of sale machines in the world.
“Plutus makes it easy to buy a cup of coffee, gas or groceries with bitcoin. The store doesn’t even need to be aware of this. The app will provide you with the bitcoin address of a trader willing to buy your coins, and your deposit will automatically be exchanged to the merchant’s local currency for payment. In the end, it feels the same using any contactless card or NFC enabled device such as Apple or Android Pay,” Plutus Chief Communications Officer Filip Martinka told Cointelegraph in an exclusive interview.
Plutus is targeting the multi-billion dollar contactless payment sector, which is predicted to surpass US$26.9 billion in the UK alone. By allowing the masses to use digital currencies while transacting in normal NFC terminals, the team aims to bring bitcoin one step closer to the mainstream.
“The volume of contactless transactions has grown exponentially in recent years, and is predicted to hit £17.7 billion next year in the UK alone. Our goal is to become part of this accelerated innovation, as Plutus is one of the first apps to truly merge decentralized exchange, bitcoin technology, and contactless payments,” added Martinka.
Plutus also implemented a decentralized exchange network, to eliminate any intermediaries or third-party exchange. The announcement comes after a series of large DDoS which targeted countless number of traders and investors in leading bitcoin exchanges such as Kraken.
Furthermore, the application adopted the support for smart contracts, enabling the issuance of a contract upon the initiation of a trade.
“Our app uses smart contracts to link you directly with traders on our decentralized exchange network. Traders then purchase your bitcoin in return for your local currency, and their deposit is immediately charged to your virtual debit card. However, the real innovation here is that Plutus avoids the need to store your funds as an intermediate or plug into a third-party exchange. This makes the process cheaper, faster, and more decentralized,” explained Martinka.