Two interesting projects have emerged recently, which could lead to the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin by the masses of regular consumers who have thus far remained ambivalent towards the digital currency – and all without them even knowing that they are using Bitcoin.
Each of these projects seeks to take Bitcoin’s advantages as a fast, low cost and trustless way to make international payments, and use them behind the scenes to improve services for people using national fiat currencies such as dollars of euros.
One of these new services is being built by Align Commerce, and focusses on businesses wanting to serve, and therefore take payments from, and international customer base. The idea is that a customer in Britain could pay for a product or service with GBP, and the business in the United States could receive USD – Bitcoin would be used in the middle as a way to avoid the transfer and exchange charges incurred by going through traditional ‘payment rails’.
The other is called Zed. This project is being developed by the former development team behind cashcoin.io, who have closed that business down to focus on their new venture under the ZipZap brand. Zed also seeks to use Bitcoin as a ‘payment rails’ behind the scenes, but is concentrating on the remittance market rather than on international merchants. They believe they can provide a similar service to Western Union at a fraction of the cost.
In seeking to use Bitcoin under-the-hood as a payment rail, these businesses are competing directly with Ripple, which has generated significant interest from the traditional banking industry by taking this approach with its own digital currency network.