Dubai: After Andriy Velykkyy introduced himself on stage at Monday’s blockchain and cryptocurrency conference, he told the audience that his company, Paytomat, offered “one token for one tomato.”
He hurriedly clarified that he was indeed joking, and shortly thereafter, Velykkyy, who is chief technology officer of Paytomat, began to pitch his company for real: Not enough actual retailers accept digital currencies like Bitcoin, he said, so he and a friend decided to create a company offering cryptocurrency payment solutions.
“We have all those retailers who are interested in Bitcoin and blockchain, unfortunately mostly they just use it for e-Commerce, and not offline payments,” he said.
Despite there being over 1,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation, with a combined market cap of over $300 billion (Dh1.10 trillion), only 12,116 venues accept digital currencies, according to CoinMap, a website that tracks the adoption of coins like Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin.
According to Velykkyy, with the majority of the market treating cryptocurrencies like assets, creating wild price swings as a result, there was no incentive for retailers to accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment.
“We had to try and work out how to incentivise people to spend their cryptos, but also encourage retailers to accept them too,” Velykkyy added.
Alongside Yurii Olentir, who is chief executive officer at the company, Velykkyy developed what he called a “simple solution”: Integrate cryptocurrencies into the point of sale (POS) terminals. He says that Paytomat has been successful operating such integrated POS terminals since August 2017.
“We have integrated three POS terminals already, and in the next three months we have 30 coming. We have 150 merchants, mostly in Ukraine, Georgia, and Estonia who are using our products,” Velykkyy said. The company plans to add the UK and the Netherlands, as of this month.
According to the CTO, Paytomat’s unique selling point is that it integrates into existing POS systems, as opposed to creating new ones.
“This is important, as the merchant doesn’t need to purchase new hardware, or train his staff in how to accept cryptos,” Velykkyy said.
Essentially, the service allows traditional POS systems, which would offer either cash or card as payment options, to add a third choice: Cryptocurrency.
This then generates a QR code on the receipt, which can be scanned by a mobile wallet holding cryptocurrencies, after which the payment is complete.
Velykkyy hopes that such a service will increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies to be used as he feels they were originally intended: As a method of payment.
“They are called currencies for a reason, they’re not meant to be held on to. They’re meant to be spent,” he said.