Payments on Blockchain
Bitcoin SV blockchain - Payments Use Cases
When people think of Bitcoin, the first thing that usually springs to mind is money – after all, if the headlines are to be believed, the primary function of Bitcoin is as a money-making, speculative asset.
But the real power of Bitcoin as it pertains to money is its ability to function as a peer-to-peer payments rail, facilitating the fast-movement and settlement of funds between users and businesses for low fees.
A limited block size however renders this capability of little practical use on most blockchains, because it artificially restricts the number of transactions that can be processed with each block. That has the effect of making the space on each block a scarce resource, raising the price of transacting and increasing the time it can take for a transaction to confirm.
Slow and expensive transactions limit the utility of most blockchains to functioning as a payments rail solely for large transactions, where higher fees and reduced settlement times are of less concern.
But that isn’t Bitcoin.
With no limit on the size of the blocks able to be processed on its platform, Bitcoin SV is the only blockchain that effectively serves as a fast and cost-effective payments rail. With an unlimited number of transactions able to be processed with each block, Bitcoin SV can keep transactions moving at a low-fixed rate of just fractions of a cent, while ensuring swift settlement with each new block added to the chain.
The functionalities of Bitcoin SV not only enable it to serve as a payment rail in the traditional sense, but also opens up new possibilities for businesses through micropayments. By paring down transaction fees to fractions of a cent, payments as small as a few cents become viable, establishing a new digital economy in which whole new avenues of monetization are available to businesses.
Case Study: Money Button
Capitalizing on the fast and cost-effective payments rail provided by Bitcoin SV, Money Button is a fully-featured yet incredibly simple interface to Bitcoin for businesses and customers alike.
‘Money Button is a simple payment system. The idea is to make it so that sending money over the internet is the easiest possible thing that you can do, both as an end-user, as well as for the business that uses Money Button,’ explains Ryan X. Charles, CEO of Money Button
‘What we want to do with Money Button is eliminate all of the barriers for sending payments over the internet, solving issues like transaction fees and user experience to make the entire process as simple as it could possibly be.’
Sending payments through Money Button is, as its name implies, as simple as swiping a button. Designed to emulate the intuitiveness of the Facebook like button, the system effectively functions as a barrier-free onramp to the Bitcoin ecosystem.
‘Money Button doesn’t just provide payments however,’ says Charles.
‘Over time, Money Button will provide every feature that Bitcoin provides. Right now we do about half, with progress being made on adding the others every day.’
For businesses and users that require more advanced capabilities – things like smart contracts and data functionalities – Money Button combines them into an easy-to-use but feature-laden package.
‘From a business perspective, Money Button is a way for that business to engage with the blockchain that allows them to focus on their business,’ says Charles.
‘What we do is solve all of the technical challenges in mapping a business to the blockchain, and for the end user, all they need to do is swipe Money Button to send that payment.’
Micropayments Made Manageable
Interacting with Money Button as an end user is as simple as registering for an account, which will open users a Bitcoin SV wallet and assign them a paymail address – effectively an email address that allows direct peer-to-peer transactions to be sent and received between users.
Balance can be added to Money Button from any external Bitcoin SV funding source, after which it is represented in a chosen fiat currency inside the wallet. From there users are able to transact directly with each other or interact with Money Button-enabled businesses. Paying is as simple as swiping Money Button to authorise a payment, which is deducted straight from the balance inside the Money Button wallet.
Businesses that have incorporated Money Button into their application or website have the added benefit of being able to offer an integrated user experience, with the Money Button wallet serving as a sign-in credential attached to their login, while also enabling paid features related to access, subscriptions or purchases.
‘What we are doing is creating a method that can eliminate every possible barrier to onboarding users to this technology. That means reducing the number of steps required to sign up to Money Button, acquire BSV and then use it in an application, as close to zero as possible – that’s always been a key focus for our business’ says Charles.
‘For a business, the functionality they gain with Money Button is extremely sophisticated, but for the end user, it’s very simple – just swiping a button and making a payment.’
‘We have enough businesses that are using Money Button right now that we’ve been able to gain some key insights into what the most important priorities for businesses are and the feature set that they require,’ explains Charles.
‘Over the next year or so, we’ll be building out a host of new features to make Money Button even more useful to businesses. Money Button won’t be changing from an end-user perspective, but I see continued growth for businesses with new functionalities added to enable further value creation.’
The latest of these new features was revealed in April as Invisible Money Button, a way for users to authorize automatic payments or create custom rules for payments – effectively granting permission for a business to swipe Money Button for a user. The feature allows businesses to create premium, commercial user-experiences – such as subscription-based content models – without the need for manually making a payment each time.
‘The swipe-based interface was carefully designed to have the best user-experience for most use-cases, but it could never be the best user-experience for every use-case,’ explains Charles.
‘With Invisible Money Button, the button itself never appears on the screen. This makes advanced applications much more user-friendly, such as micropayments in social media, messaging apps, and uploading data to the blockchain.’
Built on Bitcoin SV
‘Money Button itself emerged out of a different project called Yours. We originally used Bitcoin Core until the fees got too high, which meant that we had to switch at that time from Bitcoin Core to Litecoin,’ explains Charles.
‘This is how we got involved in the block size debate around Bitcoin. It was very clear to us that the correct path forward was to have large blocks and use the original protocol – that’s why we choose Bitcoin SV.’
With significant experience building on other blockchains – including those still at concept stage (he was the first engineer hired by Reddit when they were pursuing their own digital currency project) – Charles advocates for the developmental potential of Bitcoin SV.
‘The key advantage of Bitcoin SV is very simple – it’s a fixed protocol and it scales – as a business, that’s really all you need to know,’ explains Charles.
‘From a more technical perspective, there is no upper bound on the block size, but also, the way that businesses build infrastructure and create or validate transactions can be done in parallel and in pipelines. Bitcoin is designed exactly like a real-world distributed computation, storage and transmission system that is intrinsically scalable – other blockchains are not.’
But it’s not just the benefits of the underlying Bitcoin SV platform which has enabled Money Button to flourish, but a growing ecosystem of businesses that are using the digital currency.
‘Since moving to Bitcoin SV, we have had about 1.3 million button swipes – that is to say, 1.3 million times people have used Money Button to make a payment. We have had more than $10 million in payments go through Money Button, with volumes growing exponentially, so the numbers are certainly looking good,’ says Charles.
‘We have more than 150 active businesses that are using Money Button already to either allow user payments insider their apps or write data to the blockchain. That’s already a strong active group, but we see tremendous growth. The ecosystem of businesses using Bitcoin SV is growing rapidly and that can only mean good things for Money Button.’
Case Study: HandCash
Dubbed ‘The Bitcoin wallet you can recommend’, an intuitive user experience for services across the Bitcoin SV ecosystem distinguish HandCash from the pack, as its Spanish development team works to make digital currencies a more accessible and frequent part of everyday life.
‘We’ve been trying since day one to make Bitcoin more appealing to everyone,’ says Alex Agut, co-founder and CEO of HandCash.
‘One of the things that make us unique is the usability of our product. We put a real focus on having a clean user interface and a positive user experience right from the first setup. It’s easy and it’s reliable, which is what people really like about HandCash.’
The HandCash suite of products offers a range of ways to interact with the Bitcoin SV blockchain, with the HandCash wallet providing a simple but feature-packed application for end-users, while HandCash Connect combines a suite of tools for businesses and developers looking to integrate Bitcoin with their product.
‘I think that there are going to be a lot of new business use cases that Bitcoin will allow for thanks to micropayments, as well as features like encryption and tokenization – there’s a world of options that this technology can open up,’ explains Agut.
‘But we need to make Bitcoin accessible to developers and consumers. HandCash is the user-friendly solution for both sides of Bitcoin, making it easier to use and integrate than ever before.’
On the consumer side, the HandCash wallet offers an easy entry point for consumers looking to leverage the Bitcoin SV network for peer-to-peer transactions. But it’s the business tools that complete the payments infrastructure where HandCash is hoping to use Bitcoin to make a difference.
‘Working with Bitcoin, it was obvious to us that you didn’t want to try to out-Visa Visa – it’s not going to happen because they have a huge infrastructure, strong margins, and a great business,’ says Agut.
‘Where Bitcoin can outcompete Visa is in micropayments. Visa are not able to offer cost-effective cross border micropayments and that is something that we can offer. That’s what we saw as our niche – micropayments for apps.’
Bitcoin for Business
‘HandCash Connect is a fast and flexible solution to create everything on top of Bitcoin,’ explains HandCash CTO Rafael Jiménez Seibane.
‘HandCash Connect is a solution that integrates Bitcoin in the back-end, which gives you complete freedom to build on top of any platform, but more importantly, to build native apps.’
The HandCash Connect toolkit is an all-in-one software development kit (SDK) that enables six new blockchain-based functionalities for business: instant payments, promised payments, identity, and login, blockchain data, and ownership.
‘For any of these different modules, all that is required is a very simple snippet that is written almost in plain English. Any developers who want to use it don’t need to go through the process of learning Bitcoin – they can focus on building their apps,’ says Seibane.
‘No more Bitcoin jargon, no more distractions – HandCash Connect is about being able to focus on building your own project. You create the best product that you can possibly build, we take care of the rest.’
Using Bitcoin as a platform for enabling new digital business models speaks to the core of the HandCash value offering, itself predicated on a market need identified by the founders when developing a different product entirely.
‘We think this is a very important initiative because of our own experience [trying to integrate Bitcoin payments into an app] back in 2015, where there was no ready-made SDK or set of APIs that we could just plug and play into our application to add micropayments or Bitcoin payments,’ explains Agut.
‘Businesses shouldn’t need to retrain their programmers to learn Bitcoin or Bitcoin Script to use it with their products. With HandCash Connect they don’t have to, we’ve made it so that it’s as simple as using our API calls to connect to our infrastructure.’
When initially devising HandCash, the team was working towards building a product that achieved an end-vision, as opposed to developing a product specifically for a certain blockchain or platform. But problems with fee structure and a lack of predictability on competing blockchains meant that Bitcoin SV was the only option that offered a viable solution.
‘The problem that we had with Bitcoin [Core] was that the fees were terrible because you didn’t have any. There was no reliability and that’s a major problem. With Bitcoin SV, you know that the network is going to work tomorrow exactly the same way that it worked today. But most importantly for us, the fees are going to be more or less the same, so we have real reliability there,’ says Agut.
‘With Bitcoin SV, the code is very good, it works well, and it scales. But I think the best thing you have is the business environment – that is the meaningful development on the platform and making the node work better – which is so important because it shows to companies that this is being taken seriously over the long run.’