Crypto naysayers have been pointing out that calling tokens “currency” is a misnomer. Sadly for crypto advocates, the naysayers do have a point. Cryptocurrencies do lack certain attributes of fiat currencies. They are yet to be generally accepted and their values are far from stable. Even with the emergence of Bitcoin ATMs and Bitcoin-backed debit cards, the cryptocurrencies still have to reach the level of ubiquity that fiat currencies enjoy.
This is partly the reason why crypto payments seem to struggle gaining momentum despite the current frenzy in the payments space. The boom of retail and digital commerce has triggered an arms race that prompted various entities like card companies, payment processors, phone manufacturers, and mobile service providers to make plays in digital payments.
Many of the currently available crypto payments projects focus on making Bitcoin and similar tokens usable. Crytopay and Uquid, for instance, offer wallets and physical cards that make cryptocurrencies spendable in existing checkout systems. Other projects like Ripple focus on grander things like replacing the infrastructure for transactions of banks and financial institutions. These projects have met varying levels of success but there still appears to be space for improvements and fresh takes.
COTI, an upcoming crypto token and payments platform, aims to transform the segment and push crypto payments to the mainstream. Instead of simply enabling the use of crypto assets to pay for purchases, it also plans to establish a healthy payments ecosystem that is based on trust.
Trust has become a vital factor in payments especially with the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and the gig economy. In such transactions, it can be impractical to use cryptocurrencies for payments. Blockchain payments are irreversible so it is quite risky to use when there are no mechanisms available to ensure that the other party will deliver once payment has been sent. For merchants, supporting even established methods like credit cards also entails risk due to the increasing cases of stolen card use and chargeback fraud. Chargeback fraud is expected to cost businesses $31 billion by 2020.
At COTI’s core is its Trustchain Protocol which aims to incentivize positive user behavior on the platform. The protocol keeps track of each transaction and creates a trust score for each user. Users (whether buyer or seller) who engage in smooth deals and issue-free trade would get positive scores. They are then incentivized with lower fees when using the platform. Those with spotless records will not be charged by the system. With such an incentive system in place, users are encouraged to be trustful and trustworthy when conducting business.
A key advantage that crypto payments have over conventional mechanisms is cost. Traditional payments typically involve several intermediaries. A simple retail sale would often include a payment processor, a card company, clearinghouse, and a bank. Oftentimes, each of these entities would impose fees such as transaction fees, processing fees, and currency conversion fees – all of which affect pricing and the seller’s margins.
COTI helps users save on fees by linking the transacting parties directly thus eliminating the need for intermediaries. Through the Trustchain protocol, there is also little need to engage an entity to perform escrow services since parties are compelled to honor the agreements. COTI also features exchange integration allowing the platform to support multiple crypto and fiat currencies.
The modern payments experience also demands other mechanisms that provide protection for users in cases where transactions get bumpy. Even with features like Trustchain, disputes can happen. In traditional payments, disputes are often handled by case agents who decide on the matter. Most of the time, the process isn’t transparent leaving users with little choice but to accept whatever verdict is handed. Card companies typically favor the customer in cases of chargebacks or fraud putting merchants at a disadvantage.
COTI decentralizes the dispute resolution process. Disputes are crowdsourced to mediators on the platform. So, rather than having cases be decided upon by some secretive process, disputes are resolved through a real jury of peers aided by the platform’s transparency. As a reward for participating in the processes, mediators get to earn COTI tokens.
Other crypto payment platforms rely on other blockchains like Ethereum to work. COTI runs on its own network which isn’t a conventional blockchain. Instead, COTI uses a directed acyclic graph (DAG) architecture that gives the platform speed and scalability. With DAG, transactions confirm each other so the network scales as usage ramps up.
This helps COTI avoid network bottlenecks that are common to conventional blockchains. COTI is expected to be able to handle 10,000 transactions per second. Bitcoin can only do about 2 transactions a second on average. Many crypto transactions also take time to get confirmed depending on the blockchain’s consensus algorithm. This makes most crypto tokens unusable for scenarios where speedy checkout processes are ideal. This wouldn’t be an issue for COTI.
The modern business environment requires a frictionless experience. This is why retail and e-commerce demand dependable and feature-rich payments solutions. Unfortunately for crypto payments, simply providing means for crypto asset holders to spend their coins isn’t enough. Speed and performance also matter. Crypto payment services should perform quickly enough so that the experience isn’t a step back to what is currently available today.
Payments solutions must also be able to provide trustworthy mechanisms for parties to transact and resolve issues. COTI ticks all of these requirements by putting trust at the core of the service. Hopefully, the trust-based experience that the project aims to provide could help encourage more users to adopt crypto payments.