Categories: Bitcoin Entertainment

Payments Veterans Seek to Unlock Blockchain’s Power With Align Commerce

Click here to view original web page at www.coindesk.com

The bitcoin blockchain can be utilized to store transaction records in its public ledger database, but that is far from its only use case.

Novel real-world applications in the fields of smart contracts and intellectual property rights, have begun to surface, providing a glimpse of the kinds of future technologies many believe cryptocurrencies can help society unlock.

Still, the most immediate use for the technology has been for payments, and with this is mind, startup Align Commerce intends to use bitcoin as a ‘container’ to move fiat currency quickly and easily across borders.

Relying on bitcoin's blockchain, this could offer businesses improved efficiency, transparency and, quite possibly, electronic payment ubiquity across the globe.

Adding to Align Commerce's potential is that CEO and co-founder Marwan Forzley has a background in the payments industry. Speaking to CoinDesk he said he decided to go all-in on bitcoin and blockchain tech in order to disrupt what he considers outdated business transaction systems.

Forzley explained:

“The interesting thing about the blockchain is its ability to essentially outsource payment processing to endpoints – removing intermediaries.”

The idea

The intermediaries Forzley plans to bypass are the arguably complex tangle of banks that international fiat payments are currently forced go through when crossing borders.

Previously, Forzley founded a company called eBillme, an alternative payment method that plugged into shopping carts and connected directly with users' online bank accounts.

The firm boasted Sears, Buy.com and Tiger Direct as customers, and was sold to Western Union in 2011.

Forzley said that in his ample time studying payment networks, he kept coming back to one realization: the banking system was highly antiquated.

“These systems are very domestic in their construction, designed pre-Internet,” he said.

An example of how cross-border payment flows work. CHIPS stands for Clearing House Interbank Payments System, a private payments settlement interface. Source: Visa

For example, SWIFT, a payment order network used by banks across the world, is one of the systems that today powers the global payments system.

Forzley believes that payments don’t necessarily have to be beholden to SWIFT, though, that they can use newer technologies. “These systems can be tied together through a different protocol called the blockchain,” he said.

Forzley added:

“The reason why [Align Commerce uses] the blockchain is, if you look at flows of funds around the world, the most difficult transactions, the most expensive with the most friction, are basically cross-border transactions.“

Bitcoin as a container

What Align Commerce is doing can be compared to a shipping container that moves goods from different countries – point A to point B.

“It’s a container that has value,” explained Forzley.

For example, a payment sender can have US dollars at point A and a euro receiver at point B. To facilitate this type of transaction, Align Commerce uses bitcoin in the middle of the transaction as the container.

Forzley added:

“We are using the blockchain as a way to carry the transaction. This transaction would have gone through correspondent banks; this is a simpler way to carry the transaction from the sender to the receiver.”

Real-world benefits

This concept improves over existing models used for cross-border payments in terms of higher transparency and efficiency, Forzley argues.

“[Payments] end up being recorded as transactions on the blockchain. You’ll see [Align Commerce transactions] just like any other transaction,” he said.

The Align Commerce system, in essence, requires the use of bitcoin exchanges with liquidity to move various denominations of fiat. Along with improved transparency, Align Commerce believes bitcoin is a faster and more efficient method of moving money because it avoids the complex foreign exchange currency market.

“We work with all the [bitcoin] exchanges in the market that have volume. [The] transaction comes in, it hits our account. We then move it to the exchange, convert, move, convert again,” Forzely said.

Align Commerce was part of the Boost VC Tribe 5 group of startups, and already has a number of investors backing its ideas, including the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp.

In addition, Align Commerce already has customers, according to Forzely:

“We have accountants, lawyers and exporters and importers. Different e-commerce merchants. These are all different markets.“

Regulation and overall cost

Align Commerce clearly depends on bitcoin wallets, exchanges and blockchain API companies in order to operate, but it largely avoids the existing payments system – meaning a reliance on the still-nascent bitcoin economy

So, the question remains, at a time when Western Union indicates its service is expensive because of regulation in regular payments, how will Align Commerce deal with that issue when it ultimately comes to bitcoin?

“There will be regulation,” Forzley said. “You will need to run know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulation. You need to run risk management and you need to have a business and you need to make money.”

Align Commerce’s strategy centers on providing expedited service and improved tracking ability compared to what banks offer right now. The company is steadfast in its resolve that the blockchain will help it compete in cross-border payments, even if increased regulation means higher expenses.

Forzley said:

“When all these [regulatory] costs pile up, they will add up. Despite all this I do still think you can operate at a cost structure that is more efficient than what exists today.”

As a result, the issue of payments-based regulatory compliance is not going to disappear just because of cryptocurrency's emergence.

Still, Forzley believes Align Commerce will be able to obtain customers looking for payments solutions with the bitcoin and blockchain value-add of global transparency and efficiency.

Sell global, get paid local

With his previous company, Forzley was able to add online banking to e-commerce shopping carts. But, what about implementing that concept globally?

Along with business-to-business payment invoicing, Align Commerce is executing on that idea with a product called Payinlocal.

In addition to invoicing, Align Commerce's Payinlocal may help entrepreneurs accept payments from many more customers.

Using the aforementioned bitcoin container concept, Payinlocal allows an e-commerce merchant the ability to accept many different types of currency.

Accepting electronic payments is one of the biggest problems businesses have in some regions. This is especially true in places where credit cards or other digital payment solutions are not very good options.

Forzely said:

“Payments are a difficult thing to do if you’re growing your business and you need to collect money from around the world.”

With Payinlocal, Align Commerce allows an e-commerce site to receive local currency as payment. By using bitcoin as a transport method, these payments can be completed even if customers are located across the globe – and using a completely different currency.

In essence, Payinlocal allows ecommerce businesses worldwide access to potential customers. In the end, this is all possible because of the borderless potential of using bitcoin as container and its blockchain technology as a device for tracking.

Align Commerce is currently operating in a private beta.

Novel real-world applications in the fields of  smart contracts and intellectual property rights , have begun to surface, providing a glimpse of the kinds of future technologies many believe cryptocurrencies can help society unlock.

Still, the most immediate use for the technology has been for payments, and with this is mind, startup Align Commerce […]

cinerama

Illuminati, Mason, Anonymous I'll never tell. I can tell you this, global power is shifting and those who have the new intelligence are working to acquire this new force. You matter naught except to yourself, therefore prepare for the least expected and make your place in the new world order.

Disqus Comments Loading...
Share
Published by
cinerama

Recent Posts

Wealth manager launches world-first bitcoin yield fund

A US-based wealth manager has claimed an industry milestone with the launch of the first cryptocurrency derivatives-based yield fund on… Read More

5 hours ago

CME Group To Launch Bitcoin Options In Early 2020, Cites Client Demand

CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME ) announced Friday that it will launch options on its Bitcoin futures contracts in the… Read More

5 hours ago

Nigerian Rocks Crypto World By Returning NGN 28.8 Mn Worth Of Bitcoin That Was Sent To Him In Error

Here’s the latest on today’s edition of “Wait, What?!”; A Nigerian man woke up one day to find that NGN… Read More

5 hours ago

Bakkt: A Big Boost For Bitcoin (BTC) or Will It Flop?

Share Tweet Send Share The launch of the largest institutional bitcoin product of the year is finally upon us. Can… Read More

5 hours ago

Bitcoin (BTC) Metrics Pointing to Bullish Returns

Share Tweet Send Share Many analysts over the years have said that bitcoin is a speculative bubble, comparing it to… Read More

5 hours ago

Bitcoin Sheds $10,000 Support Again Ahead of Bakkt Launch

Ahead of the launch of Bakkt’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures, bears have continued to assert control over the cryptocurrency market. Ouch.As… Read More

11 hours ago

This website uses cookies. We use these cookies to collect data about your interaction with our website for the purpose of continuously improving your experience with our site. For more information we encourage you to read our privacy policy.

Read More