Centra, Monaco and TenX attempt to bridge the gap between traditional financial systems and the unbanked.
Taking e-commerce to the unbanked seems to be getting easier as the number of merchants embracing cryptocurrencies is increasing. From Overstock to Steam, Newegg to Edeka, many merchants are changing buyers’ user experience globally by leveraging the ease-of-use of digital currency.
This is partially fueled by an increase in the number of vendors registering with BitPay. That service allows merchants to accept Bitcoin but immediately be credited with cash rather than having to deal with the volatile digital currency themselves.
Things are improving on the consumer side too, with the increasing number of crypto-based debit cards. These make it possible to spend digital currency in the virtual shops of merchants who don’t directly accept it, by automatically converting a user’s cryptocurrency balance to fiat and using that to pay vendors.
In this environment, there are startups seeking to make things even easier and cheaper, eliminating as many middlemen as possible from digital currency transactions. So far, the introduction of crypto-backed debit cards has been pioneered by companies such as TenX and Monaco and it has changed several new users’ perspective about how easy to access digital currencies for everyday use.
Both Monaco and TenX make crypto spending easier for customers by offering a multi-currency debit card. Instead of a Bitcoin debit card, a Dash debit card, and so forth, both Monaco and TenX allow users to deposit various cryptocurrencies and access them with one single debit card. When it comes time to make a purchase, the appropriate amount of digital currency is instantly sold and the funds are transferred to the merchant seamlessly.
Centra is another startup aimed at helping bring e-commerce to the unbanked. It offers a multi-currency debit card along with a platform to connect buyers and sellers in a low-fee environment.
Other attempts have been made to cut out cross-border inefficiencies in the remittance space and decrease the number of intermediaries required in the legacy banking system. It is yet unclear whether these services will be successful in their endeavors. However, it is clear that whoever succeeds at making e-commerce available to a world where over two billion people are unbanked individuals will reap unparalleled rewards.