Providing cryptocurrency as a payment option for digital goods

Monday 23 May 2022 10:51 CET | Editor: Irina Ionescu | Interview

Irene Skrynova, Chief Customer Officer at Unlimint, explains why providing cryptocurrency as a payment option for digital goods is key in the current ecommerce ecosystem.

What are the growth drivers for the digital goods ecommerce market, and what are some of the trends to watch further when it comes to consumers’ payment preferences? 

The pandemic isolation scenario has reinforced a major trend: the dematerialisation of reality starting from goods and services to the commerce experience in general. Advanced technologies like AI, IoT, VR, and AR are already integrated into many devices and will continue pushing out physical goods, forcing ecommerce to become predominantly a ‘digital goods world’. We can already see the impact of virtual spaces that mix real and AR elements on the art arena and expect those integrations into retail and product sectors further on. 

However, as of now, one of the most profitable categories of the metaverse is gaming, which is already bigger than television or cinema in the entertainment sector. Its growth contributes to the development of the virtual items ecosystem, and traders can now buy and sell collectibles in addition to cryptocurrencies that are also stored on a blockchain without disclosing their credentials. We can already see the elements of a metaverse in games like Fortnite. 

In turn, the shopping experience will require more instant and seamless payment options as it moves from digital-centric to digital-only and it is implemented into daily activities, shaping the reality of ‘everywhere commerce’. This has led to growing demand, and thus, to increased sales of virtual items, such as games, subscriptions, digital readings, and so on, allowing the digital goods economy to reach a whopping USD 950 billion value.

What makes cryptocurrencies an attractive and disruptive payment method? 

Unlike traditional payment processes, due to their decentralised and distributed nature, cryptocurrencies allow payments to be transferred across borders with little delay and no impact from middle players, to almost no cost. To get ahead of the competition, financial players such as PayPal or schemes like Mastercard and Visa are already integrating blockchain technology into their services and platforms. Cost-efficiency is the main attraction, with cross-border and processing fees set by a payment provider totalling up to 3%, while crypto fees are close to zero. An additional attraction for merchants is the lack of chargebacks, especially for merchants selling digital gaming items, for example. 

The ability to own a portfolio of cryptocurrencies or invest in NFTs is becoming more and more common, and even central bank authorities and regulators recognise the fact that digital currencies go hand in hand with the development of the digital economy.

Why would Unlimint be a perfect choice for a merchant interested in accepting cryptocurrencies? 

Companies need to be ready for innovation, such as crypto, to grow with customer demand, and Unlimint stands as a reliable partner with expert knowledge of payment processes and fintech. Like the rest of our infrastructure, crypto payments are powered by our own crypto exchange with deep liquidity and support for major altсoins and stablecoins for both in/out options. Unlimint is also an acquirer, offering a competitive approval ratio worldwide, and we possess local acquiring licences within numerous regions. With our feet on the ground with acquiring services, in addition to our payment solutions, we have a realistic gauge of the value of crypto for our merchants. 

Unlimint has worked with crypto since 2017 and has partaken in the growth of crypto demand and developments. As an intermediary business, our understanding spans from both sides – the ones interested in accepting crypto as a payment option as well as crypto merchants themselves looking for fiat channels.

How do you see the future of cryptocurrencies for digital goods? Do you see any other further trends or developments? 

As we move towards a digital world and the market matures, we will have first-line seats monitoring the evolution of crypto. The regulation shifts and the broader adoption of this payment method will change the way we perceive digital currencies as a whole. Cryptocurrencies are already being diversified into groups for investments and transactional purposes. 

Bitcoin already seeks to be considered as an investment object and digital gold, rather than a payment method. In terms of payments, the future belongs to stablecoins. Financial players will generate their own stablecoins or CBDCs, as they help to eliminate issues, such as high volatility, which is often raised as an obstacle for further crypto adoption.

Whilst the current world and commercial world transition to the use of crypto, the use of stablecoins is beneficial as it bridges the gap between crypto and fiat currencies. From a business perspective, merchants who wish to operate successfully in the digital sphere must meet the increasing demand for cryptocurrencies. By launching their own coins, they will develop better integration into their business ecosystem, and thus, increase customers’ LTV (lifetime value) and ACS (average customer spend). The future of crypto also entails a regulatory process, which will inevitably further lessen the concerns regarding cybersecurity and fraudulent behaviour. 

Other fintech companies such as Square and PayPal have begun the transformation to encourage digital commerce and goods, as they facilitate bets on crypto by buying them through their account. The emerging acceptance of cryptocurrencies within global corporations will only spark its acceptance within other businesses, like a chain reaction.

Could you please elaborate on NFTs as well? 

The NFT market holds value in many industries such as games, arts, sports, music, and so on, but it is mostly known for collectibles that brought a digital stance to the process of regular collection and auction. Since 2017, over USD 174 million have been spent on NFTs. It is a supportive trend aiding towards the dematerialisation of goods, and maybe in a few years we will be shipping our newly purchased NFTitems to our flats somewhere in the metaverse. 

This technology is ideal for securing your rights to any unique object, be it a work of art in a single copy, a virtual item in a computer game, or even real estate. Even a tweet can be turned into NFT – Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, for example, sold his first-ever tweet as an NFT for more than USD 2.9 million. 

Ownership of digital assets has created a revolutionary breakthrough for the distribution and control of various creations. Not only does this showcase the value of fintech within all cultures and industries, but its sophistication shows that NFTs will find further application in more practical areas of our everyday life.

This interview was first published in our Cross-Border Payments and Ecommerce Report 2021–2022, which taps into the fast-growing cross-border market and provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments that are pivotal in this space, being the ultimate source of information for ecommerce businesses interested in expanding globally.


About Irene Skrynova

Irene is a highly respected senior executive with diverse international experience, who offers a fresh perspective and professional wisdom, challenging the status quo and driving business model transformation. Her ability to use potential threats as opportunities, as well as her bravery in implementing innovative ideas, helped her set a direction for global expansion on the payments market for Unlimint, take decisive steps in establishing local branches, and strengthen the company’s overall global presence. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in payments and business development allows her to provide expert insight and guidance on a range of projects, supporting Unlimint’s objectives of empowering successful online entrepreneurs.

About Unlimint

Unlimint provides fast-growing innovative businesses with a constantly evolving financial interface, made by innovators for innovators and designed to bring the financial world of tomorrow closer to businesses here and now. From London to Singapore and from San Francisco to São Paulo, we help local clients enter new markets and global businesses to explore new industries and reach new milestones.

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Keywords: contactless payments, payments , online payments, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency exchange, crypto, crypto asset, NFT, digital payments, digital assets, ecommerce, metaverse, blockchain
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Unlimint
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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