Blockchain.info has launched a new payments app designed specifically for merchants. Blockchain is by far the most popular bitcoin wallet and just two months ago the company reached its one million milestone.
However, its new offering is a very different beast. The Blockchain Merchant app is designed to allow merchants to accept bitcoin payments at practically any retail location. The app integrates with your wallet and it can be set up to receive payments in a few easy steps.
Nic Cary, CEO of Blockchain.info, explained: “Merchant adoption is something we are very passionate about. We want to build beautiful, simple to use applications for anyone to get started with Bitcoin.”
Easy as 1,2,3
Once the app is installed the user needs to add the receiving address, business name and currency of choice. The user then enters a description and price for items being purchased and the app generates a QR code, allowing the customer to scan it and send the payment.
As Blockchain.info explains:
“Our goal was to design an app that would make accepting Bitcoin simple and easy for any business owner. Simply download, install and open the app; set up your 4-digit PIN […]; add your Bitcoin receiving address, name of your business and currency preference; turn push notifications on and then click save.”
How does it compare?
So what are the selling points? Well, since the app is free, they aren’t exactly selling points, but Blockchain says it has a number of advantages over traditional payment methods and competing bitcoin solutions.
As soon as it is installed and set up, the app can start receiving bitcoin payments instantly via the Blockchain API. There are no fees on payments and the app is already getting good reviews on Google Play. The biggest complaint coming from early adopters and reviewers appears to be the relatively limited choice of currencies.
The application should run on all Android devices running Android 4.0 or a more recent versions.
Of course, the elephant in the room is Coinbase. The company pioneered bitcoin merchant apps, but truth be told bitcoin merchant apps are still very niche. The Coinbase Merchant app still has fewer than 5,000 downloads, which doesn’t sound like much – and it isn’t.
Bitcoin POS (point of sale) and mPOS (mobile point of sale) solutions are still few and far between, but in theory they do offer a number of distinct advantages over traditional payment solutions, including the fact that they are free, offer 0% transaction fees and don’t require specialized hardware.
Apple is still not allowing bitcoin apps on iOS, which is bad news for many merchants who rely on iOS POS solutions, usually on iPads.
However, Cary has a plan: “We’re going to be giving away android tablets as we roll it out around the world. There are already half a dozen on the way to Paris and we’ll announce new launch cities over the coming weeks.”
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