Australian exchange Igot is aiming to rival bitcoin payment giants Coinbase and BitPay with the launch of its own international merchant solution.
Igot's platform will enable e-commerce and brick-and-mortar merchants to integrate bitcoin payments in almost 40 countries and transact in 10 different fiat currencies.
Rick Day, Igot's founder, said:
"Accepting bitcoin through Igot has multiple advantages for merchants. Perhaps most importantly, bitcoin is a free marketing tool that is likely to increase overall revenue. This is a win-win situation for merchants and the bitcoin community."
Igot is incentivising merchants to join its payment platform with a one-off $500 bonus after reaching $25,000-worth of bitcoin payments in the first 90 days.
During a CoinDesk survey last year, 54 of 100 merchants said that bitcoin accounted for 0–2% of their monthly sales. Just how many smaller merchants will be able to reach this $25,000 mark is unclear, given reports of dipping sales and slow bitcoin transaction growth overall.
Day remains confident, however:
"We believe our package presents a strong incentive for merchants to integrate with Igot. With a flat 0.5% transaction fee, we expect to get a lot of traction."
Day revealed that Igot's marketing strategy will mainly target e-commerce merchants, non-profit organisations and subscription businesses.
The founder also noted Igot's "strong presence" in Australia, India and the UAE, adding "we [Igot] expect to become one of the biggest players in these markets".
In February, Igot also announced the expansion of its exchange and remittance services to Kenya, following the acquisition of cryptocurrency exchange TagPesa and the integration with M-Pesa's mobile payments system.
Despite having the widest coverage, with its service available in "almost 40" countries, Igot is entering an increasingly competitive merchant payments arena.
BitPay, which currently claims to have over 50,000 merchants accepting bitcoin on its platform, recently signed a referral partnership with Heartland Payment Systems, the fifth largest payment processor in the United States in a bid to capture additional customers.
The processor allows merchants to convert bitcoin into 9 fiat currencies and, unlike Igot, does not charge small merchants for bitcoin or fiat withdrawals.
San Francisco-based Coinbase has been vocal about its European expansion plans. At the end of last year, the firm opened its services to residents of 18 European countries, including bitcoin hotspots like the Netherlands, France and Sweden.
It currently serves 29 countries worldwide and charges a 1% fee after merchants exceed $1,000,000 in bitcoin payments.
Additionally, February saw the launch of ChainPay, a bootstrapped startup in the Isle of Man that hopes to compete with the VC-funded payment solutions by offering lower withdrawal limits and high customer engagement.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.