US blockchain payments firm Wyre has launched a new bot for Facebook Messenger and WeChat that authenticates invoices through a public blockchain.
In WeChat or Messenger, a supplier sends the transaction details to the Wyre bot, which will generate and email a PDF invoice to all parties. The invoice is then hashed and stamped onto an ethereum blockchain every hour to verify where it came from.
Scamming people with fake invoices is too easy, said Michael Dunworth, CEO and founder of Wyre. Last month for example, tech giants Google and Facebook allegedly fell prey to forged invoices and phishing attacks, losing $100m in the process.
The bot is designed to make sending and receiving invoices easier, so it needed a clear method of authentication, said Dunworth
"It's on our official wallet where you can see the input data of the hashes in the blockchain. We put it into HEX and you can convert that into ASCII, if you look at ethereum, with just the click of the button. That's just a security measure for clients so they know [the invoice] did go through the Wyre bot. It's not someone pretending they went through the Wyre bot."
"Businesses should be using this. It is the most simple, basic use of a blockchain, it just makes complete sense," he added.
The only information stored on the ledger is the hash of the invoice that the buyer, seller and Wyre can see. No information like names or invoice amounts are registered.
The Wyre bot uses an ethereum blockchain to authenticate the hash every hour as using bitcoin would have been too expensive, Dunworth said, adding:
"[Ethereum] costs 20 cents a transaction or something, whereas if I did that on bitcoin, it's probably going to cost me $2. If we did it on bitcoin, to make it cost effective, we'd probably have to do it daily and I just prefer it to be hourly."
The minimum viable product (MPV) of the bot was built in about six weeks and the company is considering other applications such as multi-invoice processing and support for other platforms like WhatsApp or Slack.
"I think using the blockchain to verify, like we're doing with invoices, is an incredibly simple and underrated use case. I would think almost every single business in the world should have an official blockchain wallet, just like they've got an official Twitter account," Dunworth told CoinDesk.
The bot announcement comes not long after Wyre acquired Chinese blockchain payments startup Remitsy to help its entry into China and facilitate more payments services between the Asian nation and the US. Remitsy will soon be coming under the Wyre branding and is currently migrating customers, Dunworth said.
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Wyre, Inc.
Invoice on cellphone image via Shutterstock