Converge22 Dispatch #1: The Future of Merchant Services

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At Circle, we are building a world where stablecoins can become true digital cash that enables the frictionless exchange of value on a global scale. Merchants stand to reap significant benefits from broader stablecoin adoption, as open blockchains offer a better alternative to interchange where payments can settle globally, almost instantly and nearly for free.

During Converge22, our first ecosystem conference, we got the opportunity to lay out our vision for how we plan to make it easier for merchants to accept consumer payments via powerful, blockchain-based transaction rails that can supplement card payments.  

It all starts with USD Coin (USDC), a dollar digital currency that’s fully reserved with cash and short-dated U.S. Treasuries  so that it’s always redeemable 1:1 for U.S. dollars. USDC is already live on eight blockchains with plans to launch on five additional chains by the end of Q1 2023.

In addition to USDC, we are also building an open merchant payment platform atop stablecoin infrastructure, facilitating seamless, efficient, frictionless and delightful transactions between merchants and their consumers. 

This platform is designed to give merchants the utmost flexibility and simplicity in payment acceptance. It features single API integration for payments across crypto, cards and global payment methods, and best-in-class developer experience and tooling so you can build it to your specific business needs.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Digital currency merchant payments and payouts

The first part of our platform makes it as easy as possible to accept digital currency payments, not just in USDC but also Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) as well — all through a single API that is easy to integrate into your existing systems. 

Payments can automatically settle as USDC, or you can keep funds in the source currency your customers send to you. You can easily accept USDC from across all blockchains where it lives natively. Our new Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol, also announced at Converge, will further eliminate guesswork and friction in USDC payment flows for both consumers and merchants as developers build new commerce applications on top of it.

And on the flipside, we’re on the verge of unveiling merchant payout capabilities in USDC, BTC, ETH and MATIC (Polygon’s native token) that can better connect traditional merchants and Web3 marketplaces to vendors, suppliers and creators. This capability will also be available via easy API integration.

As with existing merchant infrastructure, Circle offers real-time payment notifications along with streamlined statuses, reporting and reconciliation.


One-stop checkout

Checkout friction can hamper sales. Our platform can help merchants make complicated, multi-step checkouts a thing of the past. We offer checkout integration with major crypto wallets, along with Apple Pay(R) and Google Pay(R), so you can offer customers a fast, seamless experience.


Where we’re headed next

We don’t intend to stop at the user experience layer. Getting a million merchants and a billion customers to pay with digital currency will require significant additional investments in a full payments stack. Here’s a look at our future roadmap:

  • Additional wallet integrations
  • Gasless merchant transactions 
  • Pull-based payments
  • Subscription payments
  • Identity verification
  • Cross chain and multi-token settlement

Privacy solutions are another area where we plan to invest significantly. Merchants’ consumers want to protect their private information as they transact. And yet merchants need certain identity information to facilitate transactions. To bridge this gap, we’re working with emerging open standards for zero-knowledge layers around USDC.


Part of the global payments ecosystem

Perhaps most importantly, we’re building services to enhance interoperability and plug merchants into the connected global payments ecosystem. Our growing partner roster reflects our commitment to put merchants at the center of global commerce with reduced costs and friction.

  • MoneyGram
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay
  • Several major card networks

This is just the start as we accelerate the future of merchant services. Stay tuned for more exciting developments and additional product recaps from Converge.

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