Circle APIs

Understanding the Power of Circle Marketplaces API

Team Circle Team Circle August 21, 2020

Circle provides a suite of APIs that enables businesses and developers to seamlessly integrate digital dollar stablecoins as a new payment rail. One of Circle’s most innovative APIs is the Marketplaces API, which enables operators of digital marketplaces to accept and make digital dollar payments. 

Discover how the Circle Marketplaces API can be leveraged to create a full-stack payments infrastructure of global digital marketplaces.

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Circle Marketplaces API: A Complete Payments Solution for Online Marketplaces

The Circle Marketplaces API enables online marketplaces and multi-sided platforms to process payments and manage a digital wallet infrastructure without the need for traditional banking relationships. 

“The Marketplaces API is a combination of our Payments API and Wallets API plus added capabilities that are specific to the kinds of payment flows that exist in marketplaces and multi-sided platform businesses,” explains Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire.

Using the Marketplaces API, marketplaces can accept fiat currency card payments from marketplace buyers that automatically settle in USD Coin (USDC). Additionally, marketplace operators can seamlessly process multi-sided payments and payouts using USDC or issue payouts in fiat currency, which can be easily managed using in-platform wallets via the API. 

On marketplaces that provide a platform for buyers and sellers to interact, payments are multi-dimensional. They can come in the form of buyers paying sellers, sellers paying a commission to the marketplace operator, processing payouts to sellers, and more. At its core, the Marketplaces API allows for sophisticated funds routing to support any funds flow model such as 1:1, 1:Many, Many:Many payments, and more.

“The marketplaces API essentially gives you a layer of abstraction on our payments and wallets infrastructure to instantiate the kinds of multi-sided, multi-dimensional flows that you find in digital marketplaces,” Allaire added. 

Now that you understand what the Marketplaces API does, let’s have a look at the benefits that it can bring to the table.

Benefits of the Circle Marketplaces API

In combination with a Circle Business Account, USDC, and other Circle APIs, the Marketplaces API has several benefits that make it attractive to online marketplace operators. 

  • Provides a plug-and-play payments infrastructure for online marketplaces
  • Gives marketplaces the ability to process multi-sided, multi-dimensional payments
  • Enables marketplace operators to accept credit & debit card payments
  • Full ownership of end users by maintaining control of the UX
  • Monetize the platform by crediting different amounts of digital dollars across connected wallets

Arguably, the most powerful feature of the Marketplaces API is that it can be used to create an entire in-platform payments infrastructure for an online marketplace without the need for traditional banking relationships. Additionally, leveraging USDC and the Marketplaces API alleviates the need for marketplaces to build their own payments infrastructures, which can be both timely and costly. 

Marketplaces and multi-sided platforms - including e-commerce marketplaces, sharing and gig economy platforms, and markets for digital goods and services - have complex payment flows. Marketplaces typically need to accept payments from buyers, process payments to sellers, automate marketplace commission payments, and process mass payout. The Marketplaces API gives marketplace owners the ability to process multi-side, multi-dimensional payments at scale. This flexible funds routing and account storage mechanism allows for new ways for Marketplaces to monetize and create new revenue streams. 

The Marketplaces API also enables online platforms to accept credit and debit payments that automatically convert into USDC. For blockchain applications that typically only accept cryptocurrency payments, the Marketplaces API provides an easy fiat-on ramp for customer payments, which potentially opens up these applications to a new, non-crypto-native customer segment. 

Finally, the Marketplaces API allows for the easy integration of USDC payments. Sending, receiving, and managing payments in digital dollars can facilitate payment flows and increase payment efficiency for Internet-native platforms. 

Marketplaces API Use Case

The Circle Marketplaces API can be used in combination with a Circle Business Account and other Circle APIs to provide a full payments infrastructure for any type of online marketplace or Internet-native multi-sided platform business. 

For example, a blockchain-based decentralized marketplace that allows participants to buy and sell digital art could use the Marketplaces API to accept card payments and USDC to offer both US dollar and digital dollar payments for buyers. That would allow crypto-native platforms to attract non-crypto users in addition to their existing, crypto-friendly user base. 

Alternatively, a gig economy app for freelance developers working on one-off projects could use the Marketplace API to create a full-stack payments infrastructure that runs on USDC. Freelancers could get paid in digital dollars regardless of where they are located, even if they don’t have access to legacy financial services. Conversely, businesses in need of developers can choose to pay using traditional payment methods that automatically settle in USDC. 

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How to Accept Marketplace Payments Within Minutes

Circle has made setting up its APIs as easy as possible. It only takes minutes for online marketplaces and multi-sided platform businesses to start accepting card payments that automatically convert into USDC via the Marketplaces API.  

To test up a test card payment using the Marketplaces API, the setup process is as follows: 

1. Create Marketplace & Seller Accounts

Access the developer sandbox on my-sandbox.circle.com and signup for a marketplace account. Then, generate the API key and record it in a secure place. Next, you log out of the developer sandbox and sign up for a second account - your seller account - and generate an API key for that.

The API key you generated for your marketplace has to be converted into a proper Marketplaces API key. Email us at marketplaces@circle.com so we can process the conversion and configure your marketplace account and API key and associate your seller account to the marketplace in order to simulate a multi-sided scenario

2. Retrieve the list of sellers on your marketplace

Once your Marketplaces API Key has been configured and confirmed by us, you can utilize the get merchants endpoint to retrieve the list of sellers on your marketplace. You will need this information for the payment step.

3. Install the sample application

We have developed a sample web application to showcase the uses of our Circle APIs. You can clone the Github repository, configure the app, and run it locally.

4. Accept your first marketplace card payment

On the sample application, click on the “Charge Flow” button under the “Example UI” implementation section.

You will see the fields “Merchant Id”, “Merchant Wallet” and “End User Wallet” at the top of the form. Fill out “Merchant Id” with the “merchantId” property you obtained on step 2. For the End User Wallet field, we'll create a new wallet that represents your buyer.

Use one of the test card numbers available on the sandbox environment, and type in an amount, pick a value for CVV and expiry date, and add billing information details. Then, submit the marketplace payment creation request by clicking on the “Make Payment” button.

That’s it! You’ve processed your first marketplace card payment that settles in USDC.

5. Check the status of your card payment

To retrieve the status of your marketplace card payment, use your API key from step 1 and the payment identifier you obtained on step 3. Eventually, your test payment will change its status from “confirmed” to “paid.” At that point, you have funds in your account available for use.

 

For a more detailed explanation of how to set up the API, check out our Marketplace Payment Quickstart Guide

Online Marketplaces are ideally positioned for digital dollar stablecoin adoption as they are first in line to benefit from frictionless, global payments. To learn more about the Marketplaces API, get in touch with us.

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