The world we live in is constantly evolving technologically, integrating ease of use and functionality within our everyday lives. Since the introduction of the internet, purchasing goods and services is something we find ourselves doing on a more frequent basis. Products are now just a click away and its convenience is a luxury we all strive to incorporate more and more when it comes to commerce. How can we make the exchange of goods a faster, more beneficial, and straightforward process? Electra addresses this issue with the advent of the ElectraPay system, the community-driven payment solution for merchants and consumers alike.
Payment acceptance is changing rapidly, and merchants need to look at how to adopt newly developed solutions. As more consumers request payment solutions, merchants will look to support and provide those solutions in order to satisfy consumers. For the process to function properly, both the needs of the consumer and merchant must be met.
Who drives this process, the consumer or the merchant? The process is driven by both the consumer and the merchant, creating a continuous cycle. However, to spark the fire of the commercial process, the mass adoption is first needed by the consumer. If a merchant does not offer the payment service for a consumer, they will find a merchant that does. This can be thought of as relating to the business principle of supply and demand. If the consumer demands it, the merchant will supply it in order to stay competitive.
What is available right now for consumers?
- Cash - fiat currency
- Card payments - (wallets)
- Card payments - (banks & financial institutions)
- Mobile payments - (wallets)
- Mobile payments - (banks & financial institutions)
Governments, banks, and financial institutions have dominated the market we know today through the use of legal tender. They offer the most prominent payment solutions used on a daily basis. They differ from cryptocurrency payments by their centralization.
What should a payment service offer?
Payment services should offer a multitude of things that will not only appease the consumer, but also the merchant. Consumers and merchants want fast, simple, and inexpensive mediums of exchange which protect their accounts and information.
- It must be simple for consumers to use, such as card payments, NFC and QR Codes.
- It should be inexpensive to set up for the merchant — NFC and card payments are not cost effective for the merchant.
- Secure– Cards have a flaw in that the card number has to be stored. Fraud increased by 33% in one year, having switched to EMV chip debit and credit cards in 2016.
- Availability — technology must be robust and available 24/7.
- Compatibility — Easy integration into current point of sales systems. PayPal has driven as much as 15% of all online purchases. At the same time, its in-store attempts have flamed out.
- Minimal transaction fees — the current card payment fees make it expensive for the average merchant to accept card payments.
- Speed of transaction — card payments offer the highest number of transactions per second.
How does ElectraPay solve the above points?
Through the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, along with the Electra Project’s NIST5-based blockchain, security, speed, and simplicity are built into the technology’s foundation.
- QR Codes are simple for both the merchant and consumer. Fast, efficient, and inexpensive.
- No hardware costs for the merchant.
- Blockchain technology is secure.
- Decentralized technology of the blockchain allows for 24/7 availability.
- Compatibility — community of developers who will develop integration platforms.
- Fee of x per transaction, thus making it cost effective for all values of transactions.
- NIST5 algorithm ensures minimal energy consumption from mining wallets.
A more in-depth discussion
Financial and credit card fraud are presently very prevalent in our society. Cryptocurrencies combat fraud by the security of the blockchain. Blockchains are inherently secure by the intricate process of cryptography. The blockchain utilized by the Electra Project, is created by the highly secure NIST5 algorithm, which is a combination of the some of the most secure and efficient algorithms selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of America. With the NIST5 algorithm powering the infrastructure, the ECA blockchain allows for the secure and safe transfer of value online. As technology advances, the blockchain will become more secure as the developers update specifications.
The speed of ECA upon the blockchain will only improve as well. Electra Project developers have been working on updating the features of the blockchain. Electra will be reducing their block time so that the value transferred will be usable under a 2-minute period. The network latency will determine the speed that the transaction is propagated to all the nodes. Electra is received within the wallet in under 5 seconds. This is one of the fastest transfer times among cryptocurrencies but is still not as fast as Visa and Mastercard payments because of the limitations of the underlying blockchain technology. However, blockchain development is evolving and with the introduction of masternodes, the same speed held by major credit card companies, is becoming achievable. The Electra Project will introduce masternodes in Q3 of 2018.
The cryptocurrency industry is in its infancy. The majority are not yet aware of the revolutionary technology built into blockchains and how it will one day change our lives for the better. Cryptocurrency is being adopted by a certain type of person, and not by the masses at this point in time. A portion of the lack of familiarity with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is due to education. Most individuals are not familiar with the complexities which underlie modern technologies. To confront this problem, the Electra Project has formed an education team, comprised of community members, who are prepared to educate those of us who are unfamiliar with this technology.
The Electra Project has recently assembled Electra University, a team of experienced individuals, able to spread their knowledge through education. Electra University intends to educate all consumers on how blockchain works and create a better awareness for mass adoption to take place. Many cryptocurrencies primarily focus on merchants to accept payments, but the Electra Project is focusing on both the merchant and the consumer, as without this adoption, no payment service will be successful.
What scares consumers at this point in time, is the complexity of setting up a cryptocurrency wallet and depositing their current fiat currency. Most people would not know how to do this and are not prepared to take the perceived risks of using cryptocurrency exchanges.
Our new desktop wallet is the first step in our response to the uncertainty. We have developed the new desktop wallet to be very versatile and user-friendly. Currently, we have launched a beta release of the desktop wallet. The beta release will assist to ensure usability while also allowing the developers to address any unforeseen issues. We want it to be easy to use and adopt the same functionality as a banking APP, thus making it familiar to the consumer.
The Electra Project is diligently at work, creating the necessary improvements to reach the milestones laid out in our roadmap. Atomic swap development has begun and will be critical for the mass adoption, as the wallet will be able to convert value without having to go through an exchange. Atomic swaps get rid of the third party needed to complete a “swap” of separate cryptocurrencies.
Electra’s outlook is that the wallet is equivalent to having one’s own bank on your very own computer or server. Consumers have used banks for this in the past as they have always offered a safe place to keep fiat. For those unbanked and underbanked, cash is the only method of transacting.
If the consumers understood that the decentralized principal behind the blockchain, in its purest form, offers more security than a bank, or even keeping cash, then it would be more widely adopted. Through desktop wallets and mobile phones, this is very achievable.
Each wallet, whether it is located on the desktop or on a mobile phone, has a private key. The private key, which locks the wallet and keeps the value safe, is critical. This is where consumers need to be educated on how to keep this key safe. Our wallet allows the consumer to enter a mnemonic phrase — which will keep that private key safe. All the consumer needs to do is write down the phrase, put this paper in a safe place, and not lose it. This is all built into our new desktop wallet.
Electra will use the community to market and spread the news and gain mass adoption of the consumers. We have started this journey and will take it to the next level by educating consumers and creating an educational platform for cryptocurrency.
The next step will be for merchants to create an acceptance of Electra (ECA). A merchant will require a wallet for receiving funds. At this point in time, this can be done through the desktop wallet, as this will be the most secure way to keep their funds.
The merchant will have to register on an online Portal and enter the receiving wallet address. They will choose the plugin required by their ecommerce site, and they will be able to download the plugin. The next step will be to install a plugin to their ecommerce site. The site will have the “ElectraPay option” whereby when the consumer decides to pay by Electra, the plugin will send a payment request to a centralized server, which will be hosted securely. The payment service will convert the fiat amount to an ECA value, returning a QR Code and a wallet address. This will NOT be the merchant’s wallet address but a newly generated wallet address for each pending transaction.
The consumer will then pay by ECA through sending the funds to the wallet that was generated, thus the consumer will never know the wallet address of the merchant. Once the centralized server has received the funds into the newly created wallet, the funds will be paid immediately into the actual merchant’s wallet. This smooth transition keeps information and identities safe, ensuring security and satisfaction for the merchant as well as the consumer.
The next step will be to allow a P2P payment using a mobile phone or a tablet. P2P payments are person-to-person, from the consumer to the merchant. The payment originates from the consumer’s wallet and is sent directly to the merchant’s individual wallet via the online connectivity of a mobile device.
For this process to work properly, the merchant’s mobile phone or tablet must always be on. As a transaction is agreed upon, the merchant and consumer will complete the following steps:
1. The merchant enters the amount
2. The merchant taps on “Request Payment”
2. The customer touches the merchant device with his phone
3. The customer receives a “YES” or “NO” payment confirmation notification 4. The customer taps on “YES”
This new process will allow everyone to make purchases on the go. It gives the consumer much more flexibility and is tailored to offering the merchant the same freedom along with the security of the more traditional desktop system.
ElectraPay will be a go-to system for merchants and consumers who wish to use cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange. The speed and security features of ECA, combined with the aspects of the ElectraPay system, will enable payments for goods and services to be a pleasant experience for all parties involved. With the new features of the Electra Project being developed, the new desktop wallet will make ElectraPay and atomic swaps a breeze. If you’d like to learn more about the project, visit electraproject.org for general information. For the more technical side, visit our GitHub repository at https://github.com/Electra-project. If you would like to get involved in the project and contribute your knowledge and experience, visit our Electracoin Discord Server at https://discord.gg/6GSTrXy.
Image: ECA Link & Xalyn