When we set out to build Flexa, we knew that we had our work cut out for us. We knew that instant, retail cryptocurrency payments were possible, and we knew roughly what we needed to build in order to connect all of the important pieces together. But we truly had no idea just how meaningful Flexa would become for the very merchants we were building it for.
Over the past few decades, digital technologies have turned the world of commerce upside-down. Bitcoin and the blockchain have proven over and over again that private, secure, and censorship-resistant transactions are the future of value exchange. And yet—somehow—the way we pay for our daily purchases still hasn’t caught up to the present.
That’s why today, we couldn’t be more proud or excited to pull back the curtain on what the Flexa team has been building for the last fifteen months.
1. Bringing digital assets into real stores
Since February 2018, we’ve been hard at work building what we believe is the future of payments: Flexa is a new payments network, built on top of cryptocurrency, that brings buyers and sellers closer together in order to cut processing cost, eliminate fraud, and preserve your privacy. It’s what digital payments would look like if we designed them from the ground up.
We built Flexa because we believe that the existing payments infrastructure is broken. The typical cash alternatives—credit and debit cards—are expensive for merchants and prone to fraud. Even worse, each new card is less efficient than the last. [Who do you think pays for your credit card rewards? You do.]
So, instead of bolting cryptocurrency payments on top of debit cards, we took the opposite approach. Over the past year, we’ve built new connections with tens of thousands of merchant point-of-sale terminals nationwide, to bypass the existing payments infrastructure and push cryptocurrency-based payment authorizations directly to merchants on your behalf.
We call these payment authorizations “flexcodes,” and starting today, you can use them at some of the biggest and most forward-looking brands on the planet, each of whom were carefully curated to incorporate spending from every sector. We’re just getting started, and already you can spend your cryptocurrency on everything from apparel to entertainment and in between.
We couldn’t be more delighted to be working in such esteemed company, and we look forward to announcing even more incredible merchant partners on the Flexa network in the coming months.
2. Opening the network for business
Today, we’re excited to introduce the very first app on the Flexa network, which we’re calling SPEDN. We’ve built this new app for the millions of cryptocurrency holders who want to experiment with the future of payments, and we’re eager to see what you make of it.
Now, as you might expect based on the name, SPEDN is designed for one purpose, and one purpose only—spending cryptocurrency.
But while we were building SPEDN, we also began to explore some of the difficult consumer adoption problems facing our industry today… such as how to simplify deposit security and wallet management, and whether price volatility would make spending uncomfortable. These design issues are big questions, and obviously much bigger than just Flexa.
That’s why we’re also excited to announce our new partnership with Gemini, a regulated and secure cryptocurrency exchange and custodian based here in New York City. Our partnership with Gemini means that every SPEDN wallet is securely custodied and fully insured on Gemini’s NYDFS-regulated infrastructure. It also means that we’re able to add the Gemini dollar — the world’s first, regulated, dollar-pegged stablecoin—to the Flexa network, so that you can spend cryptocurrency without worrying about volatility.
This means that starting today, you can spend Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and the Gemini dollar (GUSD) at any of the merchants currently accepting payments on the Flexa network.
SPEDN is being made available exclusively to Consensus attendees today, and we’ll be releasing more invites in the coming weeks through the app itself. Beyond just releasing SPEDN at Consensus, we’ve also opened the first-of-its-kind “SPEDN Shop” on the main exhibit floor—a pop-up store for limited-edition crypto merch and collectibles that we hope you’ll enjoy.
Of course, SPEDN is just the first of what we hope will be many more apps to use the Flexa network. Later this year, we’ll introduce even more apps on Flexa, and we’ll also release the Wallet SDK: a simple drop-in for developers to incorporate Flexa payments into their own apps with just a few lines of code.
3. Continuing on our mission to make any coin spendable at any store, around the world
As the Flexa network grows, we hope to show the world just how transformative cryptocurrencies can be for all kinds of paymentsnot just peer-to-peer transactions, but also retail payments, dining, and beyond.
Already, we’ve seen firsthand just how excited merchants are at the prospects of accepting cryptocurrencies in their stores to reduce payment fraud and processing costs. The world of payments is evolving quickly now, and we believe that Flexa will be a massive part of the shift toward more efficient and more accessible commerce around the globe.
And so, we thank you for joining us on the mission to make cryptocurrency spendable everywhere—we couldn’t be more humbled by your support thus far, and we appreciate you being a part of our community.