At Origin, we’re committed to enabling buyers and sellers to transact in a truly peer-to-peer fashion. Up until now, goods and services on Origin have been denominated and paid for in ETH. Pricing goods and services in cryptocurrencies has two major problems. First, users need to do mental math (or pull out a calculator) to figure out how much they are buying or selling for in their local fiat currency. Secondly, currency volatility means the same good or service can fluctuate wildly in price (in fiat terms) on a daily basis. Today, Origin is excited to announce two major upgrades to our platform: listing prices in fiat currency and our first stablecoin integration.
Listing prices in fiat currency
Pricing goods and services in cryptocurrencies can be confusing for buyers and impractical for sellers. Starting from today, sellers will be able to create listings priced in the fiat currency of their choice, and buyers will be able to see prices in their preferred currency. For example, a seller in the EU can list their home for rent for €100/night, and buyers in the US will see the equivalent price in dollars.
This is a major step forward from pricing listings in ETH, which can vary significantly from day to day. We’ve had sellers give us candid feedback that they had to update their listings multiple times to accurately price their products with changing ETH prices in the past. A home rental listed at one ETH/night could be $300 today and $150 next week. Now, that same listing will remain at $300 USD without requiring the seller to constantly monitor cryptocurrency prices.
When a buyer makes an offer to purchase or rent a seller’s listing, the buyer will then escrow $300 worth of cryptocurrency. This amount is dynamically calculated according to market prices.
Payments in DAI
Although pricing listings in fiat currency helps alleviate the issue of price volatility, it is not a complete solution. If I book and pay for a room several months in advance, the price will likely fluctuate significantly before the booking is complete and the seller is paid. Remember, the cryptocurrency payment has already been escrowed at the time of booking. That same $300 stay at the time of booking could easily be $200 or $500 by the time the booking is complete if the booking is paid for using ETH.
To reduce this risk, buyers will be able to pay using the DAI stablecoin, the popular ERC20 token released by Maker that is price-pegged at $1 USD. Since launching in late 2017, DAI has kept a remarkably steady peg with the dollar, despite significant fluctuations in the price of ETH. Today, there are thousands of daily active users of DAI that use it for many purposes, such as buying/selling, storing value, and trading.
Seamless swapping from ETH to DAI via Uniswap
We believe DAI and/or other stablecoins will serve as the payment rails of the future in the Web 3.0 world. However, today, there are still far more ETH holders (millions of wallets) vs. DAI (around 20k wallets).
To make things even easier for buyers looking to purchase or rent on Origin, we’ve enabled ETH to DAI swapping directly within our DApp. ETH can optionally be converted to DAI at the time of sale via the Uniswap decentralized exchange smart contract. This removes the complexity of requiring the buyer to acquire DAI from an external source such as an exchange, increasing the likelihood of a successful transaction. Of course, if the buyer already has DAI, they will be able to spend it directly.
We chose to start with Uniswap due to its completely decentralized nature, and the fact it had the lowest gas cost of any of the solutions we tried.
With today’s launch, we’ve moved one step closer to challenging traditional centralized marketplaces that facilitate the exchange of goods and services all over the world in local fiat currencies.
We recognize that there are now dozens of stablecoins on the market. We don’t pretend to know which ones will gain the largest market share. But if things go well, we’re eager to integrate other stablecoins in the future. While it was an easy decision to start with DAI, we’ll continue following other stablecoins that may make sense to integrate as well.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us. Most people in the world still don’t own any cryptocurrency at all. Looking forward, we’re interested in exploring various crypto onramps that can help first time users start buying and selling on our marketplace and partner DApps.
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