Briefly tell us why we should all love Utrust What was the motivation behind the launch of Utrust?
Utrust was envisioned as the safe link between consumer and merchant, allowing any online business to easily start accepting cryptocurrency from buyers. The idea originated from my less positive experiences using other services to pay with cryptocurrency. This involved a not so pleasant online shopping experience when attempting to pay with crypto online. Suffice to say that not only did I not get what I paid for, and lost my Bitcoins, with no possibility of recourse. At that moment, we decided early on that we should build something better, easier to integrate for merchants, more user-centric, and appealing to the mainstream market. We wanted to provide a single integration point allowing any merchant to accept multiple cryptocurrencies (including stablecoins) while settling in their bank account. This works alongside other payment options at checkout time, allowing the capture of an entirely new user base. It also allows a high level of de-risking as merchants are not exposed to the volatility of crypto. Moreover, it provides significant cost savings, versus traditional payment methods (reduced fraud risk and no chargebacks).
For users, it allows them to spend their crypto directly and in the safest way possible in an increased merchant base, without converting (to an exchange or card), significantly decreasing costs, time and hassle of making a purchase, while using any wallet of their choice.
The blockchain industry is extremely saturated, what competitive advantage and features differentiates Utrust from other payment processors?
While it is true that the blockchain industry is full of exciting projects and protocols, we are in quite an unique vertical and we deliver unique value props both for merchants and bueyrs. In the payments landscape we are building an all encompassing platform and business, instead of a singular protocol. We have a business with solid fundamentals, serving merchants businesses in an unique way – allowing them to accept cryptocurrency while receiving directly in their bank, in fiat currency, at a very low cost and without the risk of fraud chargeback.
Our platform is modular, working alongside existing online checkout flows, and supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies as payment options, stablecoins (and perhaps even CBDCs in the future). Quite comparable to Adyen and Paypal, but safer, faster and cheaper. Any merchant can integrate, using industry-standard plugins (such as magento, woocommerce, wordpress, prestashop and others) and start accepting multiple cryptocurrencies while receiving directly in their bank account. The user chooses their preferred cryptocurrency and pays from any wallet of their choice directly and on-chain.
The merchant receives the payment for their article in their native currency (EUR, GBP, USD etc) in to their bank account, just like any other order from their website. No need to worry about any of the volatility nor the difficulties of holding/handling cryptocurrencies. We make it easy and simple for merchants. We are among the top tier payment platforms in the space with the quality and scope of merchants onboarded. Our fundamentals are solid. It’s no coincidence that, among blockchain companies in our segment, we captured the interest of top-tier traditional venture accelerators (500Startups and Alchemist Accelerator)
Adding to this we are branching into specific business solutions building upon the core technology, such as the new invoicing solution. Not only this, but we are also complementing our offering with a user-focused wallet solution that allows users to store, exchange and spend cryptocurrency online and in-store with a branded VISA Debit Card.It also bring further utility into our token, allowing users to reverse-stake and earn Utrust token as rewards in the app. While each solution by itself could be considering competing with other top-tier ones in their category, the value of all together is greater than the sum of all parts. They build upon one another and magnify their potential. None other is tokenized, so broad nor has this much potential.
What does the process of acquiring merchants look like?
The process of online merchant acquisition varies greatly, depending on the size and industry of the business itself. For inbound customers, there are 2 main processes: For smaller to medium size merchants, most proactively reach out to us, going directly to the registration page (https://merchants.utrust.com/onboarding/sign-up), towards the first steps of onboarding. Integration is easy and straightforward. Most of those cases come from a direct referral by existing customers, who recommend our services to partners and online search. For larger merchants, the process is slightly different, as it typically involves a custom integration. This involves bilateral contacts between the teams and business development head, followed by a proposal. During the process the merchant is guided by our support team.
What benefits can users expect to have when using your new wallet?
Using the HOLD wallet, users can trade cryptocurrencies, pay in online merchants, order and link their VISA Card to spend worldwide, make direct bank deposits and withdrawals, stake UTK and earn rewards on each trade. This is only the current featureset, which we will be building upon over the next quarters.
Utrust introduced the concept of inverse staking to the mass, how exactly does it work?
Our token as a driver of utility in all aspects of the Utrust payment ecosystem. In the Utrust payment platform, the token is used to lower the payment fees, as part of the refund mechanism.
As part of the HOLD wallet for users, we have introduced new features enabling a one of a kind reverse staking model in order to accrue specific rewards. In the app, users can lock a certain number of tokens and will earn 1% of every exchange they make back in their UTK balance. The rewarded UTK is bought from the open markets directly, this increases the buying pressure and decreases the circulating supply. Moreover the model provides an incentive for users to actively use digital currencies.
Why does Utrust process transactions on-chain as supposed to off-chain?
We process transactions on-chain, as are connect to the chains of the supported protocols, instead of being on a closed loop system. When users want to pay a merchant online, they send their payments over the corresponding native protocol (BTC, ETH, DASH, USDT, USDC, etc) to the address shown. These transactions are shown on the blockchain. Conversion to fiat currency to the merchant happens once the amount is received. In this way, the system is open – when a user pays a merchant, they can do from any wallet. This is unlike other off-chain methods, where clients and merchants are locked to a particular sandbox, only interacting with representations of cryptocurrency value (eg: Revolut, Paypal), and no real ability to send, receive or verify transactions in the real networks. Ultimately if a payment is not processed on-chain it goes against the blockchain core values and Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision.
Every company has short, medium and long term goals. What can we expect to see from Utrust?
We are continuously working on new business opportunities and partnerships. This is the case since the platform had its go-live in mid 2019. As a company, we have an established business roadmap, and I’m happy to say that we are on track with all our developments. We are creating an ecosystem of solutions that solve real problems for merchants and users; have solid business fundamentals, validated and backed top venture accelerators; exponential growth potential in a nascent market; and will bring increasing utility to the Utrust token. We have launched a whole new revamped wallet solution: HOLD powered by Utrust technology, allowing trading on cryptocurrencies in-app and a debit VISA card. We are always looking ahead, and for 2021 we are preparing for new exciting features, to enrich our ecosystem, expand our merchant base and much more.