Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, isn’t content to just have people buy Bitcoin and other coins. It wants to kickstart demand by having people use crypto.
The global exchange announced early today at its virtual event, Binance Blockchain Week, that last Friday it had sneakily launched a beta version of Binance Pay, its answer to PayPal.
“Binance Pay is a contactless, borderless and secure cryptocurrency payment technology designed by Binance,” reads an explainer on its website. “Binance Pay (beta) allows you to pay and get paid in crypto from your friends and family worldwide.”
Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told the virtual Binance Blockchain Week audience, “We think that payments is one of the most obvious use cases for crypto.”
But it’s encountered some challenges, he shared. The biggest difficulty is for merchants to have systems in place to accept currencies that the overwhelming majority of customers don’t use. It’s just easier to accept cash and credit because people use them regularly.
Binance’s system allows users to pay in crypto, while the merchant receives fiat-backed stablecoins that can be converted into fiat. (At this point, the product only supports one type of fiat: the euro.) Said CZ, “This way their business doesn’t have to fluctuate with crypto.”
The exchange is billing Binance Pay as “a basket of products,” which will include the previously unveiled Binance Card—a debit card that converts users’ crypto to fiat whenever they make a purchase.
Like Binance Card, Binance Pay supports five currencies.and are both represented, as is the exchange’s BUSD and (BNB), an exchange-specific utility token used to pay trading fees and take part in Binance-hosted token sales. Users can also pay with SXP tokens from credit card company Swipe; Binance purchased the firm last year.
Unlike the debit card, there’s no actual card with Binance Pay—users can transfer funds from their wallet using a QR scanner in the app.
Though CZ has big plans for Binance Pay, he joked that the beta launch has been quiet. “If you can find the product, you can try it,” he said.