Global payment processor Checkout.com has launched a new stablecoin settlement system that will allow merchants to process crypto payments from their customers in real time — potentially widening the use cases of stablecoins within e-commerce.
The stablecoin settlement system centers around Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), the second-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, and allows merchants to automatically convert USDC payments into fiat upon receipt. The service will be available to merchants around the clock, meaning payments will be settled on weekends and holidays in addition to regular business hours.
The settlement system leverages payout technology developed by crypto infrastructure provider Fireblocks. Through its beta program with Fireblocks, Checkout.com settled over $300 million in USDC transactions.
Initially, Checkout.com’s stablecoin settlement system will only support USDC, although there are plans to offer a wider range of assets over time.
Ran Goldi, Fireblocks’ vice president of payments, told Cointelegraph that blockchain technology can significantly improve payments flow for merchants. “Traditionally, payments are really fragmented, slow, and expensive,” Goldi said. “This first step to settle merchant payouts with stablecoins is just a small part of what we can do in the payments space.”
Goldi continued: “Crypto merchants have now become very scaled, compared with just five years ago when crypto merchants did not really exist. The increased demand from merchants to receive payouts in stablecoins shows their willingness to keep their funds and interact with their vendors and counterparties in crypto.”
Rebranded in 2012 as a cloud-based payments solution, Checkout.com has pivoted strongly into digital assets and Web3, having entered into partnerships with major crypto players, including Coinbase, Crypto.com, FTX and MoonPay. As reported by Cointelegraph, the company closed a $1 billion Series D investment round in January at a valuation of $40 billion.
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Although crypto has emerged as a new asset class for investors, its utility as a medium of exchange is considered vital for mainstream adoption. Dollar-pegged stablecoins have become viable alternatives in emerging markets where access to U.S. dollars is limited due to capital controls or sanctions, and where the local currency is losing its purchasing power due to hyperinflation.
Jess Houlgrave, Checkout.com’s head of crypto strategy, told Cointelegraph that cryptocurrency adoption among merchants marks “a legitimate transition from the early adoption phase to one that’s more practical, pragmatic and positive overall.” She further explained:
“This transition means there’s a groundswell in demand for fintech companies that can provide easy-to-deploy solutions and services to get merchants up and running with crypto payment options —and then help them optimize the process over time.”