Credit and debit card use in Europe does not do even close to the volume of business as we find in the United States. The fact is that throughout most of the EU people prefer to pay in cash and merchants are on-board because of extremely high bank fees. A new company in Hanover, Germany has introduced a new idea that could easily change that idea and introduce Bitcoin to the Continent in a big way: 3-D printed Bitcoin terminals.
Ricardo Ferrer, a European entrepreneur, put his head together with a few friends and developed a fast and easy way for merchants to accept Bitcoin easily through BitPay. The Team took a few old Google Nexus 7 smartphones, updated the Android software and created a surface that allows passing their phone across it after the merchant enters the price and completing the transaction.
What began as a primitive hack has now turned into a business. The design team has even 3-D printed a housing for the phone. Ferrer and his team were inspired to improve on their initial efforts after the release of Apple´s POS; an NFC enabled mobile payment option. He said:
[blockquote]We wanted to reach that standard of usability. But I noticed it wasn’t going to be possible through the normal channels.[/blockquote]
Ferrer knew he could design a system that would allow users to pay with a simple push of a button and he did this by installing an iBeacon on each terminal. When the customers passes the phone near the iBeacon it sends a push notification to the phone. Once it is pushed it opens an app which helps complete the transaction. The next step was to enter into collaboration with the different wallets (Bitcoin Core, Blockchain, Coinbase, Armory, etc.). It turned out that this would take too long so the team added a member and developed their own app.
The company “Pey” was born and as an opening salvo Ferrer decided to put the product on the market for free and after a short period have already placed 12 of the units. This is a windfall for Hanover merchants because with a free POS and software and BitPay´s Unlimited Payment Processing free forever these businesses are able to accept Bitcoin with no problem and no expense and a lot more security than a cash-only business.
[blockquote]We currently charge no fee, basically because we see ourselves as a hardware company. So we’re giving it to people and trying to learn from it.[/blockquote]
BitPay will continue its free processing but Pey will eventually begin to charge a fee for the terminals. There has been no decision yet whether the terminals will be sold outright or leased but it will be a while before any change are made. The company will concentrate its fund raising efforts in areas that are similar to Hanover in that the smaller businesses accept mostly cash.
Images courtesy of Pey