Through an integration of the European payment network, WoraPay, users of the London-based Bitcoin mobile wallet SpectroCoin now can spend bitcoin at numerous Eastern European merchants.Paying merchants with bitcoin is done indirectly, however. Users’ fund their WoraPay accounts with bitcoin sent from their SpectroCoin wallets, and then pay the merchant with euros through their phone.Though WoraPay has its own mobile wallet, the company also opened its payment network to third-party wallets. This gives other mobile wallets access to a growing number of merchants across Europe that accept WoraPay. The payment network is especially popular in Eastern Europe and only recently has got traction in Western Europe.“[The] key requirement for currency is its liquidity. And, differently from most financial assets, liquidity of currencies is perceived not as an ability to sell or buy it, but to use it as a means of payment,” said SpectroCoin co-founder and CEO Vytautas Karalevicius. “Having more places to pay with bitcoins makes it more like a currency or method of payment and less than as a tradable asset. Furthermore, having more places to pay with bitcoin reduces the number of transactions involved as there is no need to exchange bitcoin before payment, which leads to lower cost and quicker processing.”
A Universal Bitcoin Company for Eastern Europe
SpectroCoin offers many consumer services. The company operates a bitcoin-to-cash service in Asia and Europe, a Bitcoin exchange and a merchant payment processing service. But at the core of the company’s offering is its Bitcoin mobile wallet.According to Karalevicius, the increased number of businesses SpectroCoin users can spend their bitcoin at is crucial for convincing consumers to pay with bitcoin and the long-term viability of the digital currency.“We have always perceived Bitcoin as a payment protocol, not as an asset class. Therefore, we position ourselves as providers of Bitcoin services to reduce bitcoin price risk rather than to sell bitcoin as an asset,” Karalevicius said. “By having more merchants accepting bitcoin without asking them to take bitcoin price, security or other risks, we make bitcoin payments much easier. SpectroCoin’s key goal is to use Bitcoin to separate three fundamental properties of money: method of account, store of value and means of payment.”SpectroCoin mobile wallets have moved to this direction not only by WoraPay integration, but also by being the first Bitcoin company to offer the ability for its clients to pay with euros via the Bitcoin network, which means users can buy and exact amount of bitcoin when initiating a transaction and do not have to hold any bitcoin, only euros.Though SpectroCoin offers many services, the company is focused on Eastern Europe. Among the new bitcoin-accepting merchants SpectroCoin users will be able to spend their bitcoin with are Lukoil gas stations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Other businesses include a Lithuanian taxi service, two sports areas, numerous restaurants around Europe and four e-commerce websites.
Jeffrey Maxim is a marketer and writer studying the emerging intersection of mobile, marketing, retail and fintech. Currently living in Uruguay, Jeffrey enjoys soaking up the country’s rich culture and listening to jazz and ska in his free time. He is also a hobbyist coder learning the basics of web development. Follow him on Twitter @jeff_maxim.