No one ever accused Bitfinex of having small ambitions.
Just days after it settled a years-long fraud lawsuit with New York’s attorney general over a loan it got from sister company and stablecoin issuer Tether, Bitfinex has launched a crypto-powered online-payments platform to take on behemoths like PayPal.
Bitfinex Pay will provide “online merchants with a means of receiving contactless and borderless digital token payments,” the company said in a release.
The Bitfinex Pay widget can be integrated into websites, allowing small merchants to accept bitcoin, ether, Lightning Network BTC, and Tether’s own USDT stablecoin, with the cryptocurrencies sent directly to a Bitfinex wallet.
While not mentioning PayPal—which intends to open crypto payments to its network of 29 million merchants at some point—by name, Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino was pretty clear in a statement:
“As a native of the cryptocurrency space, we’re aiming to take on established behemoths in the technology and payments fields, leveraging our knowledge of the tech to bring crypto payments into the mainstream. When it comes to paying in crypto, there is a generational change in thinking, with the next generation of consumers attuned to the many new possibilities offered by digital payments.”
Payments on the system are capped at $1,000 and there are no transaction fees charged by Bitfinex.
However, there’s one big hitch: The company said, “any transaction fees incurred on the relevant blockchain will be borne by online merchants and their customers.”
Given the outrageous fees both Bitcoin and Ether transactions have incurred lately, paying via USDT or the version of Bitcoin using the Lightning Network—a layer 2 protocol designed to overcome the scalability problems clogging Bitcoin—may be the wisest course.
“This is the age of digital money and with Bitfinex Pay we’ve created an intuitive and seamless way for online merchants to receive payments in crypto,” said Ardoino. “Bitfinex Pay enables merchants to be easily equipped to support crypto payments as increasing numbers of consumers become more comfortable with paying for goods and services using digital tokens.”