Plutus, a London-based bitcoin start-up, claims it has invented a technology that will allow customers to pay with bitcoins in stores, even if the merchant doesn’t accept the cryptocurrency.

This will be possible due to a special mobile application which allows using bitcoins with any Point-of-sale (POS) terminal enabled with Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, writes Luke Parker in an article on The NFC facilitates secure contactless exchange of information between two electronic devices.

To achieve this, Plutus has created the Decentralized Exchange (DEX) system where traders are ready to buy bitcoins immediately as customer charges his or her Plutus bitcoin account. The payment then sent in fiat to the merchant, thus making them able to receive payments at their stores in the currency they accept.
However at the moment not all POS terminals have the NFC technology enabled and quite a few of them are not compatible with NFC at all. But gradually things are catching up.

“According to an independent report by a Swedish M2M/IoT market research firm, Berg Insight, shipments of NFC-ready POS terminals to merchants is estimated to be 9.5 million units worldwide”, says Parker. And the number of mobile phones with NFC is also constantly growing, especially because this technology is used in iPhones. 
In the future bitcoin payments via NFC may become mainstream, Plutus says. The use of NFC technology by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover will stimulate both customers and merchants to employ NFC-enabled POS terminals and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, bitcoin isn’t usually accepted in stores. It is to solve the problem of retail shopping with bitcoin that Plutus has introduced its new technology. Instead of trying to make merchants accept bitcoin, the company suggests using the currency almost without noticing it. “Don’t try to beat the status quo, start by working with it,” says Plutus.


Andrew Levich