Canadian payments company Glance has announced that its users will now be able to use Bitcoin as a payment method across all existing merchants and services. In a press release issued November 29, 2018, the company explained that the new feature will be called “Pay With Bitcoin.” Despite the name, however, Glance’s solution differs from traditional cryptocurrency-based payment processors.
Converting to “Glance Dollars”
To use the feature, Glance Pay users will have to first convert their bitcoin balance to a platform-specific currency, called Glance Dollars. The company explained in its release:
“Pay With Bitcoin enables Glance Pay users to pair their cryptocurrency wallet with their Glance Pay account, and then purchase Glance Dollars with Bitcoin. Glance Dollars represent a credit that can be spent instantly at participating merchants within the Glance Pay ecosystem.”
The company claims that converting bitcoin to Glance Dollars will allow users to make payments quickly. Since a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain can take anywhere between a few minutes and several hours to finalize, using the cryptocurrency directly for retail purchases can be impractical. Another advantage of this approach is that merchants will able to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method without participating in the process of setting up and managing digital wallets or using additional hardware.
While Glance has not explained its reasoning behind this two-step process any further, it would be reasonable to guess that the move is also a hedge against cryptocurrency volatility. The relevance of this is perhaps compounded by the fact that the price of Bitcoin has fallen by around 30 percent within the past couple of weeks.
If the cryptocurrency market goes through a similar period of extreme volatility in the future, it is likely that one of the two transacting parties could be negatively affected. With Glance Dollars, the company has effectively created an in-house currency system with functionality similar to stable coins.
Glance Technologies CEO Desmond Griffin said, “We are continually building out new payment features to ensure our platform is at the forefront of technology. Pay With Bitcoin allows Glance users to unlock the value of their crypto assets for use in their everyday lives while seamlessly opening up a new cutting-edge payment method for merchants.”
Glance’s Pay With Bitcoin feature will be competing against the likes of BitPay and Square, both of which have enjoyed a long association with the cryptocurrency community. The latter, for instance, recently reported that it had facilitated $43 million worth of bitcoin transactions in the third quarter of 2018 alone. BitPay, on the other hand, has enabled bitcoin payments at a variety of online merchants since its inception, including software giant Microsoft and game distribution platform Steam.
More recently, Ohio has reportedly partnered with BitPay to became the first U.S. state that accepts tax payments in bitcoin. The idea was first put forth by State Treasurer Josh Mandel who reasoned that the move could attract blockchain businesses to Ohio and position the state as receptive to the technology.