OneBit, a Bitcoin startup, is developing an exclusive wallet app that will let users make contactless mobile payments. The best part about OneBit is that it would work at all merchants who are part of the MasterCard PayPass payment network. OneBit is able to securely convert bitcoin into the local currency, in real-time, by using BitPay’s platform. This enables payments at any merchant that has an NFC terminal. OneBit is not charging any fees for this contactless payment service.
OneBit was built at a Mastercard Hackathon and the payment network is backing the company by helping establish partnerships with card issuers, presumably as part of its open development initiative. OneBit is currently seeking funding in order to take its offering forward on a wider industrial scale. NFC enabled PayPass terminals have gained prominent penetration in regions such as Europe, Singapore, Canada, Australia, etc. OneBit has a clear advantage over others because it leverages the APIs and SDKs of MasterCard with the aid of BitPay.
A growing number of developers in the digital currency space are looking to contactless technologies to simplify and speed up secure payments. A number of crypto-currency wallet providers are leveraging technologies like NFC to keep up with the growing adoption of contactless payments and are enabling virtual currencies to be part of mainstream mobile payments.
There are numerous other examples of Bitcoin wallets, which enable contactless payments:
- Airbitz offers the ability to send bitcoins via bluetooth.
- Circle offers a digital money platform that delivers streamlined, user-friendly functionality similar to that of traditional online payment tools.
- Coinbase is a hosted bitcoin wallet, which means that users access the same account on their phone as in their web browser, and updates between the two are instantaneous.
- Coinplug has rolled out a pre-paid bitcoin purchasing service to around 24,000 convenience stores in South Korea, with 8,000 7-Eleven stores already participating.
- The Hive Legacy bitcoin wallet by Hive Labs enables touch-to-pay via NFC. It allows users to click on Bitcoin payment links from within your Android phone or tablet’s browser.
- Mycelium users are able to use it to pay people with NFC enabled phones by bringing their phone in proximity to another phone. The mobile wallet also offers customizable transaction fees.
The contactless bitcoin wallets mentioned here have their own unique offerings, and the ability of another very young company like OneBit to get access to MasterCard's network and gain visibility and support is a testament to the potential of collaborative & open innovation .