A brief history of payments
Paying for goods might seem straightforward, but it has a notably long and rich history. Initially – with money yet to be invented – barter was the only way to exchange goods. One had to relinquish one’s stuff to acquire something else. Subsequently, money was introduced, first in the form of bullion: gold and silver coins, ingots etc.
Carrying large amounts of gold could be problematic – especially if engaged in international trade. In the 13th century, bills of exchange were developed as a solution to this problem. It took the next four hundred years to introduce daily check clearing and the overdraft.
The modern history of payments starts in 1871, when Western Union – then the biggest telegraph company in the world – introduced money transfers. Next – in the 1920s – came the credit cards, initially available for exclusive oil-company and hotel chain use. They’ve reached the wider public in the 1980s with the worldwide acceptance of the UK-issued Visa card.
The changes haven’t stopped there. Debit and credit cards continue to evolve, and bank services are increasingly available online or via mobile apps. Cash is becoming less and less relevant and the shift towards online spending and e-commerce as the preferred way of shopping feels like the natural order of things.
The rise of e-commerce
Isn’t it great to live in a world which empowers you to buy almost everything you can think of online, with a global door-to-door delivery? We think it is! But what’s even more awesome is that the choice of the payment method is so extensive, you’re bound to find one that’s just perfect for your needs.
1. Cash on delivery (COD) – In most cases, one can still use cash in online shopping. By choosing the COD payment method, you oblige to exchange a certain amount of cash for the ordered products once they’re handed to you. However, the prevalence of this method is expected to decline in the near future; it’s time consuming and offers low security for both sides of the transaction.
2. Money transfer – The most conventional operation offered by banks. Ordering a bank transfer can be done conveniently using a computer, a mobile app, or with a phone call. Still, this solution is not of first-rate speed; transfers can really drag on. They can also be costly. Those issues are exacerbated with international transfers. If the payment is made in a currency other than one of the bank account, the customer is often charged additional fees, and their patience is tested as the transaction can take days to clear.
3. Debit/ credit card – Debit and credit cards solved some of the issues inherent to online transfers. Card payments are fast and eliminate the need for constant communication between the customer and their bank. However, they still generate additional costs resulting from exchange rates. There are security concerns too: paying with a card requires providing its number to a third party, who might then use it unauthorized.
4. eWallet – The introduction of eWallets (such as PayPal) took online payments to the next level. Online shoppers no longer needed to give their card information to online retailers, making payments more secure. However, there is a significant trade-off. As every payment made using eWallets has to go through a complex verification process, the intermediary companies assert significant control over the transaction.
The crypto (r)evolution
Every online payment method listed above seems to have its limitations. But this list is not exhaustive! Back in 2009, following the global financial crisis, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin, the first-ever cryptocurrency. It took a while for the broader public to recognize its legitimacy and bring cryptocurrencies to a wider use but, thankfully, that moment has come!
Cryptocurrency payments excel in all the elements we’ve considered. They are secure: no government can block one’s funds held in crypto, and it’s incredibly hard to track payments. They are convenient: you only need internet connection to access your funds, and payments are made with QR codes or copy-pasting a wallet address. There’s no risk of mistakenly transferring funds to a wrong entity.
Finally, crypto-payments can be fast, too! We’ve introduced a unique payment system that allows crypto-enthusiasts to pay in real-time. Fast-changing exchange rates of some cryptocurrencies might have been a problem in the past, but now it’s only a matter of the past. Exeno locks in the exchange rate for the time needed to make a transaction. This is possible through the use of Exeno Wallets. Wallets let us eliminate the need for QR codes, too! Payments are secure, convenient and fast.
We believe that cryptocurrency payments are the future of online shopping. We are thrilled to observe the possibilities that it gives come alive. And we’re excited to be the part of the change. Make your own contribution and Buy By Crypto at Exeno.