Blockchain payments startup Wyre has announced the launch of a payment tool for Wechat and Facebook. Bitcoin.com spoke with CEO Michael Dunworth to find out more about Wyre Bot, which utilizes Wechat and Facebook Messenger for business invoicing.
Also read: Leading Japanese ATM Manufacturer Oki Gets into Bitcoin ATM Business
Wyre Bot Launched
Wyre offers cross-border payments to large scale enterprises and payment companies using open blockchain technologies. Currently operating in the US, China, and Brazil, the company began offering an API and a client dashboard to their customers in the spring of 2016. At the end of last year, Wyre raised $4.5 million in a series A round funding. The company also claims to have moved over $1 million in payments per day by the fall of last year, according to its website.
On Wednesday, May 24, Wyre announced:
We’ve built Wyre Bot — the first blockchain payments tool on Wechat and Facebook.
Using the bot platform Recime, Wyre Bot was created for use across Wechat and Facebook to generate payment invoices as well as respond to customer support tickets via chat.
“Currently the bot’s focus is on the invoicing piece of the payment,” Dunworth told Bitcoin.com. “We’re just trying to tie the communication channel of Wechat into the westerners’ more used channels like email/Facebook,” he said, citing how this will reduce friction for businesses in China sending invoices.
Wyre Bot currently supports USD payments to China, a channel the company calls its core focus. “We’re going to be opening this up though in the near term and are already seeing some demand for new currencies,” Dunworth detailed. Additional currencies could include the Euro, British pound, Mexican peso, and Japanese yen.
Furthermore, more functionalities could be added to the bot in the future, such as the ability to execute payments directly in the bot and multi-invoicing in one request. Another expansion plan the company is considering is adding more social platforms such as Whatsapp, Slack, Line, and Viber.
How Wyre Bot Works
Using a standard social chat window, the supplier first sends a message with the transaction details to Wyre Bot. The bot will then generate an invoice in a .pdf format which is emailed to both the supplier and the person paying the invoice.
Invoices are hashed, timestamped and stored on the Ethereum blockchain for fraud protection, according to Wednesday’s announcement. Dunworth explained to Bitcoin.com that this method is “a way for our clients to feel confident that the invoice they’re receiving was generated through our platform, instead of being from a spoofed email address that looks like it was generated by us,” adding that:
If the hash is on the chain, they can just search through it and see it there. It’s a SHA256 hash of the invoice they’re emailed.
Can’t Use Bitcoin at the Moment, but Maybe in the Future
The CEO went on to describe why they made the switch from Bitcoin’s blockchain to Ethereum’s. The company used to record these transactions on “the Bitcoin blockchain but it’s too expensive to do that,” he shared with Bitcoin.com.
The higher Bitcoin network fees restricted him from making hourly timestamps, which Dunworth said that his customers need. “So it’s either we put it on once per day,” he continued, “which means our customers can’t verify their invoice” as often, or “use a cheaper chain and do it hourly. So we opted for the latter.”
However, he hinted that in the future, Bitcoin’s blockchain may make a comeback, stating that:
RSK is super interesting and we could jump back over there if things become more cost effective.
What do you think of Wyre Bot? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wyre, Wechat, Facebook, and RSK Labs
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.