Antonio Eram was invited by the CoinDesk.com, the world leader in news, prices and information on bitcoin and other digital currencies, to talk about the recent Netopia’s announcement on integrating the bitcoin option into its service payments for more than 6.000 merchants. The move would provide merchants with the ability to process bitcoin payments, with no additional development costs. To make the integration possible, the company has partnered with Romanian bitcoin exchange BTCXChange and Dutch-Romanian company Coinzone.com.
Antonio Eram (photo), Netopia mobilPay’s CEO and founder, told CoinDesk:
„We see a great future for bitcoins, however, we cannot estimate the impact on the market. There are a lot of things to take in consideration. We are setting the foundations, and future will tell us if we are right (or not).„ He explained that the company will set „very low” percentage fees per transaction and is working on simplifying the acceptance model to enable faster adoption.
„Bitcoin transactions will certainly see growth in the next six months and we are probably looking at something up to €100,000 in the first months,” Eram said.
The company – which specialises in small transactions in the €0.50 to €20.00 range – is currently processing around 50% of all mobile payments in Romania, according to the CEO, and offers a range of services, such as payments by SMS or telephone, and credit card payments.
The company’s goal for cryptocurrencies, Eram continued, is to create an environment in which bitcoin is widely accepted, creating an ecosystem based on blockchain technology.
Eram explained: „We have opened bitcoin processing and made it available to all our 6,000-plus merchants (online and offline). Bitcoin implementation is an opt-in service. This is due to Romanian and EU regulation, and is basically done by checking ‘I want to accept bitcoin’ within our payment gateway.”
Romania has vibrant bitcoin community, he added, with bitcoin ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) services that accept and sell bitcoins, along with at least one operational exchange. „You can buy bitcoin at more than 2,000 ZebraPay and Qiwi Kiosk terminals throughout the country. I don’t think that there is any country where it is easier to get bitcoin. You can literally buy them on every corner,” said Eram.
The company has also launched a mobile wallet in Romania, in partnership with MasterCard. While the company is considering integrating bitcoin into the wallet, Eram admits this is „a bit of a stretch”.
„Tendinţele pe care le-am remarcat înainte de începerea pandemiei s-au accelerat pe perioada stării de urgenţă. Am văzut acest lucru ca o oportunitate, un tipping point pentru bancă. Post-pandemie nu avem cum sa ne întoarcem la comportamentul financiar pe care îl aveam până în februarie a.c. Relaţia românilor cu online-ul s-a schimbat. In plus, cardul fizic se va dematerializa. Vom asista la o scădere a cererii pentru cardurile fizice, respectiv la o creştere a preferinţei pentru componenta digitală a acestora.”