Introducing BizFirst — Web3 Payments and Loyalty Infrastructure for Online Merchants

BizFirst
5 min readOct 28, 2022

We believe that the next 100 Million users will onboard crypto/Web3 via Stablecoin Payments to merchants. We want to accelerate that process, and with that mission, today we’re launching BizFirst.

BizFirst is the simplest way for Merchants to start accepting USDC Payments and run NFT-based loyalty programs directly from their E-Commerce Store.

Let’s start with the WHYs — Why Merchants? Why Solana?

Why Merchants?

Visa and Mastercard did $50B of cumulative revenue in 2021 — this $50 billion revenue is what we view as an inefficiency in the payments value-chain and precisely the Web3 Payments opportunity.

Along with this, there are several other issues with incumbent payment rails.

1. Payment Provider Charges & High Interchange Fees

The Current Payment system is riddled with several intermediaries that cost the merchants and, in turn, consumers 2–3% in fees on each transaction which quickly adds up on larger volumes. The largest share is the interchange fees. Interchange fees usually consist of a percentage of each transaction along with a flat charge. These include Assessment fees (to. Visa & Mastercard ), Acquirer fees (e.g. BOA, Wells Fargo). Payment processing fees are paid to the providers (e.g. Stripe, Square) that provide the payment software or hardware to the merchant.

2. Long Settlement Cycles (T+2 to T+7)

Even after a Merchant pays all the intermediaries, it takes 2 to 7 days for them to actually receive their money in their bank accounts — i.e. settlement cycle. For a small business, this can create cash-flow problems and lead to them borrowing short-term loans at high-interest rates from the same intermediaries — a clear case of misaligned incentives.

3. Losses to Chargebacks

There is a high probability of consumer information data breaches between multiple intermediaries. Chargebacks are also a massive problem for merchants — In 2021 alone, merchants faced losses of approximately $20B from fraudulent chargebacks.

The Promise of Web3 Payments.

The above problems are well-documented, and cryptocurrencies were designed with this primary use case in mind. Satoshi Nakamoto describes the payments use-case in the Bitcoin Whitepaper as the practical use of Bitcoin — not the store-of-value it has become today.

There are several reasons we’ve still not seen the adoption of Web3 Payments.

  1. Cost — An average transaction on Ethereum costs about $42 — making it impractical for most low-value transactions.
  2. Volatility — Ethereum and Bitcoin are highly volatile assets — Imagine accepting $10 worth of $ETH for a coffee, and its value is $6 by the time you convert it to USD. [Merchants will still have to convert as the world, i.e. employees, landlords and banks still only accept USD] That is a ~40% loss for no visible gain.
  3. Speed- Average time for a transaction to be confirmed on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum is lacking compared to incumbents Visa and PayPal. Payments processed on networks such as Ethereum might require an indefinite amount of time, ranging from 10–30 minutes which is unacceptable for merchants looking for on-the-spot settlement confirmation.
  4. Loyalty is missing — Commerce for businesses includes “Loyalty” — a way for them to engage and retain customers. Something that is currently missing in Web3 Payment solutions right now.

So how does BIZFIRST solve these problems for Merchants & Consumers?

BizFirst is the simplest, cheapest and fastest way for Merchants to start accepting USDC Payments and run NFT-based loyalty programs directly from their E-Commerce Store.

BizFirst is currently live on Solana and is now available for all E-Commerce Merchants to use. (Signup now). Integrating with BizFirst provides the following benefits immediately:

  1. Significantly lower cost & fees — There is a clear upside in cutting out the intermediaries as merchants can have better margins from transactions. The average cost of a transaction via BizFirst is 0.5% vs ~4% for Web2 Payments. This is 60%+ savings on your transaction costs.
  2. Instant Settlement — Solana is one of the fastest blockchains. The average ping time, i.e. time taken for a transaction to be approved, is less than 5 seconds while processing up to 65000 txns compared to Visa’s 1800 transactions per second. Using BizFirst, the settlements happen on-chain in real-time directly to the Merchant’s BizFirst Wallet in less than 5 seconds. [Merchants own the keys to their BizFirst wallet and can transfer assets anytime & anywhere]
  3. Zero ChargeBack Risk — No Chargebacks are possible on-chain. Merchants can still choose to refund any order they want via BizFirst.
  4. Zero Volatility — Since payments are made in USDC [i.e. fully collateralised Stablecoin by Circle], there is no volatility risk, and USDC can always be swapped for 1:1 USD.
  5. Built-in NFT-based Loyalty Programs — We understand the value of Consumer Loyalty for Merchants and have re-imagined it for the Web3 world i.e.: Merchants using BizFirst can now send, create, mint, issue and redeem NFT-based Discount Coupons for their customers basis their cart value AND Merchants can partner with NFT projects and offer discounts for existing NFT projects. Ex: A golf accessories store can partner with LinksDAO can offer 15% off on the entire store for customers holding LinksDAO NFT Membership

Here is the entire BizFirst Product Suite for Merchants on WooCommerce [Shopify and BigCommerce coming soon!]

Starting today, merchants can signup & start using Bizfirst to

  1. Create their BizFirst Wallet
  2. Accept USDC payments on their E-Commerce Store [BizFirst PAY]
  3. Create, Send and Track USDC-based Invoices [BizFirst Invoices]
  4. Run and track NFT-based loyalty campaigns [BizFirst Loyalty]

We believe that merchants should benefit from all of the advantages that on-chain decentralised payments can provide, such as network cost savings, Defi yield generation, zero fraud liability, instant settlement, and ownership of the customer relationship.

We’re focused on expanding the BizFirst suite of products to help onboard the next 100M users to Crypto/Web3 and are hiring!

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Send us an email for partnerships at hello@bizfirst.xyz

BizFirst is a product of Apollo. (A Web3 Payments & Loyalty company backed by YCombinator)

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