February 13, 2018
By: Steven Anderson
While bitcoin’s price tag is taking a beating the likes of which makes the Bill Buckner era of the Red Sox look like a Sunday school picnic by comparison, one company may have just launched something that could turn it around: a means to use bitcoin as an actual, no-fooling legal tender currency. Or at least, after a fashion. It’s called Flip, and it comes our way from NXT-ID’s Fit Pay unit.
The Flip system is, essentially, a device that uses near-field communications (NFC) to effectively turn cryptocurrency into actual currency at retailers. Preorders for Flip systems are said to start this month, though exact dates are still unclear. Basically, it works by having the device store a pre-loaded quantity of US dollars, which are exchanged automatically from the existing cryptocurrency account. Rather than having the retailer accept bitcoin, the Flip system essentially handles a quick sale, transfers the quantity through the system, and pays off the merchant accordingly.
Right now, Flip systems will only deal in bitcoin, but it could expand down the line. There’s no official word on plans to do that, though, so it’s strictly speculative.
NXT-ID chief operating officer and Fit Pay president Michael Orlando noted “Flip is a very convenient way to use cryptocurrency value to make retail transactions. Not only does it seamlessly exchange cryptocurrency into dollars, it’s contactless, giving users a simple tap-to-pay experience.” Orlando also pointed out how this development simply leveraged technology that the company already had in place.
Cryptocurrency in general, and bitcoin in particular, has long been faulted for its less than useful nature, particularly in its lengthy processing times and comparative lack of security. That’s made any potential of it being used as an actual currency pretty much dry up and blow away. But if NXT-ID has really found a way to do this—and it sounds like it has—then it may have fundamentally changed the nature of cryptocurrency from being an early-adopter toy and a speculative investor’s fancy to a potentially real alternative to cash.
By simply carrying out conversions and advancing a certain percentage against volume, NXT-ID may have removed the “slow conversion” problem altogether. Only time will tell if this catches on, but NXT-ID may have given crypto a whole new life.