Ethereum platform Elrond Foundation, which boasts 100,000 transactions per second, will acquire Portugal-based cryptocurrency firm Utrust, according to a CoinDesk report Tuesday (Jan. 11).
The combined entity is working to join decentralized finance (DeFi) with payments in a product dubbed Merchant Yield, the report says. Elrond and Utrust both have tokens, and the companies will update the community early this year on the final mechanics of the deal from a token-holder perspective.
Elrond and Utrust are joining forces, in part, to allowing online payments to take advantage of Web 3, the next generation of the internet built around decentralized applications. After the Utrust payment gateway has been integrated into Elrond, the next step involves offering merchants access to DeFi and blockchain-based staking through Merchant Yield.
The companies will transform payment processing services from a cost for merchants into an income stream, the report says, with Europe as the likely initial market for their combined efforts.
“A superlative version of payments that’s flawless, instant and inexpensive anywhere in the world is already a great step forward,” Elrond Network CEO Beniamin Mincu said in an interview. “But what if, instead of charging a merchant X% per month to process transactions, they can receive this yield, to compensate for what they are spending on fees and maybe have a 5% yield in addition?”
Merchant Yield will enter beta testing in the first half of this year and is expected to include tiers of risk vs. return ranging from staking on the Elrond proof-of-stake blockchain to participating in DeFi protocols.
“It’s a way for merchants to have their stake in this space and a more diversified treasury,” said Sanja Kon, CEO of Utrust, in an interview. “We really want to change how people pay and get paid. Traditional payments are incentivized more in the way of large marketplaces and large merchants, instead of giving everyone the opportunity to do business.”
Stephen Pair, CEO of crypto payments processor BitPay, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster that he expects more people will use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this year on purchases.
Research shows that 14% to 15% of the American public owns or owned crypto and PYMNTS’ May 2021 Cryptocurrency Payments Report found another 17% planned to dip their toes into crypto by the middle of 2022.