Blockchain FinTech Wyre is the latest firm to deploy chatbot technology to facilitate B2B transactions.
The U.S.-based company said Wednesday (May 24) that it is launching a chatbot that links to Facebook in the U.S. and WeChat in China to facilitate B2B payments.
“WeChat is everything in China. Email is somewhat outdated,” Wyre CEO Michael Dunworth said. “WeChat has 1.1 billion accounts with over 750 million daily active users, so everyone in China uses WeChat, but everyone in the West uses Facebook and email.”
Taking advantage of the popularity of both platforms means Wyre is looking to gain a larger share of the cross-border B2B payments space. Transactions between businesses in China and the U.S. are huge: according to reports, 13.9 percent of all B2B payments in the U.S. involve either a Chinese sender or recipient, totaling $59 billion in value in 2014.
Wyre is already using its blockchain-based infrastructure to facilitate B2B payments for Chinese companies. But chatbot technology, the company explained, can reduce friction when facilitating payments outside China.
The chatbot can understand information regarding the location of a payer, currency, value and invoice numbers and can facilitate the sending of those invoices by Chinese suppliers to overseas business customers. Reports said 100 companies are currently using the solution, with 500 more lined up.
“This is probably one of the first ubiquitous WeChat and Facebook bots in the payments space — definitely in the blockchain space,” Dunworth added.
The solution will charge a 0.25 percent fee per transaction and uses various exchange networks to obtain the best FX rate. The company uses cryptographic hash technology to safeguard payments and invoice data.
Wyre raised $5.8 million in venture capital last December.