Friday , December 2, 2022

Circle Looks to Its Deal for Elements to Ease Crypto Payments for Merchants

Blockchain players have been working for years to bring digital currencies to the point of sale, leading to Circle Internet Financial LLC’s announcement Thursday it has acquired a San Francisco-based payments-technology firm called Elements to make it easier for stores to take crypto, including Circle’s stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC). Terms of the deal were not announced.

The move, which Boston-based Circle in its announcement bills as part of “an accelerated crypto payments roadmap,” comes as cryptocurrency values have been crashing and other efforts to enable merchant acceptance have met with mixed success. In many programs, crypto tendered by consumers is immediately converted to dollars or other fiat currency to guard against crypto’s notorious volatility. With stablecoins, however, this risk is less prominent.

“I think this is a great move for Circle,” says Aaron McPherson, founder at the payments consultancy AFM Consulting, in an email message to Digital Transactions News. “This has the potential to be a true crypto-acceptance portal for merchants, and should do a lot to mainstream the idea of stablecoins.”

Another feature that could set Circle’s latest initiative apart is that Elements’ so-called payments-orchestration technology is said to ease integration of Circle’s crypto payments with merchants’ existing links with payment-service providers. This, Circle says, paves the way for wider merchant acceptance by enabling what Nikhil Chandhok, the company’s chief product officer, calls “dollar payments utility” for merchants. Processors Elements has built integrations with, according to its Web site, include Stripe, Adyen, PayPal, Klarna, and Alipay.

“Providing well-designed payment products that can facilitate seamless, efficient, frictionless, and delightful customer experiences are key to empowering merchants to take advantage of these next-gen payment solutions,” Chandhok said in a statement.

Nafis Jamal, founder and chief executive at Elements, promised in a statement that the acquisition by Circle will give merchants a “seamless and low-cost payments and settlement experience…using a digital currency they can trust.”

USD Coin is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of $47.7 billion as of Friday morning, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

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