Cryptocurrency-based subscription billing might soon become a reality with Electroneum filing a patent for a system to support subscriptions. Will this spark off a new trend in the subscription space? Shashank Venkat presents the details
In our Subscription Business Trends Report 2018
, we predicted that there might soon be companies offering cryptocurrency-based subscription billing, and it looks like we are already seeing the first signs of this disruption. UK-based cryptocurrency project, Electroneum, has secured patent pending for a system that will provide cryptocurrency-based subscription payments as well as instant payments.
Electroneum (ETN) is a mobile cryptocurrency that aims to become a digital payment solution, especially to the developing world, and is the first cryptocurrency project to have joined the GSMA having also taken part in the Mobile World Congress
in Barcelona earlier this year. One of its unique features is that it can be mined with a mobile phone, unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin which require special high-performance hardware for mining. Electroneum has also entered into agreements with telecommunications companies Xius and Effortel with the goal of expanding the reach of its platform.
Subscription billing is rapidly becoming the de-facto payment model for many industries, with more and more businesses adopting this recurring revenue business model every month. With cryptocurrencies gaining increasing regulatory acceptance in Europe, it looks like cryptocurrency-based subscriptions is indeed a valuable gap which can be filled by Electroneum.
The patent application not only covers subscription billing in cryptocurrencies, but also subscriptions in cryptocurrencies pegged to the value of any fiat currency
. For instance, a user can very easily set up a recurring subscription payment to any vendor in ETN or US dollar value. Additionally, the patent also covers subscription payments via other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, among others.
Along with this, their pending patent also covers instant cryptocurrency payments by customers to businesses. If both users and vendors have Electroneum accounts set up, they can very easily make use of the instant payment system. Users can also transact with each other on a peer-to-peer basis using this system.
In its announcement, Electroneum states that their back-end system is not yet ready to roll out. The company intends to get its minimum viable proposition (MVP) live in the next couple of months and is aiming to work with a couple of mobile network operators before bringing it into the mainstream. Of course, it also remains to be seen whether the patent will be granted for this innovation. However, if it does, it will certainly help raise the profile of this cryptocurrency project.
It seems that 2018 will be a big year for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Earlier this week, tech giant Salesforce said that it is working on a blockchain and cryptocurrency solution
for the company and its users, and business conglomerate Maersk has already tied up with IBM
to launch a new venture to facilitate global trade with the help of blockchain technology. We expect more big names to jump on the blockchain bandwagon soon.
Subscriptions are all about giving customers more choice and flexibility, and cryptocurrency subscription payments is definitely another step in that direction. It remains to be seen whether Electroneum succeeds with its patent and its vision of connecting businesses and subscribers via cryptocurrencies.