Solana users will be able to leverage a new payment functionality. Per an official post from Sheraz Shere, Head of Payments at Solana Labs (SL), the network has the potential to achieve a long-term vision around payments.
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The post presents a hypothetical world where a customer is able to purchase an item with just a QR scan with their phone. A lost-cost and immediate transaction will give them ownership over their item, as the merchants receive the funds which are immediately set to generate “high-yield interest”.
In this scenario, the Solana user can benefit from an expanded payment experience; the merchant can submit customized orders, NFTs, and other unique items. In that way, a single purchase on the legacy payment becomes a one-time customer, becomes a permanent customer with Solana Pay, the network’s new payment framework and protocol.
The new functionality is set to unify a sector that has been, according to Shere, operated with separate components. Thus, the payment protocol running on this blockchain has set out to bring cohesion to the sector and remove friction from a process that is often cumbersome. The Head of Payments at SL said:
Even as our world has digitized and ways to pay have proliferated, the dance between merchants, intermediaries, banks, and technology has only become more fragmented. Threading the needle on a cohesive payment experience that rewards loyalty, drives repeat visits, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg simply never happened.
Shere called this solution a building block for “decentralized, open and truly peer-to-peer payment protocol”. In that sense, the Heads of Payments expects this feature to support a future payment system that operates with the ease of sending an email, with cheaper fees, and with Bitcoin’s censorship resistance capabilities. Shere added:
The core premise behind Solana Pay is that the payment and underlying technology goes from being a necessary service utility to true peer-to-peer communication channel between the merchant and consumer.
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Solana, Controversy, And Innovation On The Blockchain
The Solana-based feature will let people send stablecoins, such as USD Coin (USDC), with immediate settlement and direct contact between merchant/consumer. The feature could be a first step into providing users with loyalty rewards, instant new offers/sales, and more.
Thus, this payment functionality could provide merchants with a chance to increase their engagement with the customers by removing third parties and intermediaries. In a future stage, the feature will let commerce also send cryptocurrencies back to a consumer.
However, the ultimate objective for the payment functionality goes beyond letting people “pay with crypto”, Shere said:
(…) this is about a vision where all currencies – including U.S. dollars – are on-chain and used for a wide range of transactions. Merchants have been able to accept crypto currencies for years, but acceptance usually means settling in non-stable currencies, swapping out one intermediary for another, and duct-taping together square pegs and round holes. It doesn’t need to be like this.
The payment protocol is free-to-use and will operate under a “net-zero environmental impact”. The feature has been supported by crypto exchange FTX, Citcon, Checkout.com, and Circle.
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As of press time, SOL trades at $105 with a 5% loss in 24-hours. The network has been highly criticized by some users due to its multiple outages in the past months, the blockchain has recorded at least 6 of these events which have negatively impacted user experience.