How This Decentralized Alternative to BitPay Is Driving Merchant Adoption of Bitcoin

Siamak Masnavi

BTCPay Server is an open source Bitcoin payment processing solution, created by French computer programmer Nicolas Dorier, that is promoted as a decentralized alternative to using BitPay. In a recent interview, Dorier talked about how he got into Bitcoin, the motivation behind BTCPay Server, and the current state of BTCPay Server.

Dorier was interviewed on the most recent episode of the Stephan Livera Podcast (SLP48, released on January 20th). In this article, we highlight some of the most interesting parts of this interview.

How Nicolas Dorier Got Into Bitcoin

"What Drew me into Bitcoin was basically Mt. Gox... I was very surprised that Bitcoin was not dead after this. I didn't know what Bitcoin was... but because it was still living... I got curious about it."

What Got Him Working on Bitcoin

"Because once you discover Bitcoin, everything [else] seems boring."

What Motivated You to Create BTCPay Server? What Was Wrong With BitPay?

"I was a pretty big fan of what BitPay was doing. I was using their [Bitcoin wallet] wallet, Copay, which was one of the best wallets on the markets at this time. I was pretty supportive of them. And I was a bit upset when they start pushing the narrative that it was a software upgrade instead of a hard fork and tried to push all their merchants to support this new sxxxcoin [BCH] and telling them that it was Bitcoin... Because Bitcoin is hard to program upon, lots of people end up depending on centralized infrastructure providers like BitPay... and, at the end of the day, if everybody is depending on them, then even if you have a decentralized currency, you are still vulnerable to the kind of attack that Bitcoin is meant to prevent. So, that is why I started working on BTCPay. I wanted to provide an easy to host infrastructure that everyone can run so they don't need those kind of third-party services to run their business."

How Dorier Tried to Make BitPay 'Obsolete'

Before we look at Dorier's answer, it is important to mention that on 18 August 2017, Dorier replied to a tweet by BitPay about getting ready for SegWit activation as follows:

Now, let us hear from Dorier how he tried to keep this promise:

"Well, when this happened, basically, I understood that Bitcoin was in danger if everybody kept depending on centralized services. So, I started developing BTCPay... If you are a merchant and you integrate BitPay, you cannot easily migrate to another solution if you don't have a developer in-house that can help you with this transition... So, my goal was to migrate everybody that I advised BitPay to to [an] open source solution without [any] code change on their side. So, I basically, replicated the API of BitPay inside BTCPay so merchants that are already integrated with BitPay can just seamlessly migrate to BTCPay without any code change to their backend... I won't say [that] I make them completely obsolete yet. So, for example, if you want fiat integration, you still need a payment processor like BitPay, though I will advise... GloBee or CoinPayments or many other [solutions] that have been created..."

Different Ways of Operating BTCPay Server

"Right now, the most popular one is around $9 per month. When I started doing it in [Microsoft] Azure, it was $60 [per month. We managed to find ways to drop it less than $10 per month., and it's really [a] very simple wizard. You create an account on LunaNode... Then, you just have to go to a certain page [where] there is a sort of wizard that you can follow... in 10 minutes, you already have your BTCPay that is running. I think I can drop it to $4 [per month] with the new offer that LunaNode released recently, but I still need to make some tests around this. Also, there are some people that are trying to push self-hosting at home... So, basically, you put BTCPay Server on a Raspberry Pi... If you do this, it's more technical, but you can drop the price to $1 or $2 per month, basically the cost of electricity that it takes to run the Raspberry Pi."

Deciding Whether to Self-Host BTCPay Server or Use a Crypto Payment Processor Like GloBee?

"The other options are possible depending on where you live, depending on [your] jurisdiction, and depending on your political inclinations. So, if you are Gab, GloBee or CoinPayments or anything else will eventually get shut down. For people that are not politically targeted, they can be good solutions, but because of the fact that you don't control you own key, what you can do with those payment processors is way more restricted. So, for example, BTCPay Server is not only useful for merchants; actually, it is a very good wallet."

Large Investors’ Interest in Bitcoin Futures Is Growing, Says CME

The CME Group, a Chicago-based exchange operator that’s been offering bitcoin futures contracts since December of 2017, has revealed big investors are gaining interest in the product.

According to CoinDesk, the exchange revealed through a statement that the number of open contracts is up 61% since last year thanks to growing demand from intuitional investors. The number of outstanding positions rose to 4,629 contracts from 2,873 in the third quarter of last year.

This despite a significant drop in the price of bitcoin this quarter, as the flagship cryptocurrency is currently trading at around $8,300, down from a $13,800 peak this year. The average daily volume of contracts traded this quarter was of 5,534, or the equivalent of 27,670 bitcoin - $around $290 million.

CME added the volume is up 10% from the same period last year, and that institutional flow has been remaining strong.

Institutional flow remained strong, with 454 new accounts added, compared with 231 added in the third quarter of 2018.

The exchange reportedly further added that its investors holding more than 25 bitcoin, equivalent to around $200,000, rose to 47 from 45 in the second quarter of the year, and from 34 in Q3 of last year.

Around 50% of the trading volumes CME’s bitcoin futures contracts have been getting comes from outside the United States, with 26% being from Asia and 21% from Europe and the Middle East.

At the time CME launched its bitcoin futures contracts so did Cboe, another regulated exchange that suspended its BTC offering in March of this year. Presumably it dropped the offering because of low trading volumes.

The exchange now faces competition from Bakkt, however, the Intercontinental Exchange’s crypto venture that launched earlier this year. It offers physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and has been seeing its trading volumes grow.

Featured image via Pixabay.