US firm Graft has a solution for cryptocurrency’s point-of-sale problems

An American firm thinks it can overcome one of the biggest obstacles in the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies - long wait times and high transaction costs at the point of sale.

Cryptocurrency company Graft wants to set up an open-sourced, payment gateway blockchain network designed for Point-of-Sale platforms and wallets that run on its cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is a digital ledger where online transactions are recorded.

There has been a cryptocurrency boom over the past year, with Bitcoin – the most prominent of these currencies – rising more than 1,000% in value in 2017.

But Graft says adoption remains a concern.

Cryptocurrencies follow the same confirmation process used for credit card payments - authorisation, authentication, clearing and settlement.

Graft says bitcoin is faster than credit cards on this front, but not everyone benefits.

"The shorter time for bitcoin is good for the merchant because they can access their funds faster, but it's time wasted for consumers because most of the time, they have to wait out the entire confirmation period before the purchase is complete," the company said.

Bitcoin was partly meant to tackle the high costs associated with conventional payment systems, but the reality is quite different.

"The fact that consumers pay transaction fees [for using bitcoin] as opposed to merchants in credit card payments discourages the mass adoption of bitcoin," it said.

Graft thinks its merchant-centric, agile blockchain network can solve this problem.

This payment blockchain is compatible with major existing payment technologies. It means that it will allow merchants to accept both fiat and cryptocurrency payments, access instant settlement, and access funds in their preferred currency.

"This ease of use for both customers and merchants will go a long way toward ensuring that cryptocurrencies deliver on their promise of being a more efficient medium of exchange," the company said.

Graft plans to launch an initial coin offering (ICO) - a crowdfunded process through which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture - on January 18.

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