One of the most common questions you hear asked about cryptocurrency from curious members of general public is “What can you actually buy with it?” You don’t encounter this query as frequently as you did five or ten years ago, because at this point crypto has already been integrated with a substantial number of payment processing systems, and people can in fact use bitcoin, litecoin and other blockchain-based currencies to purchase consumer goods at an ever increasing number of establishments.
It seems to me, the next logical progression in the path toward mainstream adoption is a large scale e-commerce marketplace, where people can conduct their normal day-to-day online shopping just as they would on sites like Amazon or Overstock. That’s where an ambitious new project called CryptoCart comes in. In its own words, CryptoCart describes itself as a “digital marketplace where consumers can spend their cryptocurrencies on real-world goods in an affordable way.” Basically, CryptoCart allows customers to buy from it’s retail partners through CryptoCart’s vendor API integration. It’s actually even more interesting than it sounds, as CryptoCart goes a step further than merely acting as another online shopping mart that happens to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.
Boldly, CryptoCart aims to bridge decentralized finance with e-commerce. In other words, users would theoretically be able to purchase items while maintaining anonymity through the use of decentralized protocols. Consumers wouldn’t have to go through KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures. I’m not sure how this would work entirely in practice. If you’re buying something and getting it shipped to your house, your identity will inevitably be known and connected to the product at some stage of the purchasing process. However, if the level of confidentiality is greater than what currently exists on current shopping sites (which harvest and squeeze every last juicy bit of personal data out of you like a turnip) then what CryptoCart is offering still qualifies as a privacy win in my book. In sticking with its commitment to decentralization, the project really likes to emphasize the fact that it is “stateless” and hopes to be able to offer worldwide (and free whenever possible) shipping.
Aside from anonymity, consumer sovereignty is one of the core aspirations of the project. CryptoCart seeks to establish a buying experience where shoppers won’t have to convert their cryptocurrency into fiat (and be subjected to the associated transaction fees/taxes that go along with that). In addition to cost savings, this makes for a more user-friendly system. It’s also worth mentioning that CryptoCart plans to offer a catalog of gift cards which can be purchased using crytpo. The shop supposedly will contain over 1000 different gift cards from popular businesses, in over 170 different countries.
While most newer crypto platforms issue an obligatory “governance token” that has little to no actual utility beyond community “voting,” CryptoCart’s CC token, will have a plethora of uses and play a central role in the CryptoCart ecosystem. Shoppers will be incentivized to make purchases using using the CC token rather than just buying with bitcoin or whatever. Incentives include shipping discounts and price discounts (on select promotional products) on purchases mad using CC tokens. There is also a cashback mechanism which allows those who spend CC tokens on the platform to earn back a percentage of the purchase value. There will even be a points/rewards system that allows points to be redeemed for NFTs and various other perks. Aside from these explicit and direct benefits, CryptoCart promises that commission they earn from both stores will be placed into a reserve “vault” and used to buy CC tokens on the market. There’s so much utility here this could only be considered a “governance” token in the most powerful and delightfully totalitarian sense of the word.
As for my opinion on the actual project’s viability, I think CryptoCart is one of those endeavors where there isn’t a lot of middle ground. CryptoCart will either be massively successful and become a household name, or it will quickly fizzle out as an early experiment in an inevitably expanding market segment. Even if CryptoCart doesn’t succeed, something like it will, because the vision that’s laid out by the team accurately foresees where things are headed. The whitepaper (though fairly brief) is one of the more coherently written ones I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s clear there are some real big brains working on this project, and a great deal of thought has gone into its conception. Things are still in the early testing stages, and a lot of CryptoCart’s future is dependent on how well the platform functions, both technically and practically. I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and perhaps even mildly enthusiastic about CryptoCart’s prospects, as long as they continue to stick to the roadmap, address difficult questions and meet development deadlines.
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