This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Retail series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and retail.
In this interview we speak with Dejan Roljic, CEO of Eligma, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the retail business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Eligma? Why and how did you begin?
DR: Commerce has been my passion since the very beginning of my business path. The main problem with it that I saw back then was that there were many intermediaries in the process, mainly because of a lack of entrepreneurship skills of the companies involved. So I founded a series of accelerators to educate and connect startups in Europe and the US.
Then, I was bitten by the blockchain bug; great technology with amazing products like crypto, but allegedly too slow and complicated for daily commerce; the traditional payment methods (very costly!) were supposedly the only way to go. I wanted to prove that wrong, so Eligma was born in December 2017. One year after its introduction, our blockchain payment product is accepted at nearly 500 merchant locations in several countries and can be used by more than 4 million buyers with crypto wallets. We have recently acquired a 4-million EUR investment by Bitcoin.com and the Pangea Blockchain Fund to go global.
2. Please describe your use case and how Eligma uses blockchain to transform retail:
DR: GoCrypto, our payment infrastructure, enables merchants to accept payments from a number of crypto wallets, but the settlements they receive are in their local fiat.
There are several other transformational aspects of GoCrypto for retail. First of all, the crypto payments that buyers make are instant – faster than cash and credit cards. The merchants do not need any crypto/blockchain knowledge or training, just the payment software they already use. There is a number of GoCrypto solutions offered depending on the type of store or service (integrated offline POS offered to merchants using major ERP providers; a web POS solution or online store POS for major online store platforms; custom API integration).
Furthermore, the integration and maintenance of GoCrypto are completely free; there is just a low fee charged to the merchant for every transaction made through the system. This goes hand-in-hand with our vision to make crypto a daily life phenomenon. With low costs, we aim to encourage merchants to try and see how easy-to-use crypto really is. It is also our wish to challenge the costliness of the existing systems like credit cards by offering merchants a far more cost-friendly alternative.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
DR: First of all, Eligma has enabled crypto holders very simple use of crypto in daily shopping, both at online and offline (physical) stores – through the Elipay (soon Elly) wallet, a mobile app enabling buyers to shop with selected cryptocurrencies at GoCrypto locations. This makes crypto a very rare investment (as many holders currently still treat crypto) that has immediate liquidity thanks to the GoCrypto infrastructure. We are especially proud of the fact that the introduction of our merchant payment infrastructure has made our home country, Slovenia, the country with the highest number of crypto-supporting physical locations worldwide. They comprise an extremely wide range of shops and services, also agritourism, taxis, sports facilities and so many more.
The Elly wallet also rewards users for every purchase they make – they can receive up to 2% of the purchase value in our native ELI token.
4. What other blockchain use cases are you excited about?
DR: At Eligma, we are very inspired to follow the increasing presence of blockchain in the field of commerce, and many successful projects come from Slovenia. One of them is OriginTrail, using blockchain to follow a product over its entire supply chain. This is a new chapter in terms of transparency, also that of the commercial actors involved. Another interesting project is Viberate. By analyzing billions of data points from streaming sites, social media, ticket vendors, and other important sources, Viberate aims to map and standardize the entire global music ecosystem. The Viberate team longed to create a friction-free marketplace for live music, complete with blockchain-powered escrow, but to do that, they had to tackle the data nightmare that plagues live music.
5. Where will Eligma be in 5 years?
DR: Hopefully, we will all be operating in a world where the use of the advantages of blockchain and crypto will be much more prevalent than today. The benefits of crypto for both buyers and merchants are very many, and can represent an alternative to fiat, for example, in areas with high inflation. Eligma’s mission is to become a global facilitator of seamless and secure crypto payments, and use blockchain technology to establish communication standards for crypto payment networks. Blockchain is the future in many ways … so let’s embrace it today rather than tomorrow.