“How come I didn’t know about this before?”
That’s the most common response Request Network CEO Christophe Lassuyt said he hears these days from the thousands of new businesses that are signing up for his blockchain invoicing service each month. In August, the Singapore-based startup said it added more than 1,000 new customers who issued over 700 invoices during the month, marking 30% and 68% gains, respectively.
“What’s really interesting about stablecoin [for cross-border payments] is that something valued at one-to-one with a U.S. dollar can be sent from Morocco to Sri Lanka in one minute using our programable payment, while the payments in USD in a bank account are taking a much longer, closer to days or weeks,” Lassuyt said in an interview with PYMNTS.
Creating a Programable Blockchain Payment Interface
As Lassuyt explained, blockchain technology can be used to simplify the invoicing process between businesses across the globe. It uses digital money and application programming interface (API) tools to program payments to be sent on a specific date to individual suppliers, rather than manually filing and approving each invoice for the multiple suppliers. The programming ability enables flexibility as invoice amounts to be streamed over a period of time instead of a single installment and can be issued and received in any currency of choice.
Timely payments are a priority for all businesses and service providers. The invoicing experience between the payers and issuers must be smooth, the financial data must be accurate, and the payment status updates must be promptly reflected in order to nurture a healthy B2B connection. According to Request Network data, the overall issued-to-paid invoice ratio processed by the company is 65% since its launch in August 2020. This implies that the tool is capable of processing invoices at a much faster pace and higher efficiency. This ratio is even high considering that some invoices issued in August were still pending payment in September.
The Growing Customer Usability
The tool has a range of functionality that can be used to serve a wide variety of dedicated customers ranging from businesses of all sizes to freelance clients. Although crypto-native organizations make up most of the customer base taking advantage of the tool due to its involvement in the blockchain ecosystem, freelance suppliers working for key organizations and traditional businesses are also reaping the benefits as the API allows payments processing in the currency of choice.
Similarly, businesses that have blockchain-friendly and cryptocurrency-friendly partners like employees and suppliers favor the technology. They are leveraging the features of this modern blockchain payment request platform to provide an excellent payment experience to their partners.
“[Customers] are very impressed with what we can offer, especially the things which are on the roadmap,” Lassuyt said. “We can enable businesses to pay in fiat payments, which is basically in USDC, while the receiver will receive the digital currency of their choice that they can immediately choose to compound interest or to use for another payment, offering many possibilities.”
Expanding the Scope to SMBs
Businesses are always looking for solutions that offer fast and cost-effective international payments processing abilities.
“Building a great product on top of a great technology in the invoicing and payment industry has got a very good virality,” said Lassuyt.
The company is targeting small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to popularize the solution. He explained that it is a step-by-step solution because creating a product that businesses like brings in happy customers, which in turn translates to virality and a trusted customer base.
Lassuyt said he believes that businesses will gradually have to adopt similar technology.
“There are regulations being set in place to make people adopt eInvoicing, and what we propose is better than eInvoicing,” he said. “…What’s good to speed up the adoption is having transparent communication and being clear about what we do and where we are going.”
Regulations to Validate Blockchain Payments
When asked about the regulatory process to track blockchain payments and cryptocurrency, Lassuyt said he is hopeful that the oversight gives credibility and validation to the space, despite the fact that many critics expect it to disappear in the next few years.
“Are the lending rights going to disappear with regulation?” he posited. “No because there is regulation, it’s going to be allowed in a certain way, and because it’s allowed, it’s going to become more popular and happen all over the world.”
Request Network is growing as well. Since the launch of the application a year ago, the platform has processed more than $120 million in payments, with more than 30% growth in the most recent month. Taken together, he said, the rapid expansion of cross-border crypto is simply a reflection of the massive appetite for a swift, compliance-ready invoicing tool for digital currencies.