eCommerce has been commonplace in many highly developed western countries for years now, but the conditions imposed due to COVID-19 have seen its evolution fast-tracked in countries previously left behind. According to UN figures, the global ecommerce market has now reached $26.7 trillion in value, a significant leap from where it had sat prior to the global pandemic. As the system has grown, however, technology and standards haven’t always kept up. With a vast market to now service, cryptocurrency tech leaders need to find ways to provide a proper service to those countries that have only recently been introduced – starting with currency, and ending with security.
Dealing with currency
There are roughly 180 currencies used in the 195 countries represented in the UN. While the American dollar, Euro and British pound sterling have become the de facto currencies of business, that isn’t going to cut it when looking at transactions at the level of small and medium enterprise. In the long-term, digital dollars may provide a real solution by creating an international standard according to NPR, but in the short-term the gap must be bridged to allow for multi-currency transactions. It’s notable that the biggest ecommerce platforms are now allowing this, and without the high level of restrictions of the past such as extortionate private exchange rates. However, digital currency may be the future.
Offering digital payments
A quick way around fiat currency is through digital coins. While the cryptocurrency scene, which once promised to make payments possible through the technology itself, has not taken off, more is now being done when using the digital coin as an asset in itself. Reuters note, in particular, that 25% of small businesses in 9 surveyed countries plan to offer services for Bitcoin. This will again level the playing field for ecommerce in developing or newly digitised countries, by providing an easily accessible and entirely intangible token that can then be used, rather than relying on fiat.
One of the main risks surrounding the branching out of ecommerce is cybersecurity. While no country can truly claim to be absolutely cyber secure, there are nevertheless greater standards in existing markets than in newly involved ones. In certain countries, operating an ecommerce operation can be outright dangerous given the level of cybercrime being undertaken. According to Security Intelligence, ecommerce fraud is already up 78% without considering the impact of having new players entering the market. Platforms need to find solutions to this, either through more widespread adoption of principles such as two-factor authentication, or more fundamental changes in national cybersecurity standards. Either way, more needs to be done in order to match the innovation being driven into the payments and currency side of the affair.
Ecommerce is taking off globally, and innovators are scrambling to keep up. Fundamental change may be required to support the new industry, and may well come sooner, rather than later, given the economic incentive.