Ethereum DApp Creators // #10 Plutus
Issue #09, interview with the founder of MakerDAO, Rune Christensen was dedicated to stablecoins, decentralized exchanges and the multiple facets of Maker. You can read that and all the previous issues of Ethereum DApp Creators and our Ethereum Contributors Series at https://blog.status.im
In this issue we’ll talk to Filip Martinka, the CCO of Plutus, a project aimed to create a service where you can make life’s everyday purchases with Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This interview series is about the people who work hard to develop decentralized applications on top of Ethereum.
has been making waves in London and Berlin lately — presenting their
technology for instant, peer-to-peer, decentralized payment platform.
Let’s hear how the project is coming along today with it’s beta testing
Filip Martinka, CCO of Plutus
Hello Filip! For readers who are unfamiliar with the project, could you give us a short summary of what Plutus is?
Our main goal has always been to provide a convenient payment method, and an easy and affordable way to buy digital currencies. We want Ethereum, Bitcoin, and other digital currencies to become regular payment options in daily life.
Plutus consists of two interconnected parts:
Plutus Tap & Pay is an Android and iOS app for paying with Bitcoin & Ethereum at any existing contactless point of sale. Standard physical cards and NFC stickers will also be available.
The PlutusDEX is a one-way peer-to-peer exchange (smart contract) that provides liquidity for the Tap & Pay app. The way this works is that PlutusDEX traders can escrow fiat currency such as GBP or EUR to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum from Tap & Pay users directly.
What got you interested in Ethereum?
The versatility of programmable smart contracts, and the exciting world of truly global, decentralized finance.
What’s your background and how did you get into the crypto space?
I started out as a software copywriter, ghostwriter and translator 8 years ago. Shortly after, I began to specialize in working as a marketing and fundraising advisor for SaaS and mobile apps.
I discovered Bitcoin in early 2013, and I was fascinated. Since then, I have been investing time and funding into diverse cryptocurrency projects.
A while later I met Vitalik Buterin at a Vienna Bitcoin dev conference, and he explained Ethereum and his future crowdsale. When I finally began to understand the concept and saw the masses of people were forming around him, I realized that autonomous contracts more elaborate than a simple transfer of funds would soon play a much bigger role role in decentralized computing.
And what is your role at Plutus?
I am the Central Communications Officer (CCO) at Plutus. I handle our branding, develop content, present Plutus at conferences, and coordinate with the community to improve our offering.
So why did you choose to use Bitcoin and Ethereum?
We believe that there are useful aspects to both. The main reason we are using Bitcoin is for its already widespread usage, and Ethereum for its ability to automate business logic.
We want be able to adapt based on demand. Fortunately there are many other projects on the horizon that aim to be natively compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine, so porting the platform may be possible as well.
What kind of device is required to use Plutus? Anything special that a merchant needs to accept Plutus payments or Plutons?
Any NFC-enabled smartphone can install the Plutus app, both Android and iOS. For new purchases, the good news is that it’s actually quite hard to find new smartphones without NFC these days.
Merchants, on the other hand, only need a regular contactless payment terminal. This means that Plutus Tap & Pay will be valid at over 32 million compatible points of sale in the world by default.
Are you planning to integrate with other Decentralized Exchanges?
Initially our platform will launch with an open API, meaning that 3rd party applications can interface with some features of our system.
At the present moment, our development team is focused on finalizing our product. However, once we have a production-ready release, we will look into available options to expand our cooperation with other exchanges, developers and SaaS providers.
What is the reason, in your opinion, that merchant adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has been so slow?
It appears that mass adoption is a slow process, and not necessarily a straight line.
Accepting digital currencies still takes a lot of effort, involves friction and regulation, and is often cost intensive. The main problem is that it is not possible for merchants to accurately predict how many Bitcoin purchases they will get in the early stages of adoption. Many get discouraged when they get none, or remove Bitcoin as a payment option for a combination of reasons including training expenses, fees, or technical difficulties.
We believe that at such an early stage of Bitcoin’s development, convincing merchants is quite challenging. This is why our app is mainly intended for Bitcoin and Ethereum users who are tired of waiting for merchants to accept digital currencies and want to wield the ability to pay regardless of whether the merchant is involved.
Filip Martinka presenting Plutus
Your website mentions only Bitcoin payments, wallet, deposit, any plans to expand to include Ethereum as a payment option? What about ERC-20 tokens?
Due to overwhelming support from the community, Ethereum will also be included as a payment option from the start. We are looking into other features as well. ERC-20 tokens will be relatively easy to add since PLU are such tokens as well, which means that the necessary infrastructure is already built-in.
How does Plutus benefit from the use of Ethereum?
Our one-way trading gateway integrates an Ethereum smart contract, which makes our platform more transparent and decentralized. Over time, we want to optimize costs, reduce friction, and make the platform more autonomous.
We appreciate integration into any 3rd party apps, exchanges, or services. All we want is for our users to have optimum interoperability with platforms, and liquidity for our traders. If you have other suggestions please let us know.
What do you see as the biggest hurdles in gaining a critical mass for Plutus?
We have to wait for society to get more familiar with digital currencies — until it becomes a topic one can talk about without getting weird looks from strangers. In the beginning, people who earn their income online will be the first to fully adapt to digital currencies. But we believe that this will take less time than most people think.
What is the most exciting feature of Plutus in your opinion?
How it all comes together. The Tap & Pay users deposit Bitcoin and Ethereum, while traders purchase them on the PlutusDEX, and the merchants receive their usual payment from the traders. This makes it possible to add currencies based on demand, and connect other platforms.
What makes Plutus different from say, centralized exchanges?
The fact that Plutus does not hold any digital currencies, and simply acts as a gateway to connect users with each other and match their trades. This makes the platform more secure and adaptable. And in some ways, the peer-to-peer nature of our exchange makes it more like “localbitcoins” for example, rather than a regular centralized exchange.
Which projects in the Ethereum space are you most excited about, and why?
Ethereum and Bitcoin are still in their early stages, and as free software platforms their future potential is almost limitless. All in all, the technology is esoteric enough that we think the most exciting projects haven’t been conceived yet. If we had to choose today, we would go with anything that makes Ethereum easier to use for the average person.
What do you think the Ethereum development should currently focus on?
Personally I think Ethereum needs to focus closely on language security and a solid instruction (and best practices) manual, to make it easier for individuals and projects to write stable code.
What can people in the Ethereum community do to help Plutus?
The main thing would obviously be to use our app, or to purchase digital currencies through our gateway. If you are a developer or entrepreneur, note that our decentralized exchange will have an open API and 0% trading fees for buying any digital currencies, making it deal for integration in 3rd party software.
Although people shouldn’t worry about helping too much, as long as you have ways to use Bitcoin and Ethereum, you are doing your part in the ecosystem.
And a closing question; What are you looking forward to from the year 2017?
Mainstream adoption of digital currencies for freelancers and remote employees, a new economy for the unbanked, and the slow but steady breakthrough of Bitcoin into our daily lives.
Thank you Filip, we’re looking forward to being able to use Plutus for our everyday purchases!By,
A Mobile OS, built for Ethereum.