Advertise with BNC Attempts To Enable Global Social Commerce With Bitcoin

A new app hopes to bring digital currency’s cheap and fast payments to the growing market of social commerce, products and services sold through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Social media has grown dramatically in recent years, becoming ubiquitous in many parts of the globe. It is now one of the main ways we communicate with loved ones, friends, and the world at large. Social media is also emerging as a platform for finding and buying products. SyncBeat is focusing on a comprehensive solution for businesses exploring this new frontier, and a way for customers to access businesses around the world.

“The integration with social media opens new marketplace possibilities,” SyncBeat co-founder Joswell Valdez said in an interview with Alley Watch. “Your connections may not be just friends and family, but also businesses who make products and services available online. Our app allows you to shop and pay using social media. It’s fast and convenient.”

SyncBeat is developing a social commerce solution for businesses and customers that will make it easier and simpler for people to transact globally. The company’s mobile app,, is part social media network, part payment service, and part global marketplace. Using the app will allow people to buy goods directly from businesses, send money to friends, and donate to charities with bitcoin-powered transactions, through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

The creators of the app plan to make the experience of loading money into your account much easier than current options, including bank accounts or credit cards. The company is also developing a wide network of businesses around the world, that have been vetted, which app users can buy goods from.

“We eliminate the need for emails or even a Bitcoin address. It’s so much simpler. There’s huge cost savings potential with using Bitcoin, but until now the process hasn’t been very user-friendly or efficient. We’re changing that.”
— – Joswell Valdez, SyncBeat Co-Founder

Joswell Valdez, SyncBeat Co-Founder, was born in New York City but has strong ties to the Dominican Republic, where his family is from. He thinks that has a lot of potential in his family’s home country, as well as the rest of Latin America. 20% of millennials in the United States are already using mobile banking, while in certain parts of Latin America it is over 30%. Paraguay, a small country nestled in the middle of South America, has the second highest per-capita adoption of mobile banking in the world, only Kenya has greater adoption.

Part of the inspiration for the service came from Valdez’s work experience. He produced and directed a film about the hip hop music scene in the Bronx, New York, and has also worked as a publicist and marketing advisor for various indie artists. Now he runs and co-owns mobile consulting firm PocketSpace, which has consulted on the development of an on demand app for private air travel, Ubair, among other projects.

Besides businesses in New York, Valdez also helps out with the international sales and operations of Casa de Campo, a retreat located in La Romana, Dominican Republic. It was through these experiences that he identified the need for a global social commerce app, that provided support and resources for businesses.

North America is a rapidly growing market for mobile and social commerce. The number of mobile transactions in the region doubled last year, now accounting for up to 17% of all transactions made. Regions like Asia and Africa have also seen a lot of growth in mobile transactions.

“We noticed businesses promoting items, people raising money for charities, or people sending money to friends and family for personal reasons – but there was always the extra step of moving out of the network to make the transaction,” added Valdez. “In some cases users needed to enter their bank or credit card information over and over again to make payments. Both my co-founder and myself have family and friends in our native countries to whom we transfer money on a regular basis, like many people do, so simplifying everything was addressing a personal need as well.”

Social commerce is something that many experts think will grow tremendously in 2015.  Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of social media management app Hootsuite, wrote in a Time Magazine Op-Ed that buying and selling through social media, without needing to leave a platform, would be one of the five biggest trends for the digital industry in 2015.

A range of social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have already begun exploring the space, releasing betas for features and launched fully fledged products. Facebook’s friend-to-friend payment services in the Messenger app made headlines when it launched earlier this year.

Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have also become an increasingly important place for small merchants in the US, Latin America, Middle East, and other parts of the world. Businesses find social media networks to be great for getting customers and marketing their product, treating it as a marketplace like Ebay or Craigslist. But the actual sale and payment is usually done outside the platforms, sometimes in person or through online payment services like PayPal.

“Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.”
— – Ryan Holmes, Hootsuite Founder and CEO

Besides social media platforms themselves, many banks have been getting into the game. The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest financial institution, launched Facebook payments for its iPad app in late 2013. The bank has since rolled out the service across all of the apps supported platforms. Banks in India, England, Australia, South Africa, France have also released payment services or “social banking” services on Twitter and Facebook.

"Brands are aware that a significant amount of purchases have been made as a result of social advertising. For example, one study found that almost 8 percent of traffic to online retailers comes from social networks, which is a 1 percent increase from last year’s findings. With similar results reported by several marketing research agencies, it’s only natural that major social networks are looking to cut out the middleman, and introduce payment methods directly on the channel’s sponsored messaging.”
— – Olsy Sorokina, Hootsuite blogger is planned to be released to the public sometime later this year or early next year; the app is still in development. How the company plans to make money off the app is currently being figured out, but they are exploring several ideas, including charging for extra services to businesses like transaction and customer data, as well as social media management tools.

“Our business model is to provide tools that enable businesses to leverage their social media and website presences to increase profits. We will be selling credits and lending people credit for a small fee, and are still exploring different ideas. For example, advanced users might pay a small fee for the ability to make unlimited transactions per month,” Valdez told AlleyWatch. will be entering the bitcoin market at a time when the consumer use case for bitcoin payments has become a smaller and smaller focus for many of the industry’s leading companies. Bitpay, a bitcoin payment processor, found a lot of momentum after signing up merchants, including the US division of Microsoft, but later realized that there weren’t simply customers with bitcoins willing to buy goods.

"We keep adding merchants — we’re up to over 60,000 now — but they’re selling to the same pool of Bitcoin early adopters,” said Bitpay’s Co-Founder and CEO Stephen Pair to Business Insider at MoneyConf in Belfast. Bitpay is now offering its payment technology to banks as a cheaper and faster settle payments between banks and other financial institutions.

"At Bitpay we’ve never thought there’d be this overnight adoption where you get people using it this year or even next year. It’s going to take some time. In the industry there’s a realisation that yes it’s an incredible technology but it’s going to take a while for it to mature."
— – Stephen Pair, Bitpay Co-Founder and CEO

ChangeTip, a bitcoin-powered tipping platform for social media platforms, forums, blogs, and other types of websites, has found some success with building a consumer bitcoin product for social media networks. The company is not interested in social commerce, but allows users to send tips to each other for small fees, and now using its technology to help content creators get paid for their work and reward fans who share their work. The firm has processed over $80,000 worth of payments through its service.


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