An Interview with Patrick Ngan, CEO, Alchemy Global Payment Solutions
Q1. Alchemy is a provider of blockchain payment solutions. What makes your approach to blockchain payments different from other companies in your space providing a similar service?
Part 1 (out of 2)
Alchemy is a leading hybrid-crypto-and-fiat mobile payment company in Asia.
The positioning of Alchemy is to provide open source protocols and rapid product development platforms for our ecosystem partners to have access to fast, secure, convenient, flexible and fast-growing global payment solutions. These payment solutions are built based on the decentralization, smart contracts and consensus mechanisms from blockchain technology.
As such, our core positioning is to empower our ecosystem partners (shown in the graph below) by providing the infrastructure of payment solutions which are built upon the blockchain technology.
Part 2 (out of 2)
The differentiators of Alchemy are found in three aspects: The team, the technological advantages and the ecosystem.
Each core team member possesses over a decade of experiences in payment industry and has an in-depth understanding towards the market demand, pain points and trends of the payment industry. Our entrepreneurial spirit, experiences in developing payment solutions and operating the payment system from zero to one, industry insights and business networks have set a solid foundation for the success of Alchemy.
The Technological Advantages
- Alchemy payment consensus protocol can be deployed on various public blockchains, for example, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar, EOS, Vite, etc., and at the same time, integrate Layer 2 payment solutions including Lightning Network, Raiden Network and State Channel Network.
- Alchemy provides
i) offline cryptocurrecny acceptance solutions over smart POS and mobile devices,
ii) online cryptocurrency payment gateway, and
iii) fast access to various applications for online API, SDK and mainstream plugins, for example, wordpress, magento, zencart, etc.
- Pioneering in PULLPAY protocol in the payment industry: Supporting blockchain to reauthorize two payment methods — PULLPAY and lightning network PULLPAY — to meet the needs of various scenarios in online and offline subscription.
- Offering payment and settlement solutions from crypto to fiat and from fiat to crypto.
- Providing an integrated solution for State Channel Network.
The table below refers to the comparisons between Alchemy Vs Existing Blockchain Payment Platforms. Alchemy focuses on providing payment protocols and open source development platforms that enable payment companies to adopt it with faster and reasonably priced services.
Alchemy has an extensive online and offline ecosystem partner network covering payment companies, industry solution providers, developers, merchants, etc. We work with our ecosystem partners to build and run our business model.
Q2. In what way does Alchemy’s payment system represent a tokenized ecosystem?
The following graph illustrates a tokenized ecosystem to some extends. The mechanism is outlined under the graph.
- Based on the Alchemy payment consensus protocol (Alchemy), partners can offer merchants a cryptocurrency bill payment solution, including SDK, Plugin, API and/or Gateway (one-stop rapid access).
- The supply and demand strategy based on Alchemy’s quantitative transaction risk model, the real-time dynamic exchange rate, payment, currency conversion and network mobility manages the risk caused by the large fluctuations of the cryptocurrency.
- Based on Alchemy, the two-layer network expansion schemes such as Lightning Network and Raiden Network are integrated and optimized to compete with fiat payment, accelerate payment and improve experience, and popularize cryptocurrency.
- Based on Alchemy, make an offline solution decentralized for the interaction between fiat and cryptocurrency, and empower partners who possess business networks/resources.
- Alchemy can reward its payment ecosystem participants by issuing and distributing tokens, which come from the transaction profit and the token reserve.
Q3. What were your criteria for the tokenized/decentralized ecosystem provider you selected to build Alchemy?
We are looking for ecosystem partners who are professional, pragmatic, open and have a win-win mindset.
Q4. How would you characterize the experience of building your system? What were some surprises, good and bad, that revealed themselves along the way, to either create unexpected opportunities or challenges?
The experience of building Alchemy system is divided into three stages:
Stage 1: Technical shock
Stage 2: Unlimited possibilities
Stage 3: Focus and implementation
Since we are used to work under the traditional/centralized payment system which is not transparent and having opaque access rules for merchant/consumer, it took us some time to adapt to a mindset to design and build the platform which is open, decentralized, trustlessand under consensus. During the initial stage of development, we still used a centralized payment mindset to work and encountered some technical shock.
After getting an in-depth understanding towards blockchain which is open, decentralized, trustlessand under consensus, we felt the emergence of unlimited possibilities and opportunities.
During the implementation stage, we encountered a series of challenges, for example, how to exchange fiat to/from crypto at a lower cost, and facing the relatively narrow base of user and merchant. Having said that, we have come to realize that future of blockchain and crypto is bright and there are unlimited possibilities. At this moment, the infrastructure for blockchain is insufficient and there is still quite some time before the large-scale commercialization of the technology. The situation is similar to the initial stage of the Internet era i.e. whoever finds the application scenarios for crypto and blockchain, he/she will be able to capitalize the opportunity.
Q5. Please walk us through the customer experience for making a payment with Alchemy.
When a customer checks out at the cashier counter, the cashier will key in the payment amount in local currency (say SGD500) on the Alchemy Hybrid Merchant APP. Upon confirming the payment currency with customer (in crypto or fiat), in this case, the customer pays in BTC, an QR code will then be generated on the Alchemy Hybrid Merchant APP along with payment amount in BTC (approximately 0.0932 BTC). The customer scans the QR code with their crypto wallet and the transaction is completed.
Q6. How important is it that the customer or merchant know that this is a blockchain-based application, as they’re using it?
From both customer’s and merchant’s perspectives, ensuring the transaction is executed smoothly, securely, accurately and quickly would be the key. Especially for merchants, receiving the correct settlement amount at the agreed settlement period would be all it matters.
Q7. What has been the user feedback you’ve received so far with Alchemy’s solutions?
They are satisfied with our solutions, especially the user experiences and the way we tailor-made the solutions to users.
Q8. How do you intend to improve your payment system moving forward? How might improvements to blockchain enable you to do more in the future?
We are moving forward by enhancing our payment system in three aspects: R&D, business expansion and ecosystem building.
Focusing on developing Alchemy Consensus Protocol, Alchemy State Channel Network, and Alchemy solutions for crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto.
Alchemy is collaborating with ecosystem partners to softly launch the application in various scenarios, for example, online entertainment industry, cross-border payment, offline payment acceptance, etc., in order to test the business model of Alchemy and optimize the Alchemy crypto payment solutions.
On one hand, the technological advantages of Alchemy blockchain-based payment solutions have been continuously strengthened through the collaboration with blockchain partners.
On the other hand, by spreading the Alchemy crypto payment solutions, we will be able to empower our ecosystem partners like payment companies and industry solution providers. These help expand the application scenarios of cryptocurrencies and accelerate the launch of blockchain applications.
Q9. Anything else?
As we continue to expand into the rest of the Asia Pacific and the Middle East region, we look forward to collaborating closely with our ecosystem partners throughout this exciting journey going forward. Our goal is to connect the world with Alchemy’s cryptocurrency payment technology one country at a time.