Singaporeans will henceforth be able to pay for their Ryde trips with Bitcoin. Users will be able to store and convert bitcoin to the company’s RydeCoin at no cost.
The company announced on June 17, 2020, that customers could top up a maximum of an equivalent of about USD 700 in bitcoin for paying for rides. According to the firm, this is the first and only crypto wallet that enables users to pay their fares using bitcoin via its e-wallet. Ryde Technologies Founder and CEO Terence Zou told the press it was only going to be a matter of time before the company took the crypto direction following a transaction volume increase. Zou stated:
“I have been watching the developments of this particular space, and increasingly I’m sanguine about the prospects of cryptocurrency and its usage,” Zou said.
Cash-Based Societies Become Unattractive
Since time immemorial, technology has been the catalyst for social changes. There may have been other significant reasons for big changes like wars, disasters, natural cataclysms, plagues and pandemics. The current Covid-19 situation has become the once-in-a-century pandemic that is slowly introducing many a “new normal.” The pandemic has made cash-based societies start to become unattractive in favour of decentralized technologies.
One such society is Singapore, according to Ryde Technologies’ Zou. He says that while his company started the process of integrating crypto payments on its App in 2019, cash was still king for 60% of Singaporeans. However, the onset of Covid-19 has made cashless transactions attractive, and the company wants to ride on the wave.
Lead to a Cashless Society
The pace of changes has been hastened due to the sheer number of sick people. Right now, common things such as paper money are associated with dangerous stuff that can cause death. For instance, in Europe, cash loving people have transitioned towards the use of cards for their transactions. The use of digital payments like credit cards has surged for the first time in places like Germany. The ongoing changes in social transactions could become irreversible and change the world forever and lead to a cashless society.
The payments Services Act 2019 introduced in Singapore took effect in January 2020. This enabled cryptocurrency exchanges to operate without a license for a period of up to six months. The country has at least 25 crypto exchanges make it the third-largest tying with the United States. Zou said:
“Singaporeans have bitcoin, but the use of bitcoin in Singapore is limited. We can purchase bitcoin at some ATMs and through crypto exchanges, but not many merchants accept it.”
There have been a few other companies that operate ride-hailing Apps. Fold, a partner of Uber, launched a similar App in 2018 that enables bitcoin lightning-enabled micropayments. However, Ryde becomes the first firm to introduce a crypto payment method using its native App that allows the use of bitcoin via the built-in RydePay wallet.