by Nuno Menezes
Align Commerce is a global Payment Service Provider (PSP) that provides next generation financing services to international commerce and e-commerce companies. Align enables businesses and payment platforms to send and receive payments in local currency, by using the blockchain as a new payment rail. Its payment platform combines the blockchain with traditional payments, simple invoicing and real-time payments tracking.
Align Commerce is looking to expand globally and its multi-rail payment platform is already being used in many countries, including China, and is now aiming to get into the Latin American Market.
Last week, Align Commerce announced it was opening offices in Brazil to facilitate payments to and from that country.
BTCMANAGER spoke with Marwan Forzley, Founder and CEO at Align Commerce, to discuss Align Commerce newest payment corridor, the future of Bitcoin in Latin America, and the company’s future goals.
What is Align Commerce?
Align was founded by two friends who experienced firsthand the broken payments network as it exists today. I had an insider’s perspective as head of e-commerce at Western Union and my co-founder, Aldo Carrascoso, felt the pain of paying suppliers globally at his previous start-up . They wanted to give small businesses the power to transact internationally without the costs and headaches associated with using banks.
Our team is made up of experienced payments and technology executives from companies such as PayPal, HSBC, Western Union, Intuit and Twilio who are fired up about bringing a new way to move money to small businesses globally.
Align is building a platform which takes advantage of the global nature of the Internet and the blockchain. We’ve combined this with a network of bank accounts which we can use to make payments in local currency in domestic banking systems in countries where we are live.
We use Bitcoin as a container to transport value in real time, but we have built an application layer on top, so our customers pay in their local currency and their suppliers receive in their local currency.
Financial controllers using Align don’t see or have to worry about Bitcoin or the blockchain. They get the benefits of fast money transfers, low fees and real-time tracking without the manual work and high costs associated with traditional bank wires.
On the potential for Align and for Bitcoin/blockchain technology with the Olympics coming to Brazil this year
The Olympics are huge and will shine a spotlight on Brazil in the same way the World Cup did in 2014. This is a great opportunity for Align to get the word out to companies doing business with their Brazilian counterparts — there is another way to send money without having to fill out bank wire forms, pay bank wire fees, wait for money to flow through a network of correspondent banks or deal with the hassle of money arriving at the other end short because intermediary banks have taken out fees along the way. With Align you can avoid all of this.
We will expand into new countries based on demand from our customers. We believe the region will continue to grow and present new opportunities for us. We are excited about Latin America.
On the company’s roadmap for 2016 and beyond
We are building out our network globally in 2016 and at the same time we are going to be bringing to market new functionality within our platform to make it even easier for companies to leverage the blockchain to move money faster and cheaper than ever before. In 2017 we aim to expand the list of countries and currencies supported on the platform.