Shake is an Android mobile app which lets you pay for items at any retail location supporting contactless payment with NFC (Near Field Communication). These days almost any point of sale terminal supports contactless payments either via NFC or RFID. Unlike it’s competitors Android Pay and Apple Pay, Shake uses Bitcoin as it’s underlying currency and lets users top up their Shake wallet using Bitcoin.
The Shake app is not currently available for purchase but you can sign up for an early access list by going to shakepay.co. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to possibly try the Shake app before the official release. There is another competing app called Plutus which also enables contactless payments, but this time it uses the Ethereum blockchain. Just like Shake it is not yet available for purchase and you need to sign up for early access to be able to test it.
There are no fees or monthly charges associated with creating a Shake card to link to your app. However, there is a 1% bitcoin to fiat exchange fee which is shared before loading any money on the card, and there is a 3% fee when a card is used in a foreign transaction (i.e. USD card used for an EUR transaction). For more details make sure to visit the official shakepay blog.
Note that the only reason the Shake app will not be available on IOS devices is because Apple locked down any APIs that communicate with the NFC controller. As a result, developers are unable to utilize the functions of the NFC chip in any Apple devices and thus are unable to make beautiful apps like Shake. Fortunately, Android doesn’t share the same vision as Apple and did open up their NFC APIs for developers to use.
Why Shake is superior to Android and Apple Pay
Forbes released an article back in 2014 detailing the top perils of Apple Pay. Three of the perils are: Apple Pay is a solution looking for a problem, There is no economic advantage to retailers, and it has unproven security.
The Shake app doesn’t share these same perils because it provides an actual solution to an existing problem – integrating Bitcoin payments with existing POS terminals. Currently, the best solution available to retailers looking to adopt Bitcoin is to use the Bitpay app on a tablet. However, that creates a need to educate the staff about handling Bitcoin payments, and creates an extra layer of overhead that business usually don’t want to deal with. By integrating Bitcoin payments with existing POS terminals Shake solves this problem by outsourcing all the integration and the heavy lifting to the app.
Secondly, Apple and Android Pay do not provide any economic advantage to the retailer. Shake arguably does offer an economic advantage by reducing the amount of chargebacks and fraudulent transactions that a retailer will face if more customers start using the Shake app. Because each card is loaded with Bitcoins and you can’t just use any regular credit card to link it to your app, it makes it harder for fraudsters to use stolen credit cards to make fraudulent payments.
Lastly, Apple and Adroid Pay have unproven security. Since the apps are dealing with sensitive info there are many layers that can be compromised and leak sensitive info about the linked card. On the other hand, since Shake uses Bitcoin as it’s underlying currency, and Bitcoin is proven to be secure by its $6.3 billion marketcap there is much less attack surface available to a potential hacker to compromise the platform.
Apple and Android Pay bring us convenience when it comes to conducting day to day transactions, however, they do not bring any real solutions to any existing problems. Shake not only brings the convenience of being able to pay with Bitcoins at almost any location, but it also connects merchants who already support NFC payments to a whole new booming market.
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Image / Gif Source: blog.shakepay.co