The Growing Adoption of USDC by Online Merchants and Retailers

The world of cryptocurrency continues to evolve at a rapid pace. One area of particular growth is stablecoins, cryptocurrencies backed by reserves of fiat currency or other assets. Stablecoins aim to provide the benefits of crypto with less volatility. One such stablecoin that has seen massive adoption is USD Coin (USDC). Launched in 2018 in collaboration between Circle and Coinbase, USDC has quickly become a leading digital dollar stablecoin. But beyond traders, USDC is now being embraced by more merchants, retailers, and businesses. Let's explore the expanding usage of USDC by online merchants over time.

The Appeal of Accepting Stablecoin Payments

For merchants and retailers, accepting cryptocurrency payments comes with benefits but also drawbacks. The extreme volatility of coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum makes pricing products difficult. Stablecoins like USDC avoid this problem by pegging to the US dollar. Merchants can seamlessly accept USDC while avoiding the risk of price fluctuations. Additionally, crypto payments allow merchants to tap into the growing crypto economy and gain exposure to new demographics. Stablecoins specifically also allow faster, global, 24/7 transactions. As more consumers hold crypto and stablecoins, accepting them as payment is becoming increasingly appealing for merchants.

Early Adoption Led by Crypto-Forward Companies

In the early days of stablecoins, it was crypto-native brands leading the way in acceptance. Companies serving cryptocurrency users were first to pilot USDC payments. For example, in 2018 crypto exchange Coinbase Commerce began facilitating merchant payments in USDC and other cryptos. E-commerce site Shopify made USDC available for its merchants to accept not long after. Companies like BitPay and Coinpayments, which provide crypto payment services, started supporting USDC as well. These early moves showed the promise of stablecoin commerce.

Expansion Into the Mainstream Marketplace

While crypto die-hards first embraced USDC, its use as a payment tool has expanded significantly. Many recognizable mainstream brands now take USDC through partnerships with payment processors. In 2020, PayPal added support for USDC and other major cryptocurrencies. This opened the door to millions of merchants on PayPal accepting USDC seamlessly. Another milestone came when Shopify enabled USDC payments for all its US merchants, which again greatly expanded reach. Payment giants like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have also moved to support USDC transactions through crypto cards and services. The infrastructure for stablecoin payments is increasingly being built out.

Why Merchants Should Pay Attention to USDC

For retailers who have yet to offer USDC as a payment option, here are some compelling reasons why it may make sense:

  • Exposure to the growing crypto economy - $40+ billion market for USDC alone
  • Ability to accept payments 24/7 from anywhere in the world
  • Quicker settlement times compared to credit cards
  • Lower fees than traditional payment rails
  • Get funds directly into a USDC account to limit volatility

As consumer adoption of digital dollars accelerates, merchants open to innovation may find integrating USDC worthwhile.

The Path Ahead for Stablecoin Commerce

"We're still in the early innings of unlocking the potential of stablecoins and blockchain payments. But progress doesn't move in a straight line. There will be setbacks and doubts raised along the way. The trend towards digital currencies - stable value and beyond - feels inevitable. It's going to take time and continued collaboration between leaders in fintech and commerce to make this a reality."

While merchant acceptance of USDC has come a long way, there is ample room for continued growth. Here are two key questions to consider about the future of USDC payments:

What will drive more small businesses to adopt USDC?

More user-friendly tools and services will be key for smaller merchants. Simplifying the integration process so even merchants without crypto knowledge can enable USDC payments will help drive adoption. Having a seamless checkout experience is also crucial - customers shouldn't know or care if they are paying with USDC vs traditional methods. As accepting stablecoins becomes as easy as flipping a switch, small business adoption will accelerate.

How Can USDC Benefit Developing Economies?

For merchants in countries with unstable local currencies, accepting USDC can provide a stable store of value immune from inflation. Locals wanting to protect savings from currency devaluation could use USDC, fueling its adoption. Workers accepting USDC payments from abroad avoid costly remittance fees.duino Risks Remote Execution 0day by Sending POST Requests to Port 23 – News "+e.title+""}s+="

A vulnerability has been discovered in the Arduino development board ecosystem that can allow remote attackers to achieve remote code execution by sending specifically crafted serial data to TCP port 23 when a program is compiled with network functionality enabled.

Arduinos are simple microcontroller boards and an integrated development environment that is widely used by IoT developers, hobbyists, students and others to create electronic projects.

There are an estimated over 30 million Arduino boards worldwide.

The issue, tracked as CVE-2019-17667, specifically exists because of the implementation of the TelnetServer Arduino library which listens for communicated data on TCP/23 and passes any data received directly into the Serial input buffer.

By default, this TelnetServer library is included as part of the Ethernet library bundle that provides network capabilities.

The researcher Victor Servant who reported this issue explained:

"By design, this TelnetServer library passes the received data from the network directly to the Serial input buffer

This means that remote unauthenticated clients can fully control the content of Serial readable data

As most Arduino programs rely on Serial data, this is pretty much remote code execution"

Any Arduino sketch program that is compiled with the Ethernet library and has connectivity to a remote attacker could be potentially compromised entirely through network-supplied inputs.

This could enable cyber criminals to use Arduino devices in attacks or enable compromise of hardware or networks that leverage Arduino boards if they are not properly secured and isolated.

An example proof-of-concept exploit for the Arduino Uno board has been published by Servant that obtains a remote shell by sending TCP packets containing Linux command syntax to the device to demonstrate how the Serial data is directly interpreted.

This vulnerability was reported to Arduino on November 22, 2019 and while they acknowledged the issue, at the time of public disclosure no patch was made available nor CVE issued.

Servant suggests that developers should avoid the use of EthernetServer or TCP reception without proper input sanitization until a fix is provided.

The impact of this bug could be quite wide-reaching given the ubiquity of Arduino hardware and sketches among the maker and embedded device community.

Let's hope the vendor provides an update or workaround soon to address this serious remote code execution flaw.

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