What is Alchemy Pay (ACH)? Your ultimate guide
The Alchemy Pay network aims to combine crypto and fiat, and the ACH token drives it
- Coins vs tokens
- Crypto vs fiat
- Bridging the gap
- The Alchemy Pay crypto token
- From the Alchemy Pay whitepaper
In a world where cryptocurrency use is growing, people want to spend their crypto on goods and services. However, not so many businesses are willing or able to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Alchemy Pay aims to solve this problem. What is Alchemy Pay (ACH)? How does Alchemy Pay work? What is Alchemy Pay coin used for? Let’s take a look.
Coins vs tokens
The first thing to note about Alchemy Pay is that it exists in ERC-20 form on the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, it is not totally accurate to refer to the ACH coin because it is, technically speaking, a token, and it does not have its very own blockchain. That said, you will see references to the ACH coin. That’s just alchemy pay, so try not to get confused.
The point of both the Alchemy Pay cryptocurrency and the Alchemy Pay system is to bridge the gap between crypto and traditional fiat currency. Let’s take a look at that.
Crypto vs fiat
When Bitcoin was set up in 2008, the idea was to create a system that would bypass fiat currencies entirely. While the old system could disenfranchise the billions of people who do not have bank accounts, cryptocurrency would allow them to access financial services so long as they had access to the internet. This proposal, known as decentralised finance, or DeFi, is the concept that is, ultimately, at the heart of cryptocurrency.
While the idea is a good one – we would not have pretty much anything involved with crypto, from the blockchain to non-fungible tokens without it – there is one practical problem: the idea that crypto and DeFi would work entirely separately from fiat currency and traditional, centralised, finance. While this concept was good, the truth is that the world does not really work like that.
People who own cryptocurrency might well want to make transactions using crypto, but that does not mean that they are willing to forego paying in fiat. Since there are a lot of people who own relatively small amounts of crypto (not every crypto investor can be a so-called whale, after all) then it can be easy to see that a method of combining crypto and fiat could be a good idea.
Bridging the gap
This is where Alchemy Pay comes in. Alchemy Pay aims to make paying with crypto and fiat a matter of choice for the customer. It does this by establishing payment systems which allow people to choose one or the other. If this sounds a bit complex, let’s not forget that there are electronic payment systems that can take different fiat currencies as a matter of course. While this concept might also seem to be an obvious one, Alchemy Pay is the first network to actually put things into practice.
While flexibility is one reason Alchemy Pay exists, it is not the only reason. Setting up and using a card machine can be expensive for retailers. As the white paper says, cross-border transactions can be costly and inefficient, there are security and privacy issues, and the overall process is cumbersome.
It gives the example of a multinational retailer in the Asia-Pacific region who has retail stores and a unified retail management system in Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This hypothetical company has to use eight separate service companies to process its transactions. This makes business slower and more expensive because, Alchemy Pay says, “the efficiency of payment is low and the overall payment cost is high”. It adds: “The most important thing is: merchants and cardholders have no choice, no right of discourse, no right to price-setting or right to access the information on this old ecosystem.”
What Alchemy Pay wants to do is to “design the payment protocol through community consensus, to build a decentralised, trust-powered infrastructure, to expedite the penetration of cryptocurrency into our daily life; and most importantly to return the rights of payment to the merchants, the customer and the market”.
Perhaps the most notable thing that Alchemy Pay does, at least for businesses, is that it allows people to receive payment in their own, local currency, regardless of how the money is sent. Whether it is the same fiat, another fiat or even a cryptocurrency, someone being paid with the system gets the same currency.
Where does the Alchemy Pay cryptocurrency fit in? Let’s take a look.
The Alchemy Pay crypto token
Alchemy Pay (ACH) is the native token of the Alchemy Pay system. As we have mentioned, it is an ERC-20 token, so it operates on the Ethereum blockchain. Merchants who sign up to Alchemy Pay have to use the token to get access to the network. Meanwhile, customers can mine ACH by participating in the network. Anyone who holds Alchemy Pay is able to take part in the governance of the system. The organisation says that there is a need for people to be incentivised to make use of cryptocurrency, so ACH tokens can be pledged, rewarded, accumulated and paid as fees, meaning they have a certain flexibility within the network.
The Alchemy Pay network was set up in 2018 in Singapore and the system itself started to get its first customers the following year. The system was founded by Molly Zheng, who previously worked as a senior consultant at PayPal China, at HSBC China, as a director of GE Money and as chief representative of MasterCard China; and Shawn Shi, who had previously been vice-president of technology at the Chinese insurance company ZhongAn and had also been head of marketing at the Chinese internet security firm Qihoo 360.
Zheng and Shi serve as joint chairs of the company, and they are joined on the board by chief executive John Tan, who had previously worked as a business consultant; chief technical officer Liang Chuan; Lv Bo, who is head of payments; and Train Luo, who is responsible for strategy and talent. The Alchemy Pay website says that the company has a staff of more than 60 people.
As of 15 June 2022, there were 4.54 billion Alchemy Pay (ACH) tokens in circulation out of a maximum supply of 10 billion. This, according to CoinMarketCap, gives ACH a market cap of around $54m, making it the 327th largest cryptocurrency by that metric.
From the Alchemy Pay whitepaper
The whitepaper states: “Alchemy envisions a world of greater financial empowerment, dependability, and transparency for individuals, enterprises, institutions and governments, regardless of location or wealth, enabled by technologies that bridge the gap between crypto and fiat payment systems.”
Describing what Alchemy Pay coin is used for, the document explains: “The core concept is to integrate fiat and crypto payments in whatever settlement system merchants use. The integrated product records data and statistics so that merchants and users can view historical transactions and critical information about those transactions.”
As of 15 June 2022, there are 4.54 billion Alchemy Pay (ACH) tokens in circulation out of a maximum supply of 10 billion (45%).
Alchemy Pay was created by Molly Zheng and Shawn Shi.
Something that makes Alchemy Pay a little different from other cryptocurrencies is that it is used to power a system which enables people to pay with crypto, but have their payments received in fiat currency.