Hey Adam! Happy to connect today and learn more about the Mercury for WooCommerce project! Can you tell us more about the project and what is the problem that you were addressing?
With Cardano Mercury for WooCommerce, my goal was to make a simple and accessible solution to bridge traditional e-commerce with the Cardano Blockchain. WooCommerce is one of the largest open-source e-commerce platforms in the industry. So it was only natural to create a similarly open-source, fee-free payment gateway to bridge Cardano to WooCommerce. One of the most significant barriers to entry in the cryptocurrency industry is the need to trade back and forth between fiat and crypto. Mercury aims to eliminate that friction point by allowing merchants and shoppers to transact directly with one another with the currency of the future.
What are the most important things about Mercury for WooCommerce?
Probably the most important point about Mercury for WooCommerce is that there are zero fees, zero accounts required, and zero tracking. When developing Mercury, the goal was not to profit but to help drive adoption and utilize the blockchain to connect customers directly to vendors. The software is relatively simple and easily auditable. It aims to use free or low-cost APIs (including the amazing Blockfrost Cardano API by Five Binaries) and services** to minimize the financial impact to vendors.
Going forward, how will Mercury make an impact in the crypto space or on the world?
I hope that Mercury will open the door to much larger, mainstream adoption of Cardano (and cryptocurrencies in general) through normalization. For example, suppose we can normalize the usage and transact cryptocurrencies as currency rather than simply a store of wealth mechanism. In that case, we can drive greater adoption by making safe, secure, and auditable transaction history available to vendors and shoppers worldwide.
What are your accomplishments so far, and what are you most proud of?
To date, I’m most proud of having been able to release and open source the code for Mercury via GitHub to the Cardano and WooCommerce community without the need for funding and simply working in my spare time. Of course, there are many features and improvements I’m eager to make to the code and looking forward to ongoing development for the foreseeable future.
Why should people choose to use Mercury? What are the advantages over its competitors?
To be honest, there are no true competitors to Mercury that I’m aware of at this time. No Middle Man for WooCommerce is another open-source plugin that offers a host of cryptocurrency options without fees or middlemen. However, the Cardano integration for No Middle Man has not been updated since the Byron era. I view No Middle Man as a spiritual predecessor of Mercury and thank the contributors of that project for their open-source work. I believe that people should choose their financial freedom, which is why merchants should decide to use Mercury. With no fees and no hassle, it’s a no-brainer for merchants to choose to accept Cardano (ada) payments on their website quickly and easily and thereby enable the financial freedom of their customers.
Tell us about your team. Who are the people behind Mercury?
I am the primary developer of Mercury for WooCommerce. I have been a Cardano stake pool owner/operator since the ITN (Ticker: BUFFY) and have always strived to support the Cardano community in every way possible. This includes countless hours spent helping fellow SPOs in public and private Telegram chats, development, and contribution to community tools including simpleLiveView/CNTools gLiveView, Python Slot Leader Log script, Leader Logs Sigma API, development of the first Cardano on-chain voting mechanism (utilizing transaction metadata), and most recently Cardano Mercury for WooCommerce.
The testing and development of Mercury for WooCommerce would not have been possible without the feedback, brainstorming, and testing contributions of Kyle Solomon (Adosia IoT, Heidrun, spacecoins, FROG stake pool) and Latheesan Kanesamoorthy (primary developer and co-founder of Tokhun.io, Heidrun contributor).
Special thanks to JP Birch (MADinArt) for his help developing the Mercury logos and branding and Marek Mahut and the team at Five Binaries for the amazing Blockfrost API, which has helped make Cardano integrations like Mercury a painless and straightforward process.
Which partnerships have you engaged so far, and which ones are the most impactful?
The most impactful partnership to date has been with Crypto Swag, the first e-commerce merchant to implement Mercury into their website. It’s one thing to test things in a testnet environment and a completely different level when you officially “go live.” I have discussed implementing Mercury with several other WooCommerce small business owners and website developers and am excited to increase the use of Mercury as time goes on hopefully.
Thank you for your time! Do you have anything else to add?
I’d like to add my thanks to the entire Cardano Community; keep being awesome. And thanks to the Cardano Developer Portal for choosing Mercury as a featured project!
** Mercury currently requires at least a Blockfrost Free-Tier API key as well as a free or paid Currency Converter API key if the storefront is using a currency other than U.S. Dollars (USD).