Circles had a successful launch in the sense thousands of people signed up and already formed one of the biggest Web of trust in existence.
The next important step in the journey of Circles will be businesses actually Circles and thus commerce happening in Circles. It should be one of the biggest goals of Circles to make sure that within a few months various businesses are accepting Circles. To reach this goal we need to overcome at least three challenges:
1) Technical/ Practical requirements.
2) Business case
3) Accounting/ taxation challenges
- There needs to be tooling in place that practically allows businesses to accept Circles. Ideally, Circles payments can be integrated into already existing/ used payment/ POS (point of sales) systems.
- Online sale vs. in-person sale
- How does a business define what Circles to accept (e.g. subscribe to a list)
Conceptionally Circles smart contracts have already so-called “organizational wallets”. Those are part of the trust graph (they can only trust and do not receive trust) but they do not generate Circles.
- Business case
It needs to make “sense” from a business perspective. Ideally, Circles would just be widely accepted and therefore a business might just accept it as well knowing they can later spend the Circles for whatever they need. Until we reach this level of acceptance there might be different strategies to reduce the risk of businesses accepting Circles.
a) give them guarantees that they can exchange (some) Circles for $$
b) give them guarantees that they can later buy specific products or services they need with Circles
c) they might only accept x% (e.g. 20%) of the price in Circles - the rest in a currency that covers their costs
d) a business might set aside a limited amount of their products and sell it for Circles (kind of as marketing)
Of course, any combination of the 4 is possible.
- Accounting and taxes
At least at any larger scale activity with Circles, accounting and taxes will become an issue. E.g. in Germany, there is generally a 19% sales tax. Businesses will likely need guidance on how to treat Circles transaction from an accounting perspective and what the tax consequences are.
Ultimately, for Circles to work, it is important that businesses accept and - at least for some time - hold Circles directly. To get started Circles “group currencies” might make things a lot easier.
Group currency could have liquid markets against stable coins (e.g. xDAI) and thus topics 2) and 3) would be fairly straightforward to address. In the most simple case, the business could even convert the group currency into a stable coin directly as part of the receiving transaction and thus effectively not face a higher risk than accepting stable coins. Note that this was also at the beginning of merchants accepting Bitcoin to the most common appraoch.