Watch: HBAR Bull Interviews Sushil Prabhu on Dropp’s Shopify App
October 13, 2022
This week, Dropp CEO Sushil Prabhu sat down with The HBAR Bull to discuss new opportunities for Shopify merchants using Dropp. Last week, Dropp announced their payment platform as a new Shopify app. Micropayments will expand revenue for Shopify merchants using Dropp’s application as a payment method online. Merchants can now effectively monetize small-value transactions and explore new ways to get paid for their content. Watch the recorded interview below.
Welcome back. I’m Brandon the Hbar Bull, and I do some contract work for the Hbar Foundation. We had some really exciting news come out last week in Hedera Micropayments, the integration of Hedera’s premier micropayment solution, Dropp into Shopify. And here to tell us all about it is the CEO of Dropp, Sushil. Welcome, Sushil.
Sushil Prabhu (00:24)
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me on the show.
Yeah, it’s my pleasure. Micropayments are one of my favorite topics, so I’m looking forward to getting into it. So to give the viewers some context on what Dropp is, I’m going to play a quick promotional video.
Speaker 3 (00:38)
Imagine a future where your business can reach an endless customer base and open the door to new, limitless revenue streams. That future is Dropp, the platform service offering a simple, secure, and convenient pay per use approach to small value transactions. Subscription based models have become oversaturated, and consumers are looking to limit their financial commitments to these services. Dropp’s unique approach helps you engage with his demographic by providing them a platform to make secure, pay per use purchases of your digital and physical goods. Whether you offer media, cloud data, or any IoT services, Dropp gives you access to millions of new customers by offering them targeted one time private purchases. And these transactions add up, all while keeping transaction fees well below industry standards and transferring the funds to your business the same day. With Dropp, you’re creating new revenue streams for products you already offer and opening the door to customers who otherwise would have been left behind. Join us as Dropp becomes the global payment system for small value transactions. Simple, secure, convenient Dropp. For more information, go to Dropp.cc
All right that looks pretty exciting. Sushil, can you explain how Dropp works with Hedera?
Sushil Prabhu (01:59)
Sure. So Dropp is built on Hedera. The Hedera ecosystem. And we can get into why we picked Hedera later, but the way it works is you download a wallet. You download an app from either Android or the iOS market, and the app essentially is a crypto wallet. Now, you don’t see it as a crypto wallet, but basically it’s built it’s like any other Hadera wallet. You just don’t see the wallet aspects of it because we kind of hide it. We made it very easy for folks to use it. So you download this wallet, and then you can fund it. You can top it off either with crypto or with cash, with fiat. Right. US. Dollars. And we give you variety of cryptos that you can fund it with, or you can fund it with cash. Now, if you fund it with US. Dollars or Fiat, you can either swipe a card or you can use ACH. And it’s all kind of transparent. It’s all done for you. So you just type in your digits, and the money just flows into your account. Once you have the money, once you have the funds in the wallet, you can start paying merchants who accept Dropp.
Sushil Prabhu (03:18)
Right. And we made it very seamless. It’s just one click, and the payment is made to the merchant. So it’s really simple. Or you see a QR code, you scan it and you can make the payment. So that’s sort of how the Dropp wallet works. And the other way to look at how does it work or what is Dropp wallet? It’s really considered a prepaid, closed loop wallet. Prepaid meaning because you put money in it and then you can make payments to the merchant. Or another way to look at it is it’s an authorized credit push. An authorized credit push. And that’s very important, because one of the very important aspect of Dropp is not just the fact that it is a micropayment platform. It’s also we give consumers complete control. When you use a bank account, when you use a credit card, someone is taking money out of your account. You’re giving them the rights. You type in your digits, you put in all the credentials on the merchant website, and then somebody takes money out of your account. That’s not the case with Dropp. In with Dropp, you authorize a payment. When you say Pay on a Dropp widget, or when you click Pay, basically what happens is there’s a digital signature which is stored in your wallet, and you’re really signing it, and it’s extremely important.
Sushil Prabhu (04:40)
This is how we reduce fraud. This is how you can actually offer low cost transaction fees because it’s an authorized pay. Because you as a consumer is in complete control. No one else can make a payment on your behalf. Only you can make it. So essentially, that’s how it works. On the merchant side, the merchants have to sign up with us. They have to go through a KYC. We give them a piece of code that they put on the website, and they’re good to go in a day.
All right, so talking about this piece of code, can you tell us about the Shopify news that Dropp-ed last week and that pun is completely intended?
Sushil Prabhu (05:18)
Yeah, thanks. No, we are very excited about Shopify. I mean, Shopify, as you all know, it’s an e e-commerce platform. They’ve got millions of merchants, and many of those merchants or many of the companies that are on Shopify are also digital. That means they’re offering digital services. So Dropp is focusing mostly right now on web and web3. Right. We call the entire thing as digital. Right. The web3 aspect of it or the web aspect of it that’s kind of transparent at some point, I hope. We would never use the term web3 because whether it is decentralized or centralized, it should not be a relevant point for the consumer. So for us, Shopify is very important because there are millions of merchants there, and most of these merchants have services. Everything from merchants selling graphic objects like logos, music, video, ebooks. There’s a wide variety of digital services that are sold in a bundled fashion. So one of the important part aspect of Dropp is we’re trying to enable unbundling of goods. So let’s take a simple example, and this is really a good Shopify example. A company or a creator is selling logos or is selling graphical assets that you need for your website.
Sushil Prabhu (06:45)
Typically, it’s not easy to sell it at, so you end up buying a $25 graphical asset package. And that kind of reduces the audience that you have because you’re only interested in buying one graphical asset. Right. Dropp enables that. Dropp makes it possible. So now you have a much wider audience because all of us build websites and all of us have a need for, let’s say, graphical objects. And the only way you can do that is you pay for the entire set. Trap enables unbundling. So when you think about unbundling of goods, shopify has a wide variety of merchants that have goods that can be unbundled, and some of them are already selling it on a pay per use basis. We just make it really economical for that to happen. So we are very wildly excited about Shopify. I think that’s just in terms of mass adoption of Dropp in the digital space, I think it’s going to be incredible. It also validates Dropp, right? We’ve been talking about Dropp and its services for the last six months or nine months or more than that. And having it on a platform like Shopify that is world renowned as an e-commerce platform, validates Dropp as a payment method.
Sushil Prabhu (08:05)
So we’re very excited about Shopify and our integration with it.
So kind of like Amazon, like you talked know, there’s individual merchants that sell things on Shopify. Are you in talks with any of these individual merchants and can you give any examples?
Sushil Prabhu (08:21)
So let me give you the variety of merchants we’re looking at, and let’s start with that. So, Arts, Digital Services, entertainment, these are the first set of merchants that we’re going up to. We just started an email campaign. We’re reaching out to many of these merchants. We also have a sales outreach company that’s reaching out. We just launched it last. So I mentioned graphical asset, just as an example. But every music company, every podcaster there, every video company who’s selling services on Shopify is a target for us right now at this point. Right? But the other set of merchants that we’re really interested in is also e learning, or let’s call them people services. These are instructors. These are tutorials that you can buy on Shopify. Again, on a bundle services. You would rather buy it on a paper use basis. So it could be as simple as meditation for 20 minutes. Someone is actually selling those services, and you just want to have that meditation done for you. You can buy it on Shopify using Dropp. So we are actually Brandon, that’s a market we’re going after. To us, it’s a very low hanging fruit because that’s exactly what Dropp does.
Sushil Prabhu (09:36)
Ebooks. Ebooks is a very wide category. If you look at companies like Magazine Cafe, and many of those, they all sell. They’re not our client right now. That’s an example. Sure. They’re all bookstores that sell books under $10, so they become a key category for us. So we are reaching out to many of them. It could be as simple as someone reading your tarret cards, right? It’s a wide spectrum. This option was never possible. Right. And that’s why everyone picked the other option of subscription or, hey, buy something for $50 and then you will get all of these services which are called bundled. Right. So we are going after mostly digital companies, companies that are selling it digitally. Like you can download a service or you could stream it, but then there are some firms that actually still sell CDs and it’s the same thing. So when you log into Shopify, you will now get an option. If you’re a merchant who sign up for Withdraw, you’ll get an option to either pay by credit card and in the bottom you’ll see Pay by Dropp. And there are two ways you can pay for it.
Sushil Prabhu (10:45)
One is you click on that blue icon and the little chrome plugin or your browser plugin will pop up saying, do you want to pay with Dropp? Or it’ll just show you a QR code and you can just scan it. You don’t have to type in your credit details or any of that. All you do is you scan it and it’s done. It’s like one click and you’re in. Right? So we’ve been working with Shopify for the last five, six months on this, and the integration is really seamless and it’s one click. You click on it and you should be able to pay for it. And that’s how we made it.
So before you get that Dropp icon, do the merchants have to agree to it? Or is that just an option that’s going to be there on everything on Shopify?
Sushil Prabhu (11:29)
No, I wish that was true. Brandon no, the merchant has to agree to it. The merchant also has to go through KYC. Just the way Money transmission works is you have to do a KYC with us. So basically the way it will work, or it’s working right now is a merchant signs up with Shopify and then when they create that store, or maybe they already have a store, we will be an option on the merchant dashboard, on the merchant portal for them. And they’ll say, yeah, I also want Dropp. And then it takes them through a process, through us. And then once they say, yes, I’m already they become our customer as a merchant, and they’re already a Shopify merchant and an option shows up on that attachment. Yeah.
No, I mean, that’s what’s so exciting about micropayments, is this is something that is going to allow things that we can’t even imagine right now, because it just wasn’t possible in the past. So I think there’s going to be a lot of merchants that opt to do it because it’s going to be beneficial for their business. But shifting gears here a little bit, why did you choose to build Dropp on Hedera?
Sushil Prabhu (12:42)
So thanks for asking this question. A couple of reasons. First, let’s also talk about the micropayment market, and then let’s talk about Hedera. When you build a product, you need a couple of things. One is, of course, you need the technology, or as it’s not possible, but you also need the appetite and the demand. And what’s happened in the last 20 years, people have got more and more used to buying digital services, right? And the Pandemic just took it to the Nth level. I mean, the need is exponential in terms of needing. And most people are now used to, like, look at the zoom video. I would say four or five years back, we would have thought, hey, how do you want to do this interview? Should I meet you in person? We just did this in a day. We set this up. Sure. So that’s happening all over the world. So the appetite to buy or use digital services is not peak, but it’s going up there. So it’s up there. So that’s one of the key reasons why we thought that micropayment would work. Now, why would micropayment need is there is because almost all services are still sold on subscription.
Sushil Prabhu (13:49)
So as you buy more subscription then becomes a hurdle, then that becomes an obstacle. It’s like I can’t subscribe to all of them. And that really is the crux of the issue. And that’s the reason why we built the micropayment, the Dropp platform, because I think customers are just tired of subscribing to every service. I’d rather just buy one thing and I’ll buy it ten times over, but I’ll just buy one piece by piece. So that’s one need, and that’s where the appetite is. The second you need technology, right? So with Hadera, let’s talk one by one. One is the fact that Hadera is open access, open source, and it also has a governing council that to me is like a hybrid model. When we talk about Hedera to many of our institutional clients whom we are talking to, one of the questions that we get asked is about Hedera and how is it different than Ethereum? How is it different solana? And one of the things is the fact that it has some of the top companies backing it are a part of the governing council that helps the second, technology wise, pure technology wise, the transaction speed, the latency, those are all very important aspect of it.
Sushil Prabhu (15:02)
We could not have built this on Ethereum just because of the latency. Like when you click, I don’t know if you’ve brandon use our product. When you click, you get a response in a second. It’s like quick. It’s what you’re used to when you use digital service. So when I buy a video, when I buy a music, I’m not going to wait for 10 seconds. It needs to be instantaneous because you’re only paying $0.15. You’re not going to wait for 15 minutes. So the latency the transaction speed, because we expect people to make more transactions in a day, although they’re going to be small value transactions, they’re going to be more. So you need that throughput, and that’s what you get in Hadera. And the third, which I think everyone is aware of, this is the cost of the transaction. One is it needs to be consistent, and Hadera has the cost flat. It’s a flat fee, and it’s low. It’s so it’s it’s really low. And there are two methods, etc. And we talked about that yesterday, it’s ETCs and HTS, and both of them are quite low. And you got to figure out which one do you want to use and where do you want to use it.
Sushil Prabhu (16:14)
And my team has done an incredible job of doing that. So if you lower the cost of transaction, keep the throughput really high, give the security, and have some sort of a secure feeling that you have a good governing council, those are the right qualities that you need when you build a payment platform. Because we get asked by even the merchants, however small or big, they want to know, what is this rail that you build? Or on top of, what rail have you built it? I know it’s not a credit card. Tell us about this adela. And these things help us really sell it. Right? So that sort of after you look at those factors, it’s almost like a no brainer, right? And then, of course, you need the security on it. And we actually use Hadera security in the wallet. So when you download our wallet, I know you’re aware of Hadera wallets, but basically it’s a crypto wallet. Your signature is right there. We have no access to it. You have complete control. So I think it was a perfect choice, and we’re very happy making that choice. And we’re going to keep scaling and bringing more currencies on our wallet with this.
Well, we’re certainly glad that you chose Hedera. The last time we spoke in the privacy check interview, which was fantastic, by the way, we spoke about you adding shopify, but we also talked about WordPress. Can you elaborate a bit on that potential partnership?
Sushil Prabhu (17:37)
Yes, absolutely. With WordPress more than partnership. It’s more of what we’re building on WordPress. So, as you know, WordPress has about, I think, a half a billion websites in this world are built on WordPress. It’s massive, and I wasn’t really aware of it. As we look more into it, and we’ve had at least 1020 merchants even in the last six months who’ve showed up and said we would love to use your product, but I’m on WordPress, right? And you got to make it more WordPress friendly. So the request was there. Then the second aspect we looked at is we are focusing a lot on the creator economy. We feel that the creator economy could really use us. One of the things that we are in the market promoting is what if every like every like if that was a micro tipping or that was a micro donation, the creator could sustain themselves just because they have so many followers and every Dropp, every like would be a donation to that person. And if you make it really easy for that person to take that donation or a tip, then they can sustain themselves. Right now there is no microprocessor for you to take $0.10. You can take it by batching it.
Sushil Prabhu (19:04)
You got to do a lot of things to make it possible. And as a one person shop, it’s impossible to do that. You just don’t have the technology bandwidth to do that. Right. So WordPress was always on our roadmap and you can use our product with WordPress. But what we wanted to do was make it really easy. Right. So we created this WordPress plugin. We’ll be launching it soon. We are testing it right now and we also want to have everything required so that as a creator you should be able to just download this plugin. So there’s a plugin marketplace in WordPress. If you go to WordPress, if you have a WordPress site and you search on plugins, you’ll very soon see a Dropp plugin. You download that plugin, it has all the graphical assets that you can put on the website and everything is done for you. And there’s step by step instructions you got to follow. And then in the first launch, what we’re going to do is you should be able to take tips and donations right away. The second launch after that would be you should be able to take payments, although you can take payments right away.
Sushil Prabhu (20:10)
But we want to make it so simple is it just click ten different places and you’re done. And as a creator you’re done. Your website is money enabled or payment enabled and that’s how we want to make it. So I’m really excited about that because I think this is something that was a steady request all along. Hey, can I not use this on WordPress? I’m like, yes you can, but you got to do these things. Sure. Now it’s just a plugin. You download it and you can use it. I’m really looking forward to it. But we want to test it and we also want to create all the instructional videos and everything that you would need. So it’s like you’re self sufficient, you don’t even have to call us. It’s like that simple.
Yeah, you got to make it easy. The other thing that’s really beautiful about that is you’ve talked about bundling things for low value digital assets, but we haven’t talked about the other way you could monetize, and that’s through ads. Right. And when you actually pay for these things, even though it’s a very small amount, you actually become the customer again instead of the product. So that’s another thing that’s really exciting about micropayments.
Sushil Prabhu (21:20)
Absolutely. A couple of months back, six, seven, I think maybe two months back, we had announced partnership with Privacy Check, which has the same concept where digital ads, when you click on a digital ad, you’re basically sharing some amount of information with them. You should be able to make payments, you should be able to take payments, you should be paid for it. And Dropp absolutely enables that. And we’re really excited about privacy check. In fact, there are some other firms, too, who have come to us now who would like to work with us. So I think the world is changing. I mean, the last 20 years, we were very happy about digital services, but our data was used by other companies. I think they’re going to continue to use it, except that you get an incentive. And I think Dropp would be a vehicle. Dropp would be a wallet in which you can get paid. Yeah, absolutely.
So let’s pull on that thread that you kind of just mentioned. What can businesses do that are interested in leveraging micropayments and Dropp?
Sushil Prabhu (22:29)
They can, of course, contact us at Droppinfo if you want to enable Dropp, if that’s your question. If you want to enable Dropp on your platform, it is as simple as you can just click on the link called Merchant Request on our website. It takes us a day to do a KYC. We have to do KYC. Simple. Just checking. Right now, we are only accepting merchants in US. Right? So we have to do a KYC on that. And then we give you a piece of code that you can put on your web server. And we have SDKs in Python, Java, you name it, Ruby, all of these languages, and then you’re good to go. And we give you the blue logo, the Dropp logo that you can put on your website, which is how you can enable payments for your customers out of the box. You can get going in less than a week after testing and everything. And it’s that simple if you want to make it more sophisticated. And we think that most of our merchants who talk to us always have some other use cases that they want to implement, then it’s up to you.
Sushil Prabhu (23:37)
We give you all the API. It’s all API enabled. One of the use case that many of our merchants are using, Brandon, is the concept of reference. So referral. So if you consume someone’s services, like, you read a content, you read an article, and if you share that article with your friends and relatives in social media. And if they buy that content, you can get a referral fee. Right? And that’s a very attractive way and a very easy way of making your content, making your services go viral. So when you start enabling those services, you might need a little bit more time. But basically it all comes out of the box. You can just use the API and get going. So it’s pretty straightforward and all of the instructions are on our site, but you can always call us. We can help you build it. As I say, the first 50 merchants, we’re going to do whatever it takes to enable them to just get it going.
Yeah, well, it sounds fairly simple. What currencies can Dropp facilitate payments for?
Sushil Prabhu (24:46)
So right now in Fiat, it is US dollars and AED, which is Durang in UAE. Okay. Most of our merchants, as I say, are in US right now. So it’s mostly the most popular currency is US dollar. In crypto, we have, of course, we have Edgebar, and then we have Edge Bar. Right. As you know, we have partnership with Circle and then we have USDC on Ether. Ethereum, right. That’s how we started. That’s what the initial thing is. The plan is to enable more USDC currency on different blockchains, and then we are going to look into enabling other currencies too, specifically for the NFT market. What we realize is we’ve had requests. People love that it’s on Edgebar, but they’re also looking at other blockchains. They’re also looking at wherever the marketplaces are. So we want to enable different currencies, but we’re going to continue using hadera as the proof of transaction, as the ledger. Right? So you could have multiple currencies on the Dropp wallet, but because of the speed and the cost, we’re going to be using hadera as our ledger as the proof of transaction.
Good to hear. Good to hear. So let’s open the lens up a little bit. Where do you see micropayments and the micropayment space going in the medium to long term?
Sushil Prabhu (26:15)
Okay, at this point, it’s a new category. I’m sure everyone understands that it is a new category. So people are opening up to micropayments. And so we want to keep it simple. Right now is focusing on the digital and maybe some of the web3 market where it is very obvious. So, as you know, we launched initially with the creator economy. Now we’re looking at video streaming, music, podcasting, those kind of categories, which is very simple for people to comprehend and understand. So I think it’s going to be in the next three to six months, that’s a market that we are focusing on and it’s going to be. But the market where we are looking at, and I think everyone else is also going to look at in micropayments is the markets for parking, parking meters, EV charging, right? I call them connected devices because I’m talking about a parking meter that’s connected to the internet because it has to be. So parking meters, EV, charging vending machines, these are all devices or machines that take payments under $10. And micropayment is perfect for many of them. But going further after that and this is good to enable to get some adoption.
Sushil Prabhu (27:35)
So people to get used to the concept of micropayments. But IoT devices and specifically I have a slide that I’ll share with you later and this is specifically about connected cars and electric cars. But that’s a good example to look at as we have connected devices how IoT or machine to machine communication will require micropayments. In fact, it will be unnecessary. And I don’t think any of the current payment methods that we have, whether it’s credit card or Wih transfers or all the bank, none of these payment methods will enable IoT microtransactions or just transactions itself. The speed at which you need the execution, the throughput that you need is so big that none of the legacy systems, let’s call credit card also legacy system. All of these systems, they just don’t have it. So it’s not only the cost, it’s also the properties, the digital properties that we need, right? So we will need products like Dropp. It doesn’t have to be just Dropp. I’m sure there are going to be other micropayment platform. We will need platforms built on Hadera or similar networks in the future and that’s the market that’s going to be very exciting.
Sushil Prabhu (28:51)
So people talk about metaverse all the time and that’s great. It’s evolving. It’s not there yet. But you look at machine to machine communication, imagine you’re driving your connected electric car and you able to put power in the power grid and getting paid for it. Or you are very close to where you’re driving through a smart city smart grid and you are selling your data and it could be just $0.20 for them that last 1 hour data to the smart grid. But that helps them, right? Because privacy is very important and your machine can always sell that data to smart grid. So these concepts a couple of years back seemed like not fictional but it seemed like too futuristic. But right now these are absolutely these are the discussions that people are now having. Like now we can make it possible. And you need a micropayment processor like Dropp to make that happen. So I think after we do this digital market, which we call Web, the web3, the machine to machine, those are really interesting marketplaces and that will require something like Dropp, that will require Hadera fast processing engine and that’s the future.
Yeah, couldn’t agree more. That’s fascinating stuff. Do you have any final thoughts before we let you go?
Sushil Prabhu (30:11)
Sushil very quickly and it’s not just about Dravid. This is just to all the, I would say, fellow founders, creators in the DeFi world, in the Hadera. Ecosystem. I think, although all these things are very exciting, we are going through a challenging time, right? And it’s been difficult with the economy and the crypto winter. And my only thought there is like this kind of reminds me of the post.com bus that happened in 2000, 2002, and where it felt like it was the end. It felt like, oh, I don’t think the Internet is going to nothing more is going to happen of it. But the folks who persisted, who consistently stayed and continued on their path, did extremely well. I’m just going to throw out an example like Amazon in 2002, I’m sure their stock price was really low, might be four or $5. And there are lots of other companies, smaller companies than Amazon, they were there. The companies that continued on their path of the internet did extremely well. So just my final thoughts is these are challenging times, but if you think your solution is a need in the market, if you really have the product that you’re building is really a solution, then continue on it.
Sushil Prabhu (31:36)
Because I think this phase, this stage that we are in, we’ve seen this 20 years back, it might be different this time, but it feels the same. It feels that the hype and is gone and real solutions, whether it is tokenizing an asset or whether it’s building a micropayment platform, all of these solutions are a need in the market and that’s what we’re working on. So I’m just saying I’m extremely optimistic of the future. Most products are built when there is not much of a hype and that’s where we are right now. So that’s my final little suggestion to everyone else.
Sushil, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for swinging by. I’m really looking forward to the micropayment space in general and Dropp specifically and good luck.
Sushil Prabhu (32:26)
Thank you very much. Brandon, thank you very much. We’ll see you soon.
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