Cosmose AI Partners with Near Protocol to Enable Crypto Payments with Low Transaction Fees and Empower Users with Data Ownership

Cosmose AI, a nine-year-old company that uses AI analytics to track in-store foot traffic and engage with shoppers online, has announced a partnership with Near, one of the blockchain protocols competing with Ethereum.

The goal of the partnership is to build a payment system that allows users to shop with cryptocurrencies at low transaction fees, benefiting both buyers and sellers.

As part of the partnership, Near Foundation, the non-profit arm of Near supporting the protocol’s ecosystem development, has made a strategic investment in Cosmose, increasing the company’s valuation to $500 million, up from $100 million after its $15 million Series A financing round in 2020.

Cosmose’s suite of retail solutions, including the KaiKai app that lets customers discover retail stores in their physical vicinity and an online targeting platform, will be enhanced with blockchain technology through Near’s assistance.

Miron Mironiuk, the founder and CEO of Cosmose, stated that the aim of the partnership was to make online payments cheaper for consumers and vendors by reducing transaction costs. Mironiuk highlighted the high fees associated with traditional payment processing companies like Stripe and PayPal, which can result in increased prices for buyers and reduced profits for sellers, particularly for small transactions.

With its Near-powered blockchain payment system, KaiKai, users can discover nearby products and pay via the app, claiming to reduce transaction costs for small purchases to just $4 per year, which is 50 times less than the traditional methods offered by Stripe or PayPal, according to Mironiuk.

The KaiKai app settles payments in its native stablecoin, Kai-Ching, which runs on Near’s network. Users can top up their Kai-Ching wallet with fiat currencies, and in the future, may have the option to convert Kai-Ching back into fiat. The stablecoin is pegged to the US dollar, with 1 Kai-Ching equal to 1 USD cent, and is only tradable within the app to prevent value volatility.

Since launching the option to pay with crypto in Singapore last September, where the government is in the process of formulating stablecoin regulations, Kai-Ching has processed over 1 million transactions in the form of payments, refunds, and rewards. Over half of Kai-Ching’s users are Gen-Z, and the company noted that they are “super comfortable” with crypto due to their understanding of on-chain transactions and ownership.

In addition to the payment system, Cosmose and Near are working on a system to return control over personal data back to users through blockchain-based applications. Near is helping Cosmose migrate user data onto its blockchain and building a system that allows users to see how their data is being tracked, including their location, app usage, and product browsing behavior. The goal is to store user data on their phones using edge computing and let users decide how they want to be tracked in order to receive more or less precise product recommendations and rewards.

Cosmose has served over 20 million stores and reached one billion phones worldwide since its inception, with China accounting for a significant portion of its user base. The company has offices in Warsaw, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, and Paris, with a team of 80 staff members.

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