Choice, a new blockchain based payments system in New Zealand, has today announced it has successfully raised 2.6 million XEMS (NZD$1 million) through the NEM blockchain community fund.  Founded in late 2017, Choice is the first blockchain project out of New Zealand to secure non-equity funding from the NEM.io Foundation.

Choice is a payments gateway platform that aims to greatly reduce the 2-6% transaction fees that electronic card transaction companies such as Visa and Mastercard pass on to merchants.

Providing a direct transfer infrastructure between customers and merchants, it takes half of those merchant savings and donates them to registered charities of the consumers’ choice.

Ossie Amir, Co-Founder, and Blockchain Lead at Choice said the project is the first in the world to integrate fiat payment transactions with blockchain infrastructure in order to make a social difference.

“Nowhere in the world is there an agreed standard for the measurement of social impact. Choice has set out to empower the growing number of consumers wanting to make a positive change in the world and create a new measurable way to track the impact of charitable donations.”

“Simultaneously, we’re addressing the transaction fees crippling New Zealand’s merchants, of which majority are small to medium enterprises, and ensuring that we keep those billions of dollars in transaction fees from going offshore. By using blockchain technology, we’re creating a payments solution that consumers and merchants can trust, with a transparent means of exchanging value, and a choice to pay with impact.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with the NEM.io Foundation to help position New Zealand as a global incubator for NEM blockchain based projects in the fintech space and beyond.”

Jason Lee, Director of the NEM.io Foundation for Australia and New Zealand, a global not-for-profit organization helping startups grow using the NEM blockchain technology platform, said Choice is an example how blockchain technology can deliver a wider societal difference.

“As the first NEM community proposal project in New Zealand, we see Choice as a leading contender to showcase the practical use of the NEM blockchain to the entire world. What makes this an even more attractive project is clear purpose to have a real impact in society.”

“Choice has a strong passion and enthusiasm to utilize the NEM platform with their value transfer protocol, which will contribute to the growth and the significance of our technology.”

The Choice team is currently refining its beta product, with rollout expected to take place in the next two months across a number of hospitality businesses across New Zealand. The startup has been working in Wellington at Creative HQ in the last six weeks as part of the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator program and is working closely with New Zealand regulators.

Choice is quickly building public and merchant support for its platform. The team aims to change the way everyone in New Zealand thinks about payments and encourage responsible adoption of blockchain from the top down.

The NEM blockchain community fund is decided through community voting, with companies posting the concept for their startup or business on NEM community forums, which are then voted on by users. Successful companies are then presented to the NEM.io Foundation, which carries out due diligence before issuing the funding.

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