Home Market Moon browser lets you shop online with crypto

Moon browser lets you shop online with crypto

Recently, I was invited to be one of the judges for the Columbia Venture Competition where I had a chance to review ten blockchain startups that had been founded by Columbia University students and alums. The quality of the projects and the development stage varied a lot. However, there was one initiative that caught my eye – not because it was something overtly flashy and complicated, or because it featured some highly-advanced technology, as there are plenty of those. It grabbed my attention because it was solving a real need, and the proposed solution was simple and elegant.

The Moon browser extension (currently in Beta) allows you to connect your wallet and then to pay with cryptocurrency for your online purchases. Currently, it only supports Coinbase wallet with four currencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and Bitcoin Cash) and you can only use it on Amazon.

One more tidbit from the application stood out: Moon’s founder Ken Kruger had worked for over four years for Lockheed Martin, the biggest private contractor of the U.S. government, and the company behind some of the most advanced weapon systems in the world such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II.  Below is a snippet from our conversation.

Ken Kruger

 

Michael Kapilkov: One thing that stood out to me was your experience at Lockheed Martin, not many founders in the space have worked for a major defense contractor. Can you tell me more about your experience there?

Ken Kruger: Having earned a master’s degree in financial engineering from Columbia University I ended up at Lockheed Martin working on the Ohio class nuclear submarine project. It was a great experience, I learned a lot, but I always wanted to start my own company. At Lockheed, there was too much bureaucracy, too much red tape. When I left, I started a gesture recognition company, it didn’t go too well as no one cares about gesture recognition.

Michael Kapilkov: Lockheed Martin being a defense contractor, what kind of security measure did they have in place? Was security being handled by the company itself or by government agencies such FBI, CIA?

Ken Kruger: I had to obtain a security clearance. So, there was a background check, drug tests. When I traveled abroad, I had to let them know in advance. The security was being handled by various contractors, it also depended on who was your client – mine was U.S. Navy.

Michael Kapilkov: I have to ask you this – while at Lockheed Martin or after you left, were you ever approached by a foreign intelligence service, did anyone ever try to recruit you?

Ken Kruger: No, no (laughs).

Crypto

Ken first discovered Bitcoin around 2009-2010, he was immediately intrigued by it – not by the technology, but from a socioeconomic angle. “You have this electronic currency that is not controlled by any government or corporation. I was surprised that no one had done before. I heard about that guy buying pizza with bitcoins. I wanted to invest like $100, but unfortunately, I never did. I made my first crypto investment around 2013”.

Moon

The company was founded about six months ago. Currently, it has a staff of four, with four interns helping. It has been financed by Mr. Kruger up to this point, but he is currently raising a seed round with several investors having indicated interest. One of the potential investors is a founder of one of the major cryptocurrencies (Mr. Kruger prefers not to name him publicly until he inks the deal).

As I mentioned, it’s a very simple solution: You install the Moon browser extension, then you sign in with either Moon or with your social media account (Google or Facebook are supported). I went this far but was hesitant to take the final step (over security concerns) – to connect with my Coinbase account. After that, you can start paying with cryptocurrency at Amazon. The user doesn’t get charged any dedicated fees. The economic model involves fees that get eaten up by the fiat payment processor, while Moon also gets paid by the intermediary.

Michael Kapilkov: I was hesitant to connect my Coinbase account because, as you know, there are a lot of scammers out there (nothing personal). How do you convince your potential users that your product is safe? Is it going to be an open source project?

Ken Kruger: We get this feedback a lot. At this early stage, it is important for us to understand the concerns that the users may have, so we can address them in the future. I don’t think we’ll open source it since it’s not a decentralized project.

Michael Kapilkov: Your initial market is the U.S.; wouldn’t it make more sense to go for one of the developing countries where you have a lot of people who are unbanked? Over here everyone has credit and debit cards, so it’s not a real pain point.

Ken Kruger: I agree. Some people ask me “The price is so low, why are you doing it?”,  I believe that this technology will cause societal changes, one of the biggest potential applications for this technology is serving the unbanked. The reason why we are starting in the U.S. is because I understand this market, I live here, I speak the language… But in the future, we plan to expand globally.

Michael Kapilkov: Let’s say you able to close this seed round, how you are going to spend the money?

Ken Kruger: We have a hypothesis – that people want to shop with cryptocurrency. We have figure out if it’s true. We need to calculate CAC [customer acquisition cost], CLV [customer lifetime value]. Our biggest goal is to find the market fit. If we do that, we’ll be set up well for growth. Also, we are going to connect other wallets.

Michael Kapilkov: It seems to me, if your Moon takes off, a perfect exit strategy would be an acquisition by Coinbase.

Ken Kruger: Yeah, it’s one of the possibilities.

Michael Kapilkov: Who is your main competition and why do you think you are better than them?

Ken Kruger: Our main competition are crypto payment gateways and crypto backed debit cards. These are the two dominant ways with which people currently spend cryptocurrency at merchants. Unfortunately, only about 3% of merchants support a crypto payment gateway and I don’t believe debit cards are the future of payments. Our goal at Moon is to allow consumers to transact in crypto as if every merchant natively accepts crypto, which is the experience Moon currently provides on Amazon.

Michael Kapilkov: Have you considered an ICO?

Ken Kruger: We’ve decided to pursue more traditional startup investment vehicles for now. ICOs lead to different incentive structures for companies that are untested and ICOs are viewed by many as being associated with scams. We wanted to avoid both of those.

Michael Kapilkov: So, you are a part of this Columbia Venture Competition, has Columbia been helpful to you?

Ken Kruger: I was part of the first Columbia Startup Lab cohort with my other startup. Columbia entrepreneurship ecosystem is fantastic. Columbia has helped a lot. The caliber of the people you meet is great.

We’ll be closely following the progress of Moon whether it soars like F-22 or takes a deep dive like a submarine.

 

More articles from Crypto Insider:

 

The above is to be considered opinion and not investment advice in any way, as an unbiased media, no one interferes with the Editorial content of CryptoInsider.com, writers have freedom to choose their own direction, members of Crypto Insider do not participate in trades based on content.

Like what we wrote? Donate to us today so we may continue to write! 
BTC: 1HozPdTTJahPigLXwMShErhubZLobBhFPL
ETH: 0xDf4d2529D777a80717E85Ed2269830ad6265951B
LTC: LMT3LCbCSvActkVo4dgzbHjn1HPrCgKch2
BCH: 17sFsLgZq9jibtqi5Bo5SiUcCD4TG8RQwE

Michael Kapilkov
Michael Kapilkovhttp://mmviii.com
Michael Kapilkov serves as the Managing Director at mmviii Digital Assets Group. He gets frequently invited to speak at Crypto conferences. He has attended Columbia University and holds an MBA from IE Business School. Follow me on Twitter @mmviii_2008

1 COMMENT

  1. “Dear members of the CryptoCurrency community,

    TL;DR: Uninstall Moon, Revoke your Coinbase API Keys NOW

    I was the co-founder and CTO at https://paywithmoon.com. Due to my discovery of the unethical business practices Moon Technologies, Inc. has been engaged in, I have left the company.

    As of today, the moon browser extension manipulates the DOM of the users’ browsers to give them an augmented shopping experience, one that allows them to shop online with cryptocurrency. Over the past couple of months, my co-founder, Kenneth Kruger, has ordered the collection of data belonging to users as a way to improve customer experiences. No users have ever been asked explicitly if they would prefer to opt-out of tracking, a feature which I regularly insisted should be added. If you are a user and look under at terms and conditions stated under https://paywithmoon.com/terms-conditions/ (dated 26 Feb 2019), you will find the agreement hidden under one of the terms and conditions. This is a huge breach of GDPR and privacy laws that are meant to protect user data.

    From the moment a user installs the browser extension, the company will know exactly what pages are open on the user’s browser, what the content of those pages are, and what the user is doing with them.

    The biggest and most alarming issue of all, is the process of collection of how the browser extension works in the backend – Coinbase API keys. From the moment the user initiates the connection between the company and Coinbase, the company watches for changes in the user’s current window, waiting for the user to complete the one-time passcode (OTP) verification process as required by Coinbase. Once that is done, the company programatically clicks the required permissions (scopes) required to create the API key as it sees fit.” – Alexander Ang

    Check this out on Reddit for full article..

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CRYPTO INSIDER TV

video

Interview: Yoni Assia on eToroX and the cryptocurrency market

On April 16th 2019, eToro founder and CEO Yoni Assia has agreed to do an exclusive interview for Crypto Insider at the Paris Blockchain...