CENTRE, PROCEDURE AND PROGRAM FOR EXCHANGING REAL, VIRTUAL AND
The subject of the invention relates to a procedure which enables to exchange real, virtual and crypto currencies between each other, a procedure of implementing payments demanded by such exchange, as well as a currency exchange centre conducting the above transactions.
The subject of the invention also relates to a program for a user mobile communication device to initiate payments requiring the interchange of real, virtual and crypto currencies.
At present a great many types of real currency (USD, EUR, CHF, etc.), virtual currency (including non-official currencies for example, loyalty points, vouchers, coupons, credits ( e.g. Facebook credit), World of Warcraft Gold (WoW Gold), linden dollar, currencies within mobile and computer games, etc.) and crypto currencies (bitcoin, dogecoin, mastercoin, etc.) exist in the world. However, when purchases are made a given seller usually accepts only one or a limited number of real currencies, or the virtual currency locally issued. Due to this, the customer in most cases is unable to pay with e.g. US Dollar in a Hungarian store, nor can use coupons issued by a certain chain store in a different chain store. Although there are existing service providers to ensure the exchange of real currencies (banks, bureau de change), the use of these is difficult and the procedure must be carried out before making a purchase i.e. the customer must go to the service provider to exchange cash from a type of real currency to another type of real currency. The possibilities of exchanging virtual currencies or trading virtual and real currencies between each other do not yet exist. Consequently, a coupon or loyalty point issued by a certain chain store cannot be exchanged for coupons or loyalty points in a second chain store. Moreover those coupons or
points do not have the value of real currency either when making purchases in that second chain store.
The objective of the present invention is to provide a currency exchange centre and its corresponding mechanism without any handicaps of the currently existing technological solutions. The objective is in particular, to provide a currency exchange centre and procedure that makes the interchange of real, virtual and crypto currencies possible, at the point of sale.
The above tasks have been accomplished as described in procedures according to Claims 1 and 8.
The subject of the invention, furthermore, relates to the currency exchange centre according to Claim 9 and the program according to Claim 10.
Preferred embodiments of the invention are determined in the dependent
Further details of the invention are explained with the help of the following figures:
Figure 1 is a block diagram representing a currency exchange centre according to the invention and the affiliated financial participants,
Figure 2 is a flowchart of the procedures according to the invention, and Figure 3 is an example of an exchange rate table.
Figure 1 shows a block diagram illustrating the operation of a currency exchange centre 10 according to the invention, in which the main elements of the currency exchange centre 10 as well as the other participants of the currency exchange have been indicated.
The currency exchange centre 10 contains a server 12, which contains or is connected to one or more databases 14. The server 12 is to be understood widely, it includes hardware elements of server 12, the external hardware operating jointly with the server 12 (for example, external data carriers, data communication cards, like a Wi-Fi card, external hard drives, etc.), as well as the programs running on the server 12. The steps carried out by the server 12 are to be understood as being the steps carried out by one or more programs running on the server 12. The server 12 is capable of communicating with the individual hardware devices of the other participants of the currency exchange via electronic data transmission channels 16. The electronic data transmission channel 16 can
be any recognised communication channel, for example, a cable and/or wireless (Bluetooth, Beacon, NFC, Wi-Fi, etc.) telecommunication channel, in particular a preferably encrypted communication channel created on the Internet network or on a mobile telephone network.
The other participants of the currency exchange are the seller 20, the buyer 30 and, optionally, the issuer 40 of the virtual or crypto currency to be used.
The seller 20 (also including chain stores) has a server 22. If the seller 20 itself also issues a virtual or crypto currency then all customer balances relating to this may be registered in one or more databases 24 forming a part of the server 22 or connected to it. In the case of the present embodiment the server 22 is connected to at least one payment terminal 26 (for example, cash register), which is preferably located in the business premises of seller 20. There may be a cable and/or wireless (for example, Bluetooth, Beacon, NFC, Wi-Fi, GSM, etc. according to the standard) electronic communication connection between the server 22 and the terminal 26.
In the case of the present embodiment the buyer 30 has a portable (mobile) communication device 32. This may be a traditional mobile device, such as a mobile telephone, tablet, laptop, notebook, etc., or a non-traditional device set up for data communication, for example, a Bluetooth wristwatch, etc. having or not having a SIM card which is capable of mobile communication. In the case of the exemplary embodiment presented in Figure 1 the communication device 32 is a mobile telephone, which has a display 32a and an input interface 32b, for example, a keyboard. If the display 32a is a touch screen, then this may also carry out the function of the input interface 32b, therefore a separate input interface 32b is not necessary (or rather it is the same as the display 32a). A dedicated program 34 is installed on the communication device 32, which serves for performing the procedure to be detailed later on.
The currency issuer 40 also has at least one server 42, which contains or is connected to one or more databases 44. If the issuer 40 can also act as a seller, then it may have a terminal 46 as well.
In the following, the operation of the currency exchange centre 10 and the procedure serving for exchanging real and virtual currencies between each other
will be presented with reference to the system according to Figure 1. The steps of the procedure are illustrated in Figure 2.
When making a purchase in the business premises of seller 20, buyer 30 carries out the payment at the terminal 26. In Step 1 the terminal 26 (or, in a given case, the server 22 of seller 20) establishes an electronic data transmission channel 27 with the communication device 32 of buyer 30, for example, with the help of radio/NFC, Bluetooth/Beacon, Wi-Fi, Internet, etc. technology in a way known in itself, via appropriate communication interfaces. The terminal 26 sends a data package 28 via the data transmission channel 27 to the communication device 32 of buyer 30 that contains at least a payment data member 29. The payment data member 29 contains the information relating to the payment such as payment currency (for example, HUF, EUR, USD, Bitcoin, etc.), payment amount and preferably the information relating to the beneficiary, such as the bank account number of seller 20, the identifier of seller 20 known by the currency exchange centre 10, or any other information on the basis of which financial performance may take place later on to the beneficiary (typically to the seller 20). The information relating to the beneficiary may also be communicated to the currency exchange centre 10 in another way. For example, the payment data member 29 may contain a transaction identifier, which the server 22 of seller 20 may also directly send to the server 12 of the currency exchange centre 10 via another data transmission channel 16. In this way the currency exchange centre 10 is able to identify the beneficiary (typically the seller 20) on the basis of a transaction identifier appearing in the payment order sent by the communication device 32 of buyer 30 in a way to be detailed later on.
The data package 27 arriving in the communication device 32 of buyer 30 is preferably processed by a program 34 dedicated for this purpose. In Step 2 the program 34 extracts the payment currency and payment amount information from the payment data member 29, which it displays for the buyer 30 on the display 32a. Using the input interface 32b the buyer 30 may select the real, virtual or crypto currency in which he/she wishes to pay the purchase price. During Step 3 the program 34 creates an electronic payment order. In the frame of this the program 34 prepares a currency selecting data member 36 from the currency information, then prepares a data package 35 as an electronic payment order that
contains at least a payment data member 39 and a currency selecting data member 36. Instead of a single data package 35, naturally, several may be created, for example, a first data package 35 may contain the payment data member 39, while a second data package may contain the currency selecting data member 36. The payment data member 39 is not necessarily the same as the data member 29 extracted from the data package 28 sent by the terminal 26, but it also contains the information relating to the payment currency and amount indicated by the terminal 26. The data package 35 may also contain further data, such as information for identifying the buyer 30, the information relating to the bank account of the buyer 30 to be debited (e.g. if there are several), and, in a given case, the transaction identifier received from the seller 20. It is possible to perform the identification of the buyer 30 (in other words the sender) in another way. For example, if the buyer 30 sends the data package 35 from a registered telephone number, then it is sufficient if the telephone number appears on the recipient side (in other words at the currency exchange centre 10), so it is typically enough if the setting of communication device 32 does not block caller identification. The buyer 30 may also be registered via the mobile device making use of its Bluetooth IME, NFC, Wi-Fi chip identifier or the serial number of the mobile device.
The communication device 32 and the server 12 of the currency exchange centre 10 establish a data transfer connection 16 with each other, for example, on a leased line, by satellite, via the Internet and/or mobile telephone network, possibly with the help of several commonly used IT devices. For example, it is feasible that the communication device 32 sends the data package 35 in an SMS text message, which the telephone centre of the currency exchange centre 10 forwards to the server 12 in a format suitable for use by computer. The creation of the data transmission connection 16 does not necessarily take place after Step 3, it is possible, for example, that the program 34 initiates the creation of the data transmission connection 16 when it is launched, which preferably involves the authentication of the buyer 30 or that of the communication device 32. The latter may take place in any known way. Following this, in Step 4 the communication device 32 sends the data package 35 containing the electronic payment order to the server 12 of the currency exchange centre 10 via the established data transmission channel 16, and the server 12 receives the data package 35 (either
in its original or possibly in processed format, for example, in a format converted from an SMS text message).
In Step 5 currency exchange centre 10 (or its server 12) elaborates the received data package 35. During the processing of the data package 35 the server 12 extracts currency information from the currency selecting data member
36, in other words, the information relating to which real, virtual or crypto currency the buyer 30 has selected to perform the payment. The server 12 extracts information relating to payment currency and information relating to the amount of payment from the payment data member 39 of the data package 35.
The server 12 specifies the exchange rate from the payment currency information and from the currency information, which, preferably, may be extracted from the exchange rate table recorded by the currency exchange centre 10. As an example in Figure 3 a table illustrates the exchange rates between various real, virtual and cryptocurrencies. Naturally, similarly to real currencies sales, purchase and intermediate exchange rates that vary in time may be specified as well as exchange rates related to exchange according to further conditions.
In Step 5 the currency exchange centre 10 (or its server 12) identifies the sender of the data package 35, i.e. the buyer 30. This may take place, for example, from the buyer identifying data member 37 to be found in the data package 35 or from the telephone number of the communication device of sender 32 (or from the SIM card used in it). The buyer identifying data member 37 may not only be forwarded in the data package 35 containing the payment data member 39 and/or the currency selecting data member 36, but, for example, earlier, during authentication. Therefore, the buyer's identifying data member 37 could be, for example, the login identifier (for example, login name, e-mail address used during registration, etc.) of buyer 30. The server 12 determines the data required relating to the buyer 30 on the basis of the buyer identifying data member
37. This data may contain information relating to selection between several financial accounts, for example, the buyer 30 may specify which bank account is to be debited in the case of payment using real currency.
It is noted that an embodiment may also be conceived where the communication device owner 32 proceeds in the name of another person (the actual buyer 30) giving a payment order from his/her own communication device
32, naturally while creating the appropriate security guarantees (for example, the buyer 30 has consented in advance to the performance of the payment orders to be sent from the communication device 32). The server 12 is also able in such a case, however, to identify the buyer 30 (in other words the obligor of the financial transaction), either on the basis of an advance agreement (for example, in the case of payment orders arriving from a given telephone, the given person is the obligor), or on the basis of the identifying data member 37 placed in the data package 35.
Following this, in Step 6 the server 12 determines the balance of the identified buyer 30 with respect to the currency according to the currency information. If the currency exchange centre 10 stores the balances in its own database 14 then the server 12 extracts the balance of buyer 30 from this. Preferably, however, in the case of virtual currencies the issuer 40 of the virtual currency keeps a record of the balance of buyer 30 in the given currency in its database 44. In such a case the server 12 identifies the currency issuer 40 (for example, from records for this purpose) on the basis of the currency information, then establishes a data transmission connection 16 with the server 42 of issuer 40 according to what have been explained previously (preferably via an Internet connection) and with the help of the server 42 extracts the balance information from the database 44. This may take place in any known way. For example, following authentication the server 12 requests the balance relating to the given buyer 30 and to the given currency in Step 6a.
On the basis of the balance information in Step 7 the server 12 generates a reply message which it sends to the communication device 32 via the previous or a new data transmission channel 16 established with the communication device 32. The content of the reply message depends on the balance information. If it turns out from the balance of buyer 30 that the buyer 30 does not have sufficient funds in the given currency in order to perform payment, then the buyer 30 receives an error message, which the dedicated program 34 displays to the buyer 30 with the help of the display 32a. An error message may also be sent back in other cases as well, for example, if an important piece of data is missing, for example, information relating to the required payment currency, information relating to amount, information relating to selected currency, information relating to
the financial account to be debited (if performance takes place from this and this is not automatically available to the currency exchange centre 10), information relating to the beneficiary, if buyer 30 authentication is unsuccessful, if the secure connection breaks, etc.
If sufficient funds are available from the selected currency then the buyer 30 receives a payment confirmation message, in which, preferably, the payment amount also appears now converted to the selected currency, as does a notice to approve the payment. If the buyer 30 agrees with the payment value stated in the selected currency and requests the payment be made, then using the input interface 32b (or in a given case the touch screed display 32a) the buyer 30 inputs information referring to this (for example, writes in the word "Ok", or presses the Enter button), on the effect of which the program 34 generates an approval message and sends it to the server 12 in Step 8. Before, at the same time, or following the financial performance of the payment order the server 12 reduces the balance of buyer 30 relating to the given currency by the amount of the payment in Step 9. If the balance is in the database 44 of currency issuer 40, then the currency exchange centre 10 reduces the balance indirectly: in Step 9a an instruction relating to the reduction of the balance is sent to the issuer 40, preferably in a data package sent through the data transmission channel 16 described previously.
Preferably the balance is not only stored by the issuer 40 of the given currency in its database 44, but the database 44 (but at least the balance information data) of issuer 40 is also stored mirrored in the database 14 of the currency exchange centre 10 (in other words a copy is stored), and here too the balance is reduced appropriately. The advantage of this is that the steps of the payment order described above may even be performed if, for some reason the required electronic data transmission channel 16 cannot be established with the server 42 of the currency issuer 40. In such a case the server 12 extracts the balance from the local database 14, and, following payment approval, it reduces the balance of buyer 30 relating to the payment currency in this database 14, then it sends information relating to updating the balance afterwards when the communication channel 16 has been restored.
In Step 10 (which may be carried out simultaneously with Steps 9 and 9a, or even in advance of them) a data package 51 containing the electronic payment acknowledgement data member 50 is sent from the server 12 of the currency exchange centre 10 to the communication device 32 of buyer 30 and/or directly to the seller 20, preferably, to both of them. The payment acknowledgement data member 50 acknowledges payment, typically this represents payment guarantee, as financial performance will only take place at a later point in time. If the server 12 sends the data package 51 to the IT device of seller 20, then this may take place, for example, by sending it to the server 22 via the data transmission channel 16, which then forwards it to the terminal 26, so the personnel operating the terminal 26 (for example, the cashier) receives notice of the payment (or of expected financial performance). Naturally, in the case of an appropriate data transmission connection 16, the server 12 may send the data package 51 directly to the terminal 26. If the server 12 only sends the data package 51 containing the payment acknowledgement to the communication device 32, then the buyer 30 may show this to the cashier displayed on the display 32a, or the program 34 may forward it to the terminal 26 via the data transmission channel 27.
Actual financial performance is not a part of the present invention, but it may be said that it takes place depending on the agreement of the participants., For example, the currency exchange centre 10 instructs its own financial service provider (for example, its bank) to transfer the value according to the payment currency and amount from the account held there to the account held at the beneficiary's financial service provider, or collects the offset of this in an agreed currency from the currency issuer 40 selected by the buyer 30. The cost of the transaction may be borne, according to an agreement between the parties by the buyer 30, or by the issuer 40 or even by the seller 20 (the latter typically occurs only if the seller 20 also acts as a currency issuer in other transactions).
Preferably, all the data transmission connections 16, 27 appearing in the procedure detailed above are encrypted, in this way the data packages are encrypted on the sender side and then decrypted on the receiver side.
The procedure described above may contain numerous further steps, and numerous steps may be modified. For example, in a preferred embodiment the buyer 30 may request his/her balance according to the selected currency before
the data package 34 containing the payment order is generated. In this way payment orders in a currency in which there are insufficient funds available may be avoided. A further possibility is that the exchange rates may also be requested, so when selecting the currency the buyer 30 may take into consideration which one has a favourable exchange rate at the given time. The program 34 is preferably suitable for determining the amount payable in the given currency from the payment data member 29 received in the data package 28, and from the exchange rate derived from the information of the currency selected by the buyer 30 with the help of an input interface 32b. In view of this information the buyer 30 may decide on the currency in which he/she wishes to make the payment in an even more convenient way.
Various modifications to the above disclosed embodiments will be apparent to a person skilled in the art without departing from the scope of protections determined by the attached Claims.