Lithuania has the most rapidly growing e-retailer in the world, and its e-tailers have launched products with names like “I Love Lithuania” and “Lithuania is the World”.
But for many in Lithuania, this is the first time they’ve ever been able to sell products for real money.
And as they head towards the end of the month, they’re facing a challenge that has never been faced before: The US$1 billion US e-payment system known as Visa wants to make a purchase.
“We are trying to do something with the technology, and the technology is a big problem,” the CEO of LiteCoin, a Lithuanian e-recovery startup, told Business Insider.
“So the first thing that we have to do is, we have a plan for what we need to do and how we’re going to do it.”
For Lithuanians, that means a new currency, called Lithuanian kryty, which is the official national currency.
“It is a bit like a virtual currency,” LiteCoin’s CEO told Business Insights.
“It is basically the new currency for the country.”
To use Litecoin, a person needs to register their e-mail address, and when they sign up, they can buy products from Lite Coin for LNT, the national currency, which the company estimates is worth around US$5,000 to the national budget.
The company says it has already sold more than 20 million euros worth of Lites since the beginning of February.
And when they do sell, Litecoins prices are far lower than the prices in other countries.
“The price of LNT is not something that people are accustomed to, and I don’t think people are ready to pay more than LNT,” the company CEO said.
The Lithuanian government is currently looking into the issue, and Lite coins are expected to be banned by the end the year.
But LiteCoin is not just another e-store in the US.
The company’s founders are hoping to be one of the first businesses to open up shop in the Baltic Republic and to be the first to get a US$25 million US tax credit.
For the first three months of this year, the company sold its products for LIT ($5.99), LUT ($8.99) and LZK ($12.99).
But now it’s expanding its offering to include other national currencies.
The new LiteCash system uses the same technology as Visa, and will allow Lites users to purchase goods with LNT and other national currency for LZM, the Lithuanian equivalent of US$10.
LiteCoin CEO Juri Tsiolkovski, a former business development manager for Visa in Lithuania who left the country to start his own e-wallet business in 2014, told BI the system is “extremely powerful” and has “very few limitations”.
The company is now looking to sell 100 million LIT, or US$50,000 worth of goods, in the first month.
“If we do well, that’s a good result for the economy, for the citizens, for Lithuania,” Tsiolovski said.
And for the first months, the new Lites will be sold in LNT-only stores.
But Lites coins will be traded at prices that are comparable to other local currencies, he added.
“What we do here is very similar to other countries, where they are buying euros, dollars, and yen for their bills,” he said.
“So the coins that we are selling here are going to be very similar.”
There are currently about 20,000 Lites in circulation in Lithuania.
Lites coins are also a popular payment method for many Lithuanians who live in the city of Vilnius.
Lites are already used in some Lithuanian restaurants and bars.
The price per Lite coin is currently around the same as a euro, which means the average person can pay for two meals in the same night for about LNT ($10) and for a beer at a bar for about US$7 ($5).
“This is an interesting phenomenon,” LitesCoin’s CEO Tsiolkowski said.
“But it is not the end.
We are still here, and we will keep doing this.”
Litescoin’s CEO hopes to have the currency in use by the beginning to the end to the beginning, in about six months, as more retailers get onboard.
“I think it will be a very fast transition, because there is still room to grow and more people are starting to understand the benefits of Lit,” Tsolkowski said, adding that the company has already reached out to over 10,000 potential retailers to get their feedback.