Will central bank digital currencies replace fiat currencies?
Steven Parker is CEO of the Crypterium wallet application, which has more than 600,000 registered customers in more than 170 countries. The app allows users to hold a crypto balance in over 20 tokens, allowing them to spend assets through a Visa card. However, Crypterium didn’t hit its high levels of success out of nowhere. Parker has previous experience as a former Managing Director of the Visa Central and Eastern Europe network.
With cryptoassets, in particular, DeFi, which has grown so much over the past few years, where do you see the next industry trend?
It is extraordinary to see how much cryptocurrency has advanced in just a few short years. Widespread adoption of crypto has only happened in the last 2-3 years, and yet we have a vibrant ecosystem of miners, exchanges, wallets (like us at Crypterium), markets and technology providers. Chainalysis estimates that crypto adoption has grown by 880% over the past year, with an estimated average of 220 million users worldwide.
Currently, there appear to be a few critical use cases for crypto, and Crypterium is happy to enable all of these types of innovation. Crypterium has many clients in developing markets, such as the Philippines, Nigeria or Bangladesh, where financial inclusion is a real issue. Bank accounts are hard to come by, and the tokenized nature of crypto has dramatically pushed secure and fast P2P payments. For all types of customers – both business and home – the frictionless, borderless nature of crypto is perfect for cross-border payments. Finally, in a low yielding world, part of the new ability to lend and invest in crypto with high yields is an exciting alternative. Crypetrium recently enabled staking through Uniswap to open up these opportunities to retail customers who cannot easily access DeFi platforms.
In what ways do Trad-fi and DeFi blend together to create the next experience in finance?
We are only in the early days, but we see several areas where convergence is occurring. At Crypterium, we enable payment and payment in partnership with traditional banks and card companies – our own Visa Europe card is particularly popular. We are also seeing more and more players like Paypal and Visa offering crypto as a payment alternative. MasterCard recently announced an exciting alliance with Bakkt, for example. On the investment side, investment banks and fund managers offer crypto as an alternative asset.
Which countries are leading the charge when it comes to crypto regulation?
Regulation is a âhotâ area of ââcrypto. Regulators are concerned about money laundering or uneducated clients losing a lot of money. At a broader level, central banks are concerned about the âprivatizationâ of money. One approach is to ban crypto like China, but not all countries can control and manage this. Other countries like India are timid in opening up. The United States has been very fragmented and the SEC is now urgently examining how it has a common approach. Europe is undoubtedly leading in a direction which manages risks but also tries to facilitate innovation. Countries like Germany and Switzerland have strict registration policies and processes, but it is possible to create innovative services once approved. Of course, we have to avoid over-regulation in an industry where innovation is rapid and we have no real idea of ââwhere it will develop.
In any case, it is essential to note the fact that Crypterium has recently been registered by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide cryptocurrency services to UK citizens and businesses (registered company) and is one of the few companies to have passed the registration process of nearly 200 who applied. This registration ensures that as the Brexit measures take effect, Crypterium can continue to provide its crypto wallet services, including its Visa crypto cards and exchange functions, to virtually anyone in the UK. Not only that, but its market-leading B2B offering can provide the same level of functionality for UK businesses. FCA crypto registration is an extensive and detailed process that takes nearly 18 months of evaluating policies and processes before approval is granted. This process highlights the quality of the compliance systems and procedures applied by Crypterium, as well as the small number of approved companies to date.
Do you see cryptocurrencies taking full advantage of fiat or acting as a similar complement to gold and other alternative assets?
I think stablecoins have a real opportunity to complement traditional finance. After all, we are seeing how the world can effectively use this technology with RippleNet’s activation of cross-border payments for small businesses with conventional players like Santander. Otherwise, the example of a country like El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender is vast and, no doubt, other countries will follow.
Central bank digital currencies are also a fascinating idea – will they replace fiat currencies? Competition between central banks and the commercial banking sector poses many challenges. As for investments, it is too early to tell. Bitcoin is an alternative asset when inflation is a concern. As for DeFi, its exact direction is unclear, although we can be sure the space is headed for a bright future.
What role does Crypterium play in the future of cryptocurrencies?
At Crypterium, our mission has always been to make crypto as easy to use as âregularâ money. With our checkout, checkout and exchange features, that’s exactly what we do. You can send money to a mobile device anywhere in the world with just a few clicks, and we’ve now applied that âeasy to useâ philosophy to borrowing and investing in crypto. Our current goal is to provide maximum income and benefit by working with, storing and using cryptocurrencies. Crypterium has also been running some recent and exciting promotions around CRPT staking on Uniswap and earning via the Xen token. Finally, thanks to our B2B offer, we allow the most interested consumers to easily access crypto services.
How to convince more institutional investors to get involved in crypto?
Institutional interest is already growing a lot, and Chainalysis’s recent market survey shows that in developed markets, large players (transactions over $ 1 million) accounted for 75% of DeFi volumes at year-end. last. This interest should come as no surprise, given that institutional players such as Goldman Sachs and Fidelity will want to offer their clients choice through alternative assets, especially in a low yielding world. We’re also seeing ‘new economy’ companies like Square, MicroStrategy, and Tesla holding large amounts of crypto on their balance sheets, but they remain exceptions for now.
What is standing in the way of mass adoption of NFT?
NFT is a whole different world. At the back of smart contract ecosystems like Ethereum, we can create all kinds of NFTs. Currently, we are experimenting with works of art and collectibles in the NFT space. In my youth we collected and traded paper cards of the best soccer players – now you can do it digitally. Recently a group formed to purchase a physical world copy of the US Constitution.
It’s such a new market, and the idea of ââwhat anything is really worth is so uncertain that, at the moment, I think NFTs have room to evolve and stabilize. Even so, NFTs are here to stay as part of our new digital world, and we can imagine them being used in virtual games, for trading virtual goods, and for digital cash – all the features that make it up. part of the much publicized “metaverse”. ”
Again, we’re not sure where this will all lead, but cryptocurrencies are here to stay in one form or another as an easier means of payment. The returns that DeFi can support in a disintermediated manner are sufficiently attractive to arouse the interest of institutions and consumers. Then we have the NFTs that are accelerating the world in digital platforms. This is all so exciting and unknown, and Crypterium will continue to fulfill its mission of making all of these services readily available to the interested consumer. Our next step is to start actively working in the US, launch a US Visa card next year, and expand our local presence.