“Cryptocurrencies have become a must-have attribute of a modern person,” says Vladimir Gorbunov, co-founder of Crypterium. Yet, they don’t have much use beyond trading and investment. How can we turn cryptocurrencies into real money that you can spend in the nearest supermarket? NewsBTC spoke directly with Vladimir to get the answers.
NewsBTC: Define Crypetrium for our readers in layman’s terms.
Vladimir Gorbunov: Crypterium is the first global crypto bank that enables you to spend your cryptocurrency just as quickly as cash: in the nearest supermarket, while traveling, or shopping online, whenever and wherever you want.
The purpose is crystal clear to any cryptocurrency holder who currently has pretty much no way to spend crypto in real life. Though they want to pay their bills, pay off loans and make everyday purchases with crypto, they don’t have such an opportunity at the moment. We are giving them that opportunity.
Why would anyone want to pay with crypto when there are cash and cards?
First of all, there’s already an integral part of the economy that receives income in cryptocurrencies. There are cryptocurrency miners, service providers that accept crypto payments, from lawyers to PR agencies, etc. All those people need a way to spend their hard-earned money without going through exchange hassle and losing a substantial amount of money on the conversion.
Secondly, crypto is convenient. It’s fast and secure, and it gives you real control over your money 24/7. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have already become, in a way, a must-have attribute of a modern person. Now, the said person is just in need of a way to efficiently use crypto.
How big is the audience you’re targeting?
To realize the depth of the problem we are solving, merely take a look at our token buyer database. It’s one of the largest in the world – we have over 400,000 registered users. It’s clear we are working on an urgent matter that concerns our audience – and that’s precisely why we have received so much support from the community.
We are also planning to reach billions of currently unbanked people and bring them all the advantages of the new payment systems based on crypto.
What do you think keeps an average Joe away from using cryptocurrency for payments today?
Several obstacles are ranging from market volatility and the current decrease in cryptocurrencies’ value to the lack of comprehensible legal ways of buying crypto. Today, potential crypto buyers often have to turn to shady marketplaces or exchange outlets that have enormous fees of 10 – 25%. Add to it the vast amount of theft and fraud, and you’ll see why people hesitate to get into crypto. In a way, the crypto world today is the “Wild West.”
How your solution is overcoming those obstacles?
For starters, we are going to provide the most convenient and efficient way to purchase cryptocurrencies. Crypterium App is going to offer a simple and cheap solution of buying crypto right from your bank card anywhere in the world with minimal fees. We are planning to bring these solutions to life as early as this year. And then you’ll be able to shop with this cryptocurrencies while merchants will still be able to get fiat. So we’ll manage the whole range of fiat to crypto and crypto to fiat operations.
You mentioned reaching unbanked people with your solution. Why do you think they need cryptocurrency, and how will they buy it, if they don’t have cards?
You are right, countries like Cuba and specific regions across Asia and Africa currently have no payment terminals and no infrastructure. However, that doesn’t mean the citizens of those countries do not need to transfer funds, including international payments, or have a universal payment solution when traveling abroad.
We will enable them to purchase crypto for cash at particular outlets or Crypterium terminals that we are going to set worldwide. We are preparing a whole array of solutions for that: integrating with PoS terminals, establishing partnerships with many payment terminal networks, etc.
Once a user gets their preferred cryptocurrency on their Crypterium account, they can transfer it through Crypterium App to any recipient – even to those who don’t have a bank account but owns a smartphone. That’s the next-generation payment experience, and we are going to have it in place within 12 – 18 months.
“The critical word is execution.”
There are already several projects out there that have proposed to make digital currencies more spendable like cash. How is Crypterium any different from any of them?
First of all, most of the companies that claim they would provide the solution don’t have anything to offer yet. Our R&D department has analyzed more than 80 companies that have offered some crypto-fiat payment solution, and it turns out that only 3 or 4 of them have launched an actual product. So here’s the first part: in the crypto economy, the critical word for any project is, Execution.
Why do you think Crypterium can execute its payment solutions better than other companies?
Our main advantage is our team with vast experience in building and implementing FinTech solutions. We know this industry like the back of our hand: we know how to establish partnerships, we have worked with contactless payments, we have seen it all.
Look at our CEO Marc O’Brien, who previously held the position of CEO of Visa UK for six years. Crypterium founders have built dozens of successful ventures with a particular focus on simplifying real-world issues through technology. Crypterium is supported by legendary entrepreneurs, like co-founder of TechCrunch Keith Teare. This stellar team is capable of achieving the most important goal: building the best product with the best functionality.
How’s Crypterium functionality different from other crypto payment solutions?
We aren’t just creating a payment solution. Instead, we are building up a whole ecosystem that will cater to the needs of any cryptocurrency holder. In addition to buying crypto and making payments with it, we are going to introduce crypto loans along with investment scenarios. We are also putting much effort into the development and expansion of our partnership network.
Terminal networks, QR payment solutions and everything else we are developing – these are the steps we are taking towards Crypterium’s ultimate goal to make a smartphone the only thing needed for a complete banking experience.
“We burn our tokens, but we’ll never run out of them.”
Tell us about your cryptocurrency. Is there even a need to develop another cryptocurrency? If so, what purpose does it serve?
Just as a machine operates on fuel, Crypterium payment solutions are powered by CRPT tokens. You can compare it to “gas” powering the transactions on Ethereum. Every time someone makes a payment, a fee equal to 0.5% of the value of the trade in CRPT is taken from user’s account and burned. That’s our token economy: the smart contract controls the whole process.
What happens when you burn them all?
The number of tokens will reduce over time, but it’s practically impossible to burn all of them. It’s just simple logic: per the laws of economics, increasing demand for tokens will raise their price, thereby reducing the amount that is going to be burned for each transaction.
Here’s an example: if you pay for a $100 plane ticket with Crypterium App, when CRPT is worth $0.5, you’d burn one token. But if the CRPT price increases, for example to $2, you’d only need to burn 0.25 CRPT for the same transaction. Simply put, the token-burning rate will be continually decreasing. Think of it as an asymptote graph. Moreover, CRPT token is not an integer and has 18 digits after the decimal point.
CRPT is currently listed on two exchanges. Do you have plans to add more this year?
We are planning to boost the number of listings next year, introducing a new one almost every month. As for 2018, we are planning to get listed on 3-4 new exchanges by the end of the year.
Even now, CRPT trading volumes are going up. It’s great to know that our token isn’t falling below the market price, and it is ahead of the market during upswing periods.
“We’re establishing hundreds of partnerships.”
Merchant adoption, in general, has been very slow. There are still limitations like slow transaction confirmation. How does Crypterium fare when it comes to making instant PoS payments like Visa or MasterCard? If you do offer instant payments, how do you achieve such scalability in a crypto-environment?
One of the main advantages of Crypterium ecosystem is its enormous internal processing capability. Our servers can process up to 1 million transactions per minute, and we can do most of the processing within our system and not on the blockchain itself. This way, the speed of transactions within our system is virtually limitless.
We’ve read there are many traditional payment gateways you are trying to tap with Crypterium – like Apple Pay, for instance. Is it even possible seeing that all these centralized entities have endless terms and conditions? How do you explain a possible relationship between a crypto solution and a service like Apple or Android Pay?
There are two ways to get access to Apple Pay and Android Pay. We can do it on our own or through third-party partnerships. In the first scenario, once we obtain our E-Money license, we can quickly apply and connect to Apple Pay and Android Pay. We’ve already got the experience and technologies to do that. The downside is that obtaining this license can take a considerable amount of time.
In the second case, we’ll turn to our partners, 70% of which are already connected to Apple Pay and Android Pay. This way, the first version of our solution will be based on our existing partnerships.
How do you persuade companies like Visa or MasterCard to work with you?
We have a lot of critical potential partners on our radar, including but not limited to significant payment providers such as Visa, MasterCard, and UnionPay. We are in talks with some cardless payment infrastructures. We are developing IBAN payments and looking for any other improvements we can make.
Crypterium will establish hundreds of partnerships and integrations; of course, Visa and MasterCard are likely to be there at some point. But once again, we are not prioritizing any potential partner right now.
Different countries have different laws and regulations: how long will it take Crypterium to create a truly global solution?
Crypterium consists of two essential parts: the crypto part and the fiat part. We are unique in that we completely separate the two elements from each other. The fiat part essentially has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies: for instance, a merchant receives fiat money even though the payment was made in crypto. It means we are going through all the regulatory procedures and meeting all the requirements for a traditional bank. We are planning to settle all regulatory issues in the critical regions by the end of this year.
Also, some countries don’t require us to obtain a license; we’ll launch there sooner. Marc O’Brien, our CEO, is a world-class specialist with massive experience in banking and payment systems; he will surely be instrumental in dealing with any regulatory disparities across the globe.
What are the critical markets for Crypterium?
Europe, the USA, and Asia are the top priority regions for us, followed by Brazil and Australia. Next are other countries where we are opening offices and working with regulators. Russia isn’t omitted either, even though it’s not at the top of the list: we’ve got a partner bank here and are ready to implement bill payments and transfers.
A hypothetical question: what if the demand of CRPT token drops, say, in front of another solution? Is there any backup plan?
The cryptomarket is comprised of hundreds of millions of people. One competing solution won’t change anything: after all, today’s society doesn’t have an exclusive social medium, an exclusive taxi service or an exclusive bank, so why would Crypterium be exclusive? Once again, it comes down to execution, not to the idea itself. Among the quantity and quality of services, well-thought tariff strategy, and product scalability, Crypterium has all the chances to seize and retain market leadership.