I don’t have a problem with the Bitcoin laser eyes on Twitter, but it often feels like we’re celebrating crypto before we’ve done the hard work that’s needed to bring this technology mainstream.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited about crypto as you might expect of someone who co-founded a company like MoonPay
Thanks to crypto, billions of people will now have access to financial services. Anyone with an internet connection can create a wallet with a public address and private key, which means the unbanked can now become “banked.” Beyond money, all sorts of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) like music, art, and tickets will become native to the blockchain, creating value and interoperability in ways we’ve never seen before. It’s no longer a question of whether it will go mainstream, but when.
But it’s also a question of how, and that’s the part that’s too often overlooked.
The good news is this question is easy to answer. History tends to repeat itself, and I believe the internet will do to finance the same thing it did to telecommunications.
The latest development in modern telecoms is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which is not so much replacing traditional communication networks but leveraging them. Skype was one of the first businesses to use VoIP, enabling anyone in the world to communicate seamlessly and for free. But the company also kept people’s phone numbers and contacts and even allowed calls to landlines and mobile phones. From the user’s perspective, it felt natural to use. Over a decade later, we have innovative applications like Zoom leveraging VOIP, yet we still haven’t gotten rid of analog phone numbers.
I believe the internet will do to finance the same thing it did to telecommunications.
The same is happening with money: the latest development in modern finance is what you might call MoIP (Money over Internet Protocol). PayPal was one of the first businesses to facilitate online payments, and the way PayPal reached people was not through an app or through their website but by embedding themselves into eBay. It’s no different for crypto, which will need to build backwards compatibility into the legacy financial system by embedding what the industry calls “on-ramps” (where traditional fiat currencies like the US dollar and Euro can be exchanged for crypto) into major user touchpoints.
That’s where companies like ours come in: we’re integrating our on-ramps into the touchpoints that are attracting people to crypto. These currently include things like cryptocurrency wallets that enable cross border remittances, NFT marketplaces where the merging of culture and crypto is already having an explosive impact on adoption, and decentralised exchanges where people can come together to swap their cryptocurrencies and share additional economic incentives by owning a piece of the network. Future integrations could include major financial services corporations like Visa and Mastercard, which billions of people already use, or possibly local banks. The potential applications are endless—trying to predict all the possible entry points to the crypto economy would be like trying to predict Facebook or Tik Tok in the early days of the internet.
Our ambition is to reach as many of these touchpoints as possible, and to cover every payment method across every geography. As a company, our guiding principle is Kaizen, which in Japanese means “change for better”. In practice for us at MoonPay, that means continuously optimizing every component of our infrastructure stack for conversion so that the end user experience improves. With Kaizen, a 1% improvement compounded daily over a year can translate to 3,700% growth, which in terms of crypto adoption could mean a heck of a lot more people introduced to the crypto economy.
There’s a ton of work ahead to really take crypto mainstream. Once that work is done, then just maybe we could be OK with rocking the laser eyes on Twitter.
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