Today, in our interview session we have Pavel Matveev.
Pavel is the CEO of Wirex, a crypto-friendly payment platform to seamlessly integrate traditional finance and cryptocurrencies to support multi-currency accounts, transfer and exchange services.
For those who are not aware of who you are, who is Pavel Matveev?
I am the CEO and co-founder of Wirex, we provide a borderless payment platform to empower corporate and individuals to manage their money their way. As the CEO I am responsible for the high-level functioning and growth of Wirex. Specifically, I focus on new product development and the evolution of our platform.
What is Wirex and how does it work?
Wirex is a borderless payment platform that empowers people to manage their money, their way. Our platform embraces the digital ecosystem and bridge traditional finance with the new token economy. We ally new technologies and payments systems, whilst also offering the tradition banking structure, given consumers and businesses the choice of how to pay.
We offer consumers and businesses crypto and traditional currencies accounts for domestic and international payments. We also provide the world’s first Visa card that allows users to convert and spend cryptocurrencies wherever Visa is accepted.
We give our customers the power to use their money their way, by ensuring that our customers no longer have to deal with the traditional barriers or costs associated with a simple exchange or transaction.
When did you first hear about Crypto? And why did you get involved?
I used to be a consultant to some top-tier investment banks, such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, helping them to build trading platforms and algo-trading strategies. It was whilst doing this that I became aware of the high cost and inconvenience of off-boarding digital currencies, that it was impeding both consumers and businesses.
Dmitry Lazarichev and I then founded Wirex as it is now, because we wanted to solve some of these problems and allow the use of cryptocurrency in everyday scenarios. This is why the first product we created was the Wirex Visa card, the first of its kind in the world. It gives our consumers the ability to convert and spend their crypto instantly without having to pay any fees, which can often times be extortionate.
What are the advantages of using Wirex for a business?
Wirex Business is unique, it was the first account that allowed business owners to pay, receive and manage their business finance under their business name. As incredible as it can be, until we launched it, it wasn’t possible!
Our business accounts allow companies to use traditional and crypto currencies and to access over-the-counter and interbank rates without having to pay any exchange fees. Not only that but the digital payments system is much faster than traditional SWIFT or SEPA payment methods, as well as being much cheaper.
Within businesses too, the whole accounting team can all access the same account, but there is the ability to set different permission levels. It makes for a smoother and more secure work practices.
What’s the main reason to choose Wirex and not one of your competitors?
To be frank we don’t really have a direct competitor; there is no one else offering the same amount of traditional or crypto currencies as we do. There are some smaller companies around that may offer one or two aspects of our service, but not the full range.
We were the first crypto card to launch back in 2015 and we’ve learnt a lot in following four years. Where these new companies will probably come across similar issues and make similar mistakes as we might have done, we’ve already learnt from this and are able to offer a superior product and service that is gearing up for the digital ecosystem.
We have access to industry over-the-counter OTC and interbank exchange rates, so any exchange on our platform at made with low fees and we have high limits. Not only that but we offer the use of 18 digital and traditional currencies, allowing for seamless spending with the Wirex Visa card, which with our Enhanced Cryptoback™ scheme, generates bitcoin rewards.
Not forgetting the Wirex app, which allows full control and functionality whenever and wherever is needed.
How do you decide what countries to approach as a potential market and which one not to? Are there any specific criteria?
To define whether it is a country is a good fit for us we check:
- Size of the market and potential
- Existing customer base or interest from potential customers
We tend not to enter into countries and regions if one of those criteria is not meet or if we’re uncertain as every new expansion move is a quite costly exercise requiring a lot of resources.
As a regulated entity we ensure that as a company we take regulation very seriously, as such in some of the countries we can offer limited platform features and functionalities.
What's your view on stablecoins?
I believe stablecoins are the future of tokenized payments and the catalyst required for the IoT industry to boom. The IoT industry has grown exponentially in last few years and connected devices and AI is changing commerce and consumption. It allows to automate logistics & payments to be more efficient, one example is automatically charging your card when you park your car in a car park. Yet the traditional payment infrastructure is so outdated that it is too expensive to process micropayments, which is at the core of automation between machines.
Stablecoins work on the same payments rail than cryptocurrency, which offers speed and cost efficiency (not subject to the 9-5 working hours). The stability that they offer mitigate any of the inherent volatility of the crypto market.
We are about to launch the first 11 of our stablecoins, partnering with Stellar, meaning we can offer our consumers all the benefits of traditional cryptocurrency, such as processing speed and payment security, without the risk. Because Wirex stablecoins are fiat-pegged cryptocurrencies, they can be used to perform low-cost, near-instantaneous international remittance.
Every company has short, medium and long term goals. What can we expect to see in the future?
The immediate future is set to be an exciting time for Wirex. In April, we partnered with Stellar and incorporated XLM onto the platform. Since then, we’ve developed a range of fiat-pegged Wirex Stablecoins, built on the Stellar network to transform the way people and businesses make cross-border payments. These will be released soon.
On top of that, we’re launching the Wirex Visa card across the APAC region as a multicurrency travelcard and expanding the product on offer there. Earlier this year, we have obtained out type II membership in Japan and we’re now working towards acquiring our Type I Licence from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), – this will establish the platform as a legal Crypto Asset Exchange Service Provider (only 19 companies have achieved this to date) and allow us to offer our full range of services to Japanese customers.
We’re also continuing to develop our business product, including merchant offers that will allow companies to circumvent traditional payment channels run by Visa or Mastercard and Stablecoin-powered remittance.
Thank you Pavel for answering our questions and we wish you all the best.