Mercuryo CEO says 2023 will be a big year for crypto payments breaking into TradFi
Global payments infrastructure platform Mercuryo has recently announced the launch of a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution that enables crypto companies to create bank accounts for their users. The company also partnered with MetaMask, one of the leading providers of crypto wallets.
In an exclusive interview with Finbold, Petr Kozyakov, co-founder and CEO of Mercuryo, shared the latest developments at the company, the strategy his company took to tackle the drastic market changes in 2022, and how Mercuryo grew into a more sustainable company as a result.
The CEO also shared his views on how today’s crypto market sees an increasing number of decentralized and non-custodial financial service providers and their growing need for banking services to help bridge the gap between crypto and fiat. Kozyakov spoke about Mercuryo’s future plans and his views on how they will help promote the use of cryptocurrency in payment practices worldwide.
1. 2022 was a challenging year for the fintech market. How did Mercuryo deal with the realities of the market during this period? What lessons have you learned for yourself? What advice would you give to other companies on how to weather such times?
“2022 was indeed a tough year, both for the cryptocurrency industry and finance in general. The crypto market collapsed by 60-70%, and the global stock market was also down, demonstrating the biggest annual drop since 2008. Businesses worldwide faced tough conditions, with many companies shutting down completely because they could not continue their operations.
Personally, I would say that the main lesson we learned at Mercuryo is the importance of building a sustainable business. If previously we could only think in terms of growing our company, now we have to think about growth in a sustainable way. We had to avoid taking on additional operational or financial hurdles and instead make money as we grew.
And I think this is relevant to all businesses, because if you have a sustainable company, a downturn can become a chance for you to grow. An opportunity to build your product to increase your long-term growth.”
2. What had been the main focus of Mercuryo’s work in 2022?
“To continue my earlier point about sustainability, in the case of Mercuryo, we did our best to adapt to the complicated realities of 2022 by dedicating our efforts to increasing our efficiency. This meant focusing on improving our internal systems and strengthening our team of developers and core products.
As a result, it helped us become one of the most efficient payment providers in Europe and the UK. We have polished our services and entered 2023 with a new BaaS solution to facilitate the transition between crypto and fiat payments.
Along the way, we have engaged resources to strengthen our partnerships, by carefully selecting market players whose services and goals align with the value we want to provide to our customers. In short, it’s actually ended up going pretty well for us, and we’re continuing our business with the intention of easing the pain in the international payments market.”
3. Where does your company stand now? What do you intend to notice in 2023? Which directions to develop?
– As the situation is now, we are actually in a good position. After the FTX collapse, we have observed tremendous growth among non-custodial wallets and decentralized players. And these actors create demand for a number of different financial products.
At Mercuryo, we have a complete product line that we can offer to such companies, starting with the fastest loading and unloading solutions. We are one of the only firms that allow crypto to fiat payouts globally via prepaid card providers such as Visa and Mastercard. In addition, our recently launched Banking-as-a-Service solution will also be in demand among these companies.
We plan to continue expanding geographically – Mercuryo is already the most effective payment service provider in Europe and the UK. And this year we plan to achieve similar positions in the US and several other emerging markets. Our ultimate goal is to become a one-stop-shop provider for all decentralized custody actors.”
4. In early 2023 you announced the launch of BaaS – can you tell us more about the product?
“Mercuryo’s BaaS (Banking-as-a-Service) was launched with the aim of enabling users to manage bank and crypto accounts within a single platform. The product helps businesses, such as DEXs or investment apps, open full-fledged bank accounts, allowing customers to store, transfer and pay with fiat currencies. Users can also convert their fiat funds to crypto in the same account if they wish.
Mercuryo has previously conducted research showing that 57% of US and UK customers are more likely to choose a bank that offers crypto services in addition to traditional finance for their financial needs. Traditional banking systems have become outdated and it is difficult for them to start offering crypto-related services directly. And likewise, due to the fact that the crypto industry is still young and underdeveloped, it is also difficult for crypto organizations to integrate with fiat payment systems smoothly.
Using Mercuryo’s BaaS product helps solve this problem, allowing traditional and cryptonative platforms to integrate fiat payment infrastructure and cryptocurrency gateway. In this way, people can freely use fiat and cryptocurrencies to store and transfer their money, make payments when needed.
It’s a big step in bridging the two worlds, and we’re already seeing many of our partners integrate this technology into their platforms. We are eager to see where this will lead, as we believe the development of crypto/fiat banking is going to be one of the most important trends in 2023.”
5. Where do you think the digital payment market will stand in 2023? What will the development be from this point? How does Mercuryo plan to contribute to that?
“I think in 2023 we’ll see a lot more real-world use cases where crypto is used to solve some of the dysfunctions and problems in the traditional fiat world. Using cryptocurrencies for transfers, settlements, cross-border payments – that sort of thing. And to do such use cases possible, we must continue to close the current gap between the fiat and crypto space.
Mercuryo’s goal is to enable crypto companies to have full fiat capability within them. Introducing our BaaS service is one of the steps we’ve taken to streamline and innovate payments by helping traditional fiat and crypto fields come closer.
As a result, people can make international transfers from their IBAN accounts in a crypto app. Or vice versa, they can receive crypto payments and then use these funds via IBAN.
Another example I can bring up in this case is the partnership we recently entered into with MetaMask, one of the leading cryptocurrency wallets out there. This collaboration streamlines the process of acquiring digital assets for MetaMask users. Mercuryo’s solution allows small purchases to be made immediately without spending too much time on ID verification. And it also allows purchases directly in the MetaMask mobile wallet using bank cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and various local payment methods.”
6. We have seen news about various countries grappling with the issue of crypto regulation in the wake of the 2022 turmoil. What is your stance on this matter? How do you see the development of crypto and payment regulation in the future?
“We believe that the more regulatory clarity there can be, the better. Mercuryo has been a regulated company since day one, strictly complying with all relevant laws. One of the trends in 2023 will be that crypto regulation, especially for payments and crypto-fiat exchanges, will gradually grow close to what we already have in electronic money regulation.
Take, for example, securing client funds: it is a common thing for an electronic money institution (EMI) to follow, but crypto companies have yet to match this practice. In turn, it represents a prominent avenue to explore as part of creating legal frameworks and compliance practices for crypto in the future. And we are already seeing steps in this direction, as recent news suggests that the UK will focus on consumer protections with regards to crypto activities.
Along these lines, Mercuryo is in a great place because we are one of the very few crypto companies with an EMI in our group, which will help us. We are absolutely ready to move in a way that follows this line of market development.”