Interview

PumaPay CEO: ‘BTC Is a Good Proof of Concept,’ But Not a Payment Solution

Yoav Dror speaks on how he hopes Pumapay will disrupt the payments industry.

This is an excerpt. To hear the full interview, please click the Soundcloud or Youtube links.

It can be argued that blockchain technology is so inaccessible to the general public because of its context: ever since Bitcoin moved away from its association with deep web networks like Silk Road, we most often hear about cryptocurrency in association with major financial institutions and governments.

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Yoav Dror, CEO of PumaPay, agrees. In a recent interview with Finance Magnates, Yoav said that most people see payment protocols as “something very dull, very grey.”

“But actually,” he said, “[PumaPay] is pretty sexy.”


 

The company finalized its ICO in May of this year, raking in $117 million and earning a position as the 7th-largest ICO in history.

What is Pumapay, Exactly?

“We see ourselves as the hub between the real world and the cryptocurrency holders,” Yoav explained. “Currently, it’s two different worlds: people who own Bitcoin and Ether and other types of cryptocurrency, they don’t have a lot they can do. They are pretty much stuck with it.”

“[We] will allow any crypto holder to use their cryptocurrencies by converting them to PMA first, and to use it to consume real services and products in the real world, not only online but also offline.”

“It’s not science fiction,” he said. “It’s all going to happen.”

Yoav explained that like many blockchain firms, PumaPay is hoping to improve upon the largest and most well-known crypto payment systems. “If we look at the Bitcoin network, there are some inherent disadvantages that prevent it from being a payment solution,” he said. “For example, it takes [a minimum] of ten minutes to approve a transaction.” Additionally, “transactions [on the Bitcoin network] are very expensive.”

“The way I see it,” he continued, “Bitcoin is a proof-of-concept for blockchain technology, and as such, I think it’s pretty successful.” Despite this, Bitcoin and many other blockchain networks are not very suited for the kinds of payments and transactions that we make in our everyday lives.

Push-Me-Pull-You: Pumapay Makes it Possible for Merchants to ‘Pull’ Payments Based on Pre-Defined Terms

“What makes PumaPay different from other blockchain solutions is that we invert the mechanics of crypto transaction,” said Yoav. He explained that in blockchain networks other than PumaPay, transactions could only be “pushed”; that is, they can only be voluntarily sent by wallet holders to merchants. They can’t be “pulled” by (for example) a monthly subscription or a utility company.

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Yoav said that PumaPay’s smart contract architecture makes it possible for merchants to “hook” onto users’ wallets. “Subject to pre-defined terms that are approved by the customer, we allow merchants to pull funds from your wallet,” he explained.

Yoav believes that PumaPay will enable “a lot of payment types that are very common in our daily lives,” but “are currently impossible to do on the blockchain.”

“If you want to subscribe to a magazine with crypto, you simply cannot do that, because they want to charge you every month. You have to go there every month and you have to pay for the coming month. With PumaPay, we allow the merchant to present you with the plan, like 12 monthly payments every thirty days for $5.95, and once they approve this, there will be a recurring payment.”

Pumapay is Already Being Used by IMLive–But the ‘Pull’ Payments Architecture is Still in Development

“Our launch partner, ImLive, has already integrated with the protocol, and today anyone can go to ImLive use PMA tokens to pay on that platform,” he said. However, payments can only be made with the “primitive push method.”

“We are still currently developing the entire architecture and the associated products to allow recurring payments and other types of payments,” he said. “We are scheduled to deliver the next version of our protocol during the next quarter. This will allow recurring payments over the Ethereum blockchain,” he explained.

However, Ethereum isn’t a permanent solution for PumaPay. “We think that Ethereum is a good Proof-of-Concept, but it’s not good enough scale-wise or speed-wise for what we plan to do,” Yoav said that the firm is reviewing several other blockchain networks that the PumaPay protocol could eventually migrate to.

“We created a final amount of tokens–just a little bit over 78 billion tokens–all the presale investors and contributors have already received their tokens. There are no plans to burn tokens,” he added. “Everything we minted will eventually be in circulation.” PMA tokens are not currently listed on any exchanges, but Yoav is hopeful that “we will get listed on major exchanges very, very soon.”

An Ambitious Roadmap–Will Pumapay Deliver?

It’s already possible to integrate the Pumapay protocol as it exists today (without the ‘pull’ protocol) into existing businesses. “We already have on our Github some tutorials on how to integrate.” He said that PumaPay would continue to release more options for integration over the coming months.

“The protocol itself is very flexible. We allow anyone to create their own transactions based on their business logic.”

“It’s not just recurring payments,” he said. “You can also do payments that are based on usage or time. We support shared payments and split payments,” he added, saying that this could make PumaPay a good option for affiliate marketing.”

“I see PumaPay as a very well-accepted alternative payment method” for online and offline merchants. “Especially for high-risk [industries].”

“For me, coming from a high-risk industry, I know the pains of high-risk merchants, and I know what we have to deal with in order to process payments,” said Yoav, referring to his time  I know the amounts we have to invest in coupons and minimizing risks, and the fines that are associated with chargebacks and the chargebacks themselves.”

“All this will go away with PumaPay,” he said. “PumaPay combines the advantages of blockchain technology with the flexibility and scalability of credit cards…I really see PumaPay as a very good solution for any online high-risk merchant.”

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