Over the past few years crypto has become mainstream, enabling things never thought possible. This includes its entry into the payments space, which has opened up a wide range of new possibilities for the industry.
Finance Magnates spoke with Petr Kozyakov, Co-Founder and CBDO at Mercuryo.io for his perspective on the evolving landscape and company’s place in it.
How has the crypto payments industry evolved over the past few years?
Alongside the soaring volume of digital transactions, the crypto payment industry has been on the rise.
A few years ago, the idea of paying for anything in crypto sounded unrealistic, yet today cryptocurrency debit cards no longer come as a surprise.
Once major market players such as PayPal have started joining the playing field, the cryptocurrency space has started gaining even more attention from institutional investors.
Crypto payments are finally becoming faster and the infrastructure is expanding, slowly but surely.
On top of that, regulatory measures are getting more straightforward although there is still a long way to go.
I have been observing the formation of cryptocurrency payments, and I can assert that the way the market used to be 2 years ago, when we created Mercuryo.io, is very different from what we can see today.
You can trace this evolution by looking at the development of our business – over the past two years, Mercuryo.io has become one of the leading crypto-fiat gateways in Europe.
As a major European cryptocurrency payment processing provider, we can now boast over 350,000 users and over 150 crypto projects in our portfolio.
Our mission is to make cryptocurrencies more accessible – to bring crypto into daily lives and allow people to handle their crypto transactions casually.
In what ways has Mercuryo.io put itself on the map and differentiated itself from the competition?
Mercuryo.io is focused on providing faster payments, affordable transactions, and accessible service, and we’re succeeding in all three directions.
Our transaction processing speed is outperforming the competition, we offer lower commissions, and our B2B services, including crypto acquiring and crypto widget, are as simple and transparent as they can get.
We offer a variety of services for individuals and businesses alike – from crypto wallets to applications for exchanges and other crypto-related businesses.
Our platform allows clients to operate with a wide number of currencies, both crypto (BTC, ETH, BCH, USDT, etc.) and fiat (EUR, USD, RUB, GBP, etc.), and use them to process payments with ease.
Can You Tell Me about Your Expertise and Role within the Company?
I have been working in the field of online payments and card acquiring for over 10 years now. In this time, I’ve built two IPSPs (Internet Payment Service Providers) almost from scratch.
One of them is the local office of the international company PayU.
In 2016 I also took part in creating one of the largest cross-boarding services for accepting payments in Russia and the CIS.
In Mercuryo.io, my primary responsibility lies with the development of the company. This job has several aspects to it.
On the one side, I lead the development in terms of building new partnerships – with banks, payment providers, international payment systems – and creating new services.
On the other side, there is also the matter of obtaining new licenses and work permits in new jurisdictions. We work on acquiring permissions to work in new areas – not only crypto but fiat payments, as well.
And one more task that falls to me – one of the most important parts, really – is to inspire the team to drive us forward. I hope I am doing a good job in this regard.
Tell me about Mercuryo.io’s volumes, has demand increased in 2020 for crypto payment solutions?
In the last half-a-year, we managed to increase our performance and demonstrated 20x volume growth. Mercuryo.io vastly increased its user base and established a serious B2B presence.
In September, our company closed a €2.5m seed funding led by Target Global – a major international venture capital fund.
As for the plans in other regions, we already expanded our outreach in Europe and Africa and are ready to conquer new markets.
The company is also planning to scale up operations in Latin America, and by the end of Q4 2020, we hope to launch a business in the US market, as well.
What partners have you onboarded and how has this helped drive the company’s growth?
We’ve put a great deal of effort into broadening our partners’ portfolio, as we continued to expand our services. Just this summer alone, we have tripled the number of credible partners.
Now we can boast a number of high-profile companies, such as Binance, TrustWallet, Tozex, Trezor, STEX, Pemex, AAX, Tokens, PointPay, Invity.io, MCX, trusting Mercuryo.io as their fiat-to-crypto processing partner.
Cryptocurrency enterprises like Bitfinex, BitForex, BTC-Alpha, ByBit, and OKEx have integrated with Mercuryo.io, too.
Payments security is a large point of emphasis by users. What steps does Mercuryo.io take to help shore up this issue?
When you provide financial services and don’t want to lose your users’ funds to hackers, you need to pay attention to security protocols.
To give you an example, statistics showed that back in 2019, hackers successfully stole over $283 million worth of crypto by breaching 11 large cryptocurrency exchanges.
As one of Europe’s leading cryptocurrency payment processing providers, we at Mercuryo.io take our security and the safety of our clients very seriously.
We are fully regulated by FCA in the UK and working as a PSD agent in Europe. Our platform complies with PCI DSS international information security standards that dictates strict control measures when storing, transmitting, and processing data.
The same standards are adopted by giants like VISA, MasterCard, AmEx.
Our team offers 100% security against chargebacks and undertakes strict KYC and AML policies, as well as applies anti-fraud measures and handles any related regulatory risks.
Where do you see the industry and demand going in 2021 and beyond?
There’s no doubt that the industry and demand will keep on growing, as cryptocurrencies become mainstream. PayPal and other major “traditional finance” players that express interest in crypto are only further fueling the hype around this space.
And the general public has a reaction of its own, too – Bitcoin-related google searches and the amount of newly registered BTC addresses are higher than ever.
At the same time, since more money is going into the industry, the technology itself is becoming more advanced. And more and more banks are looking into fintech in hopes of improving their performance.
Members of the business scene understand that cryptocurrencies are here to stay for a long time. This means that, by introducing crypto payment options, companies can expand their portfolio of customers.
The biggest question for many businesses now is not whether to integrate crypto-related services into their functionality, but how to choose the right partner to help them with these adjustments.
The way I see it, companies learning how to choose the most secure and reliable service providers in this regard is what will determine how the market will develop going forward.
What Are the Company’s Long-Term Plans for Development and Have the Challenges Seen in 2020 Slowed This Direction?
We are fortunate to say that we have not noticed any negative effects of the 2020’s turbulent events.
Our company is actively growing and developing – we associate this with the fact that we are making a good product that is in demand in the market. We’re launching new functions, and the market welcomes them.
If we talk about the cryptocurrency market in general, the pandemic in a way has even had a positive impact on it.
For example, in the United States, people receiving benefits from the government actively spend part of these funds to buy cryptocurrencies on major exchanges like Coinbase and Square.
There is interesting statistics out there on how the pandemic is affecting the cryptocurrency world.
As for our plans, we did not change them due to the pandemic. In the medium and the long term perspective, we plan to actively develop our fiat payment methods, local payment methods around the world, and launch new products such as bank cards and accounts.
In general, we are moving towards creating a service that allows our partners – various cryptocurrency services, exchanges, wallets – to easily operate with their users and provide them with all the necessary infrastructure so that the interaction between fiat and cryptocurrencies stays absolutely unnoticeable.
This is meant to make everything more straightforward for the user – as if they were simply transferring funds between their accounts in a regular Internet bank.
How do you feel about the bullish trend in Bitcoin, and what are your predictions for the next year?
It is great that Bitcoin is showing such phenomenal growth this year. We can see that it stimulates a fairly large number of users to both buy and sell cryptocurrency.
And it is certainly causing great influence on the market.
But on the other hand – I always say this, and my teammates agree – the cost of bitcoin is not a key indicator of the cryptocurrency market development.
It doesn’t matter if BTC will cost $20,000-50,000 or $1,000-5,000 – we believe that cryptocurrency will continue developing to provide convenient means for cross-border transfers, saving value, transfers to friends and acquaintances, and for everyday payments.
This is pretty much the direction in which major players are moving right now.