The payment tech industry is growing and one of the main player in my opinion is Wirex. My name is Jenny Zheng, Cofounder of Blockcast.cc. We are based in Singapore and have presence in South Korea, China and the USA. This afternoon, I have the chance to speak to the man himself, CEO of Wirex, Pavel Matveev. We have brought Anndy Lian into the house as well for this interview. He is an inter-governmental blockchain advisor, book author for “Blockchain Revolution 2030”, investor and recently took on the role as Asia CEO of DECENT Group, previously he founded the world first blockchain supply chain solutions for fast consumer goods. He will be the one posting the questions to Pavel and facilitate this discussion.
Jenny: Dear Pavel, good to meet you. Can you give an introduction of yourself?
Pavel: Hi Jenny, thank you for the interview. Hi Anndy, thanks for being here as well despite your busy schedule.
My name is Pavel Matveev. I am the co-founder and CEO of Wirex. As well as ensuring that the company is constantly pushing the boundaries of payment tech, I believe that my role includes facilitating and evangelising the mainstream adoption of distributed ledger technology across a number of industries.
Jenny: Our readers would like to know more about you, your past and current experiences or even your hobbies too. Can you share that as well?
Pavel: Sure. Before Wirex, I helped top-tier investment banks like Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse build trading platforms and algo-trading strategies. During this time, I recognised that the cost and inconvenience of off-boarding digital currencies was an impediment to their use by both consumers and businesses, despite the latent potential in a tokenised economy. Dmitry Lazarichev and I founded Wirex to solve some of these problems and allow people to use their cryptocurrencies in everyday situations.
In my free time, I like to swim, ski and play video games. Not all at the same time!
Anndy: Impressive background. Tell us more about Wirex. We would like to know more on the progress and the future roadmap. For your information, Blockcast.cc did the PR work for OKEX during your IEO stages for the South Korea market. I was in South Korea during that period of time and we know so much about your company. How was the last 12 months for WireX?
Pavel: It’s an exciting time at Wirex and we’ve recently hit some major milestones. Over the last 12 months, we have partnered with Stellar — preparing 26 fiat-backed stable coins to revolutionise international remittance.
The Wirex Token (WXT) — our own native utility token, built on the Stellar network was also released. We then launched our next-gen, multi-currency Wirex Visa travel card in APAC.
We went on with our development work and have completely overhauled and re-designed the Wirex platform and card in early 2019, including the introduction of interbank and OTC rates for fiat and crypto exchanges respectively.
Lastly, we have received JVCEA Type II membership in Japan.
Anndy: You must have great plans ahead after obtaining the Type II membership, maybe Type I? What geographical expansion plans do you have right now?
Pavel: In terms of geographical expansion, we will begin operating in Japan, Canada and the U.S this year. We’re currently 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.
Anndy: One reason why I stepped up to be part of a government advisor for blockchain is that I do see that there are a lot of scams in the market and it is not getting any better, depending on how you see it. Of course in my line of work, I do see many companies trying their best to navigate this unregulated space to get the best-commercialised value for their business. How do you see the blockchain and cryptocurrency market in general?
Pavel: Blockchains first use was for the movement of money, e.g. — cryptocurrency or digital currencies. I believe digital currencies are the biggest thing to happen to the financial sector since the Bretton Woods agreement. Not only do they allow for a system of money that sits outside the authority and oversight of central banks and governments but they also enable businesses and consumers to circumvent conventional financial infrastructure.
Legacy banking rails are slow and expensive; cryptocurrencies allow for near-instant transactions at a fraction of the cost, with none of the fees associated with Mastercard and Visa payment infrastructures. Even cryptos market volatility can be mitigated through the use of asset-pegged stable coins such as Dai.
I certainly wouldn’t agree that it is ‘not getting any better.’ The introduction of the 5th Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) means measures are being taken to prevent digital assets being utilised for ransomware purpose. Generally, procedures in line with the regulatory requirements of the traditional financial service sector are being implemented across the industry — an important step in a previously unregulated space.
Anndy: How do you see the term decentralisation in the blockchain space? Do you think it is feasible? Or is there a need to “re-decentralise” it, giving a new meaning.
Pavel: It is feasible. In 2019, we’ve seen a lot of existing and new DeFi (decentralised finance) projects get traction and create real value for real users. Notable examples include MakerDAO launching its multi-collateral DAI upgrade. We expect this trend to continue and are keen on supporting and cooperating with the best projects in the space.
Anndy: What is the future of blockchain? How do you visualise it? Where are the breakthroughs?
Pavel: The future of blockchain is bright, as highlighted above. I believe it has positively changed the world and there are more industries it will have an impact on.
Whether blockchain will become mainstream is a question of when, not if. Cryptocurrencies and stable coins are already revolutionising payments, lending and other areas of finance. Blockchain overall holds huge potential in other areas, too — decentralised data storage, smart contracts and so on.
The overall quality of projects in the space is consistently improving. Real-life use cases beyond investment and trading are increasing and creating real value — this trend will continue.
Jenny: We have reached the end of the interview Pavel. Can you share an inspiring quote for our readers?
Pavel: A quote I admire from another giant in the tech space is:
“Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.”
– Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Jenny: Yes innovation is the key to the technology industry. Thank for your time Pavel and thanks Anndy for being here with us today.
For more information about Wirex, please go to www.wirexapp.com. You will discover a new way to pay, giving you total control of your crypto and traditional currency, wherever you are in the world.