The evolving nature of crypto and its functionalities can be a difficult topic to digest. That’s why Pavel Mateev, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex spoke to Payment Expert to help break down Web3 functionalities such as cryptocurrencies, NFTS and the metaverse. 

In the latest edition of SBC Leaders, Mateev also delved into the apprehension of crypto adoption from the general public due to the current climate of the market, and how Wirex is simplifying the fiat-to-crypto process with its Wirex Wallet. 

Payment Expert: Can you tell us more about the challenges involved and the importance of seamlessness when it comes to converting fiat to cryptocurrency? 

Pavel Mateev: Crypto’s stereotype is often that it is difficult to use and inaccessible to the average user. Nevertheless, a seamless user experience is vital in enabling the mass market to take advantage of the benefits of crypto, and integrating various pieces of technology and systems to ensure they are interoperable is key in this. This is also vital in reassuring users that their money is safe.

A common misconception around cryptocurrency is that it’s overly complicated, but that doesn’t need to be the case when it comes to converting fiat to crypto and vice versa, as well as crypto payments.

In terms of payments, users can hold crypto and spend it in their day-to-day life with automatic conversion at point-of-sale, without having to worry about conversion rates or going through the process of manually exchanging crypto themselves.  

PE: How are Wirex helping to standardise the simplicity of handling, exchanging and selling crypto with the Wirex Wallet?

PM: Our core mission is to empower everyone to access the benefits of crypto, and making it simple and easy-to-use is a vital part of that. We believe this wallet is a world-first in making that a mainstream reality. We want to give crypto users access, flexibility and control over their holdings without worrying if their funds are safe, losing their private key, high gas fees or the need to spread their tokens across different apps and platforms.

The Wirex Wallet has already proven popular with hardcore crypto fans as well as mainstream users thanks to its intuitive UX and market-leading security features and technology. 

Part of the simplicity involves improved accessibility, where, uniquely, the app will not require a private key, and instead will rely on biometrics for access. Combining an exceptional user experience with multi-party computation technology ensures resilient security and compliance, rendering complex seed phrases and private keys unnecessary. 

PE: Instances such as the Terra Luna crash may have made people fearful about delving into the crypto space as to it being sporadically erratic. What more can be done to alleviate those fears? 

PM: Trust is more important than ever in the crypto space, where some regulations are still in their infancy. It is unfortunate that the Terra Luna crash took place, as it has unfairly given a bad name for much of the rest of the crypto industry in the media. 

Unfortunately, Terra was not transparent over their holdings and reserves, and ultimately did not protect their investors. Terra Luna’s demise was a result of the tokens not being backed by collateral, which shows the importance of collateralization.

What this shows is that education is key, meaning that consumers need to do their research to ensure that the crypto company that they are working with, or giving their money to, is safe, secure and trustworthy.

If users have concerns about volatility, then stablecoins are a great option and thought to be the future of the digital economy, since they uphold all of crypto’s other benefits such as cheaper costs and faster transaction speeds, whilst removing the volatility factor. 

PE: Why is the recently announced NFT function to the Wirex Wallet so important and what does the evolution of NFTs look like inside the metaverse? 

PM: It’s our core goal to enable everyone to have straightforward access to the benefits of blockchain technology, which includes NFTs, and Wirex are taking this one step further.

Wirex Wallet holders can now store and hold NFTs on multiple blockchains purchased on popular marketplaces such as OpenSea within the Wallet. This feature will allow users to hold all their blockchain-based assets in one place for the ultimate convenience. 

With the growth of the metaverse, Wirex have been developing their product to create a metaverse-ready product that sits at the forefront of the DeFi 2.0 era. As such, the addition of NFTs to the Wallet will connect NFTs to the real world and give added layers of security and trust like never before to them.

Many argue that NFTs and their technology will play a vital role in the metaverse by offering certificates of ownership. Governed by smart contracts, NFT technology represents a sea of possibilities, most notably the ability to ‘copyright’ a user’s work, allowing the creator to decide the owner of the file. This will be pivotal in transferring goods within a virtual universe.

PE: For those uninitiated with the metaverse. What would be the benefits and risks in buying real estate within the metaverse?

PM: Just like NFTs, the hype of the metaverse and blockchain-based assets has the potential to gain considerable value, particularly if you invest early. Nevertheless, with all investments, there’s no guarantee the price will rise, meaning you have the potential to lose a lot of money. 

Another reason and benefit of buying real estate in the metaverse is that it would be a safe place to purchase and call ‘home’ in the virtual world. For users that believe that the metaverse is the future, this will be vital in ensuring you can participate in this new world. 

Although this sounds easy, there are a lot of considerations and additional applications/tools needed in order to make the purchase, which may not be easily accessible to everyone. Since buying real estate utilises smart contracts and NFT transfer, users will need a non-custodial wallet to do so, as well as the ability to own and spend cryptocurrencies to make the purchase. 

PE: Will the growth of the metaverse serve to elevate the role of digital wallets within the payment ecosystem? 

PM: Many question exactly what the metaverse will consist of, with the term being a catch-all for many interpretations. Nevertheless, a popular definition is that it will be an augmented reality linking the physical and digital worlds, as well as a digital economy within the web 3.0, where people can buy, exchange and sell digital goods online. Effectively, digital and real worlds interact and there can be parallel worlds for people to exist in simultaneously.

Therefore, the digital economy will play an important role in the metaverse, and non-custodial wallets will be an important place to store your personal information and possessions within the metaverse, which can be connected to Dapps all around the ecosystem.

PE: Finally, do you envision a world where cryptocurrencies will A: make major card networks adjust to them, and B: become a dominant form of currency, potentially overtaking fiat currency

PM: We have for long believed in the potential of the digital economy, and truly believe it will overtake traditional financial institutions that are outdated. There are huge benefits to using cryptocurrency, particularly stablecoins, in order to stay ahead of trends and compete in the fintech industry. Both countries and businesses will need to adapt to utilising crypto. 

We’ve already seen major card networks like Mastercard and Visa make steps to both integrate the technology, and support other companies in doing so, so it’s likely that as regulations adapt, businesses and consumers will have more confidence to operate in the space.

Payment innovation and Cryptocurrency will be one of many key aspects of this year’s SBC Summit Barcelona 2022, which takes place at Fira Barcelona Montjuïc on 20-22 September.

This will see 6,000 delegates enjoy a 12-track conference covering all aspects of the international sports betting, payments and online casino industries, an exhibition with 200 companies showcasing their latest innovations, and a programme of spectacular evening networking events. Visit the SBC Summit Barcelona website to book your All Access Pass.