Wirex @ Slush Singapore: 5 top questions from the audience
It’s not hard to see how Singapore gained its reputation as one of the world’s friendliest places for startups. Annual events like Slush Singapore, which originally hails from Helsinki, Finland, connects startups with investors, executives and the media. We at Wirex are happy to be part of the fun!
We opened an exhibition booth at Slush Singapore 2017 and as pretty much the only crypto service provider there, we naturally received a lot of attention… and questions.
Here are some of the best ones we received, for those of you who missed the event:
What is Wirex doing in Slush Singapore?
A couple of things. Firstly, we wanted to show off our products and services — a blockchain personal finance platform with a Visa-backed crypto debit card — to the tech audience. The Slush Singapore audience was perfect for this. It was awesome meeting people who are already using Wirex in the crowd, thanks for saying hello!
Secondly, we wanted to generate some interest from VC investors for our next round of fundraising, scheduled to take place in the near future, which brings us to…
Why does Wirex raise funding through VC firms?
It is important for us to not just raise funds, but also to gain connections and make synergistic collaborations. We raised $3 million from SBI Holdings in Japan in early 2017, and this partnership has proved to be extremely successful.
We are a profit-making company and work with traditional financial services institutions, regulatory bodies, and blockchain focussed service providers. Both crypto and conventional money services providers are important to us. We work with whoever makes our business more effective and flexible for our customers.
What exactly does Wirex do?
This was probably the most popular question amongst the crowd. Slush Singapore was a tech event, not a fintech or a crypto event. As such, we received curious enquiries from all types of people in tech and non-tech backgrounds — virtual/augmented reality, e-commerce platforms, among others.
In a nutshell, we help people spend bitcoin and cryptocurrencies using VISA debit cards. Our data shows that while bitcoin adoption is increasing, the number of merchants accepting it is improving at a slower rate. Here’s a longer writeup from Business Insider about this issue.
When people do want to spend their cryptocurrencies (because we all need to buy food and drinks), the process is typically long and usually takes a few days. So we tell customers, why not get a Wirex card? You can convert any amount of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into USD, EUR or GBP at any time you want, and the money will appear in your card instantly.
Here’s a short video showing what we do. I arrived in Singapore with less than SGD 20 in my pocket because I could withdraw the money using a Wirex card at any ATMs in Singapore. This saved me a trip to the money exchange.
What else is Wirex planning to do?
A lot! We have a big market in Japan, so a Japanese Yen card is coming up. Bitcoiners in Japan have it good — they have so much support from the government, cryptocurrency being accepted as an official payment form and all!
We’re also working to add on native Ether, Litecoin and Ripple wallets in the Wirex platform. We already accept them (and many other cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Monero etc) but demands from you guys are unwavering and we want to keep you happy.
Oh, and we plan to expand to more markets. Watch out for our announcements.
Who is the point-of-contact for Wirex in Singapore?
We have Associate Partners all over the world, and you can get in touch with any of them (as Wirex is a global company). But for Singapore, you can get in touch with Peter Sin Guili and Caleb Yap — leave a message on our contact page and we’ll connect you with them. They’re behind the Singapore Bitcoin Club, and specialise in bitcoin trading using technical analysis.
In fact, they did a mini-session during Slush Singapore, much to the joy of trading enthusiasts around.
We enjoyed participating in Slush Singapore. There were so many brilliant startup founders, all trying to make their mark in the world. While we didn’t get the chance to hear your pitches (saluting you guys who were part of the 2-min rapid-fire round!), know that we sent you love and well-wishes. We hope to see you again next year :)