Interview with CEO of Crypterium, Steven Parker
Crypterium — Your Money, Your Way.
Steven Parker, we know that you were General Manager at Visa and led a team that helped to introduce contactless payments across Central & Eastern Europe. Can you give us a quick introduction to your background? How did you get where you are today?
I have spent most of my life around consumer financial services, internationally, from Scotland through to the Solomon Islands. My passion has always been around customer focus — whether through analytics to better understand clients or to design competitive value propositions, specially adapted for the new mobile and digital channels.
Through the years I have worked in many areas from strategy to marketing to general management. I first got involved with payments and innovation at Visa. At the time, I was responsible for introducing contactless technology payments (NFC) across Central & Eastern Europe. That was a huge step for the payments industry. No less challenging is my job at Crypterium. As CEO of this leading fintech company, I’ve committed to pushing through disruption in payments, one that could potentially benefit millions of people around the globe.
Who or what motivated you to join the cryptocurrency world?
I have always been intrigued by the way new technologies can be used to support customer’s financial services and money management needs. The appearance of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology — blockchain — has opened the doors to more transparent, affordable and efficient financial solutions.
As a former banker myself, I’ve realised that these technologies could free customers from the very inflexible and costly services provided by banks and traditional financial institutions. I am fascinated by that and the endless possibilities ahead. By joining Crypterium, I have a chance to be part of this revolution in financial services.
Crypterium is building a mobile app that turns your coins and tokens into money that you can spend with the same ease as cash. Tell us more about the project. What are the company’s core values, and why?
One thing I really like about Crypterium is the goal: ‘your money, your way’. Four words that summarize the company’s purpose: providing customers with financial freedom. Not long ago, people were still wondering what they could or couldn’t buy with Bitcoin. Those days are now gone.
With solutions like Crypterium, everyone can spend cryptocurrencies with the same ease as with a dollar or euro — either by using a crypto debit card, such as the Crypterium Card, or relying on the app to pay bills and taxes “on the go”. The best thing is that cryptocurrencies, unlike fiat currencies, are truly borderless, meaning you can send your friends or family funds instantly, without any fees. Which bank or remittance service can offer that? None.
Another great thing about Crypterium is the way that we engage with customers. We see them as our ‘community’ and we work actively with them to shape our services. A recent example is a survey we’ve conducted on what digital currencies they’d like us to list first. We also host live streams with top managers, including myself. This idea of ‘community’ is important and makes us ‘your money’ as opposed to, say, the bank’s money.
What unseen opportunities did you see that may result in making Crypterium a huge success?
We’re seeing an increasing number of crypto-based financial services. However, most of them are localized. I think this is precisely where Crypterium has its biggest opportunity. Unlike other solutions in the market, Crypterium offers services globally. Our soon-to-be-launched Crypterium Card is proof of that. A UnionPay crypto debit card that can be issued not just to US or UK residents, but to anyone in the world.
How have others attempted to solve this problem before, and why did their solutions succeed or fail? How you solve the problem?
This ‘space’ is very new and we see only a handful of players trying to provide such a proposition to customers. Let’s take a look at the big crypto exchanges like Coinbase stepping into crypto cards with Coinbase card as an example. Coinbase serves millions of customers worldwide. However, the card is only available in the UK. Crypterium has a global DNA and we make sure it goes into each and every new service we put out into the market — from the Crypterium Wallet to the Crypterium Card to crypto-backed C-LEVER Loans (also part of the Crypterium Family).
Recently Crypterium launched the Crypterium SX — a powerful AI-based system. Tell us more about that. How Crypterium SX works?
To date, there are over 250 cryptocurrency exchanges out there. So how do you find the best exchange rate for your transactions? Before, you had to manually monitor different exchanges until you found one that offers a better deal, register and only then perform the trade. In other words, it was time-consuming and inefficient.
As new crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat services are added to the Crypterium App, it is crucial to ensure that our customers always get the best rates available. To accomplish this, our team came up with Crypterium SX — a bid-offer matching engine powered by artificial intelligence that monitors rates across the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges.
Our algorithms analyze order books of these exchanges, in real time, measuring the potential impact of each order in the market, and then selecting the optimal alternative.
We have already integrated Kraken, Binance and other major players. But we’re planning to add new exchanges in the near future so that we guarantee an even wider choice in finding the best rates.
Today, some people don’t bother carrying cash with them because they can use their cards. Launching the first global crypto card is a top priority for Crypterium right now, right? Can you provide a demonstration of the product?
In Sweden, only 13 percent of the population have used paper money in 2018. Meanwhile, in Brazil, nearly half of the country continues to get paid in cash. While it’s difficult to speak for all of us, I believe we’re all moving to a cashless economy, sooner or later. The Crypterium Card is a ‘go-to’ choice for digital currency holders as it enables them to spend with unprecedented ease, bridging crypto and traditional economies.
We have received over 10,000 pre-orders for the Crypterium Card and we haven’t even advertised it yet. I think we’re definitely on the right track.
The card is linked to the Crypterium App, meaning you can manage it ‘on the go’. You can top it up using any of your balances (Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin), block/unblock, change the PIN code, contact our 24/7 support team and track your expenses. All done from one single place.
What are your views on customer experience? What will be the customer experience of your global crypto card?
Customer experience is absolutely critical in the digital world. And Crypterium is fully aware of it. We have recently redesigned our entire app to make it more attractive and intuitive. Our support team is constantly reporting on customer feedback to find new ways to improve our service. Moreover, we educate our customers and keep them fully updated on our progress and initiatives through our blog and social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram).
As we launch the card, these type of interactions supporting the card will be highly important. The fact that our crypto card is integrated into the Crypterium App and all services within it guarantees a seamless customer experience. That goes along with fast transactions, clear updates on spending, state-of-the-art security and a 24/7 support center.
Crypterium payment solutions are powered by CRPT tokens. Tell us about the CRPT. What makes CRPT stand out from other coins or tokens?
CRPT token is the primary mean of payment for fees of Crypterium services. Just as a machine operates on fuel, Crypterium payment solutions are powered by CRPT tokens. Every time someone makes a crypto-fiat payment, a fee equal to 0.5% of the value in CRPT is deduced from the user’s account and burned. The process is regulated by the CRPT Smart Contract, so there are no exceptions: with each transaction the number of tokens in circulation does down. But don’t worry: it’s practically impossible to burn all the tokens. The rising demand for tokens boosts their price thereby reducing the amount burned in each transaction.
Who are your partners and who would you like to partner with in the future?
For companies like ours, aiming to provide global services, strategic partnerships play a major role in overall success. In this regard, Rafael Carrascosa, our VP of Global Partnerships, is doing a great job to ensure Crypterium engages in deals with market leaders all across the world. Why build something from scratch if others already have something of high quality? At the moment, we have partners that support our wallet and card infrastructure, as well for a number of our pay-in and pay-out functionalities.
Looking at the future, we’re really paying a lot of attention to emerging markets, like South America and Asia for user acquisition. Along these lines, COO Austin Kimm has recently signed an agreement with BitPax, a subsidiary of the South Korean blockchain giant PaxNet, focused on the sustainable development of multiple cryptocurrency services in the Asian region.
What milestones has the company achieved and what are the future plans?
Crypterium completed one of the most successful ICOs in history, raising over $51 million. Since we’ve launched the Crypterium App, we’ve amassed more than half a million active users. In terms of services available, we have enabled crypto transfers by mobile phone, crypto withdrawals to private or corporate bank accounts, instant mobile top-ups, exchanges powered by Crypterium SX, and last but not least, the Crypterium Card. We’ve also launched our crypto-backed loans (C-LEVER). As for future product launches, our users can expect to withdraw their digital assets to any MasterCard in the world, instantly, access a crypto savings account, use packaged investment portfolios and more.
Thank you for your time — any final words?
I am really happy to be working in an innovative start-up, such as Crypterium, that is using the latest technologies to empower customers around the world, giving them the ability to manage their own money in exciting, friction-less and low-cost ways.