CPay Talks: Q&A With Card Programme Director, Velin Vlasev
What brought you to Cryptopay?
Several factors came together:
Cryptopay was a client whose implementation I managed in my previous company. I had worked with Dmitry (CEO & Co-founder) since early 2015 and I was aware he was very professional and easy to work with. I knew about Cryptopay’s business model as well, so when Dmitry called, it wasn’t a tough decision at all.
Furthermore, for the majority of the last 10 years, I have mostly managed projects related to e-banking, bill payment systems, card scheme approvals and card approvals — i.e. in the sphere of traditional e-payments services supported by banks. I decided it is time to join the world of blockchain and digital assets and that Cryptopay is a great place to do this.
When did you first become interested in cryptocurrencies?
Around 2015, when the first crypto-related clients started signing deals with the company I previously worked for.
Why do a lot of bitcoin card providers refer to themselves as prepaid card providers and not debit card providers?
First of all, let’s dispel the myth of the “bitcoin card.” If it would be a Scheme Card (e.g. Visa), then the card may only be denominated in fiat currency.
To answer the question — companies are saying “prepaid card providers,” because the card program behind is of the “prepaid” type. There is no real bank account behind the card. A “debit” program would mean the card is linked to your banking account.
What does it mean when Cryptopay has their “own card program?”
It means that Cryptopay will have full control over all program components and parameters directly: things like fees, limits, card features, card design and not least importantly: card deliveries. We have our own direct contracts in place with all these vendors and can be fully flexible and negotiate our own conditions.
What goes into getting a card like Cryptopay’s fully operational, and when are the cards coming back?
Launching a new card program requires setting up many components, like compliance, processing, card manufacturing and deliveries, front end. We know what we have to do.
As for the cards coming back, we have achieved significant progress with sampling our new card design with two top-of-the-line card manufacturers. We have signed a contract with the market leader in world logistics. We also have a contract and working integration with our processor. Our program application form is with the card scheme, so we are getting there.
Why do you think major providers have such an issue with having their cards integrated with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? Pointing to when MasterCard ceased doing business with any crypto related services, or when VISA stopped all operations with WaveCrest Solutions.
Visa and MasterCard refused to speak about crypto for years. There were no official guidelines as to how these programs should be structured. The irony is, a lot of these businesses were operating in a way that would be compliant today and had built excellent verification and monitoring tools and internal anti-money laundering procedures, one perfect example being Cryptopay.
I have no information what exactly happened between Visa and WaveCrest end of 2017, beginning of 2018, but if WaveCrest could have explained to Visa how these programs were running, we probably would not have seen the mass closure.
Both schemes have however recently clarified their position and this should go long way to allowing such card programs to be approved officially and not be in the fear of being closed down any moment. There are official rules around crypto-programs now. I think the whole industry, businesses, users and crypto as whole can gain from this moment.
There you have it, this is the first in a series of interviews with our team, stay tuned and expect another interview in the immediate future! Our next interview will be with our CFO, Alexey Sidorov.