C.Pay Talks: Q&A with CFO, Alexey Sidorov
What prior experience did you have before Cryptopay?
I graduated from university with two degrees — one in Automated Information Processing and the other in Business Economics, so during my first post-graduate years I was deciding which way to go in my professional career and began trying different roles in several small businesses. One of them was 3D prototyping which was truly an innovative and emerging technology at that time — ever since then I’ve always gravitated towards cutting edge ideas that bring something new to our world.
My next big step was joining assurance and advisory practices in one of the Big4 companies — there I spent nearly a decade participating in multiple projects for various industries ranging from small family businesses to large multinational IT, transport, and oil & gas companies. The insight I obtained on how different businesses operate as well the experience of performing performing top-quality work that supports key decision making processes has proved to be invaluable to this day.
How do you feel working in an emerging fintech company? It might be totally different from your previous experience in a global transcontinental network, isn’t it?
Being part of Cryptopay is as much alike and different than my previous work. The similar bit is the people — our company recognises staff as its main value and gives great attention to gathering enthusiastic and talented people who share the same passion for the development of innovative products. The diversity of issues and decisions that are made everyday is obviously broader than everywhere I was previously — Cryptopay emerges very fast and the professional environment here is very demanding.
When did you first get interested in cryptocurrencies?
I think it was in 2013 when Bitcoin began its rally and came into public eye. Back then, I remember discussing with colleagues and friends on if Bitcoin had any underlying value and if it was the 21st century alternative to gold. I bought some Bitcoins, and I could have never imagined it would have reached the popularity level that it’s at now, and what’s more, I never even thought that I’d end up working at a fintech company that deals with cryptocurrencies!
Please describe Cryptopay’s current financial position — was the downturn of card programme crucial for the business?
Nowadays, many fintech startups go through an extended research and development phase with significant initial rounds of investment being attracted and spent for set-up of the business. Cryptopay on the other hand, has been operating in a significantly different manner since its inception. Mainly because initial investments were quite small and the company started gaining money to support its everyday business operations very early. This is why our financial situation is solid at the moment and we don’t have any solvency or liquidity issues — the company remains profitable even with the absence of one of its main products.
The January 2018 cessation of the card programme was definitely unlucky and unfortunate, but when it happened we already had sustainable income from our other services and we’ve had enough funds to support all current developments. When the card programme comes back the company will have more funds to invest in new, exciting products with innovative developments that have the potential for great upside.
How much does cryptocurrencies’ volatility have an effect on Cryptopay and similar services?
Well Cryptopay and similar services are tightly dependent on the behaviour of the cryptocurrency market, but there is no linear correlation between them. Yes, we definitely benefit from the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies and it’s obvious that an increased interest is thanks to their volatility. Having said that, we have seen various reactions from our customers to different significant cryptocurrency market developments — in some cases significant volatility resulted in a decrease of revenue in comparison to months when the rates were relatively stable.
It’s important to understand that Cryptopay’s business model implies holding cryptocurrencies in the amount that is exactly the same as the liabilities we bear to our customers — we don’t have any positions in cryptocurrencies and hence we aren’t susceptible to the risks that comes with the exchange rate.
What else remains to be done to cement cryptocurrencies as a part of the financial world as a whole?
I think the biggest feature here is transparent regulation — cryptocurrencies are still in a legal grey area in many places and this prevents them from being recognised by the community at large and in turn the global financial system. I believe that once cryptocurrencies have achieved legal status in major countries (which is really not that far away) we will see a giant leap towards a unified financial sphere where Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be an integral part like EUR or USD.