Coinbase recently made its debut on Nasdaq. Valued at $75.9bn, (more than oil giant BP), it was the first listing of a major cryptocurrency exchange, and a big step towards the industry’s mainstream validation. However, despite this incredible achievement and unprecedented levels of interest, Crypto has some way to go before it enjoys mass adoption.
Crypto platforms are too slow, the fees too high, onboarding and usage too complex, and mostly, you have to cede custody of your coins in return for ease of use.
If crypto is to win, it must do better.
Co-Founder and CIO of the Divi project, Nick Saponaro, is an entrepreneur, crypto enthusiast, and keynote speaker who is on a mission to make cryptocurrencies easy to use and drive its mainstream adoption. His company will shortly launch its ground-breaking mobile smart wallet that will make crypto payments & earning with crypto easy and accessible for everyone.
What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?
The fintech industry is booming because it has done a superb job of creating user experiences that fit the way people use technology. Because of this, platforms from comparison sites to online banking, and personal finance tools have enjoyed mainstream adoption.
The same cannot be said of the crypto sector where complexity continues to hamper progress. At Divi we have taken inspiration from world-class design principles from across the biggest industries and integrated them into our products to ensure we deliver a user experience and interface that anyone can use, no matter their level of technical expertise.
How has this changed over the past few years?
The changes have been immense. Especially when you consider the relative age of the industry. The Bitcoin network made its debut in 2009 but you could argue that the industry didn’t really get off the ground until relatively recently as the underlying blockchain technology began to mature and real-world use cases began to expand.
But the dream of creating a new paradigm for financial services. One that is truly decentralized and works for everyone according to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision, has continued to elude the industry.
By removing barriers to entry, innovating new frictionless technologies, and delivering use cases for the developed and developing world, we are helping people across the globe to engage in this new economy and achieve financial freedom and inclusion.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?
Our team spans a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and philosophies, but we all share a common goal; to bring accessible, easy-to-use financial services to everyone, everywhere. It doesn’t click for everyone right away but once they understand that goal, it’s almost as if nothing else matters. We are an incredibly dedicated team and we work nearly around the clock to achieve this dream.
What fintech ideas have been implemented?
If you want people to use your tech, you can’t expect them to change their behaviour to fit your way of working. You must adapt, so the experience fits their lifestyle.
For example, every non-custodial wallet on the market forces the user to go through an extensive and complex set up process. Backing up long seed phrases, warning them that they are at risk of losing everything if they don’t keep track of said phrase, and leaving them with nothing more than an empty screen at the end.
We offer users the ability to set up a username, avatar, and name their account. They can even connect their phone number and email address. Once they’re in the application, they can easily send and receive using any of the above.
In addition, we help them secure their account and backup the necessary info in a way that guides them rather than forces. This example is one of many user experience improvements we’re making over current technology and all remains decentralized.
What benefits have these brought?
Everyone says, “it should be so easy you’re grandma can do it.” We are achieving that. We are onboarding individuals from ages 8 to 80 with little-to-no direction. That’s what adaptation looks like and is a result of intuitive, world-class UX design.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
The road to mass adoption is fraught with challenges. Regulation is necessary but it mustn’t be so stringent so as to put a stranglehold on the benefits that crypto could help usher in.
There are those in traditional finance that see the crypto industry as a threat and will look to hold back our advance into the mainstream. This reality is beginning to shift, however, especially as sentiment changes from both the retail and governmental perspectives. New lobbyist foundations are being built out to support cryptocurrency as well. In my opinion, we must find a way to rub along nicely together, so that people can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Can these challenges be aided by fintech?
I’d say they already are. A consortium of crypto businesses have banded together to develop a lobbyist movement already. I also believe the further decentralization of finance will enable more individuals to take control of their financial lives, which will drive the desire to shift regulations in the right direction.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain payment technologies can make an incredibly positive contribution to both developed and developing economies. We are already seeing this impact through our work with international projects that are using the DIVI coin to help local communities to gain access to clothing, food, and transportation.
The more we can learn from fintech, the greater our potential to bring people with us and create a financial ecosystem that makes everyones’ lives better.