摘要： Speaking with PYMNTS, Zeeshan Feroz, chief growth officer at MoonPay, explained that lowering the barriers to entry for businesses interested in crypto business models must go beyond providing infrastructure to support the buying, selling and storage of digital currencies. Taking a compliance-centric approach to servicing these firms, and supporting their growth through banking services, results in a more holistic offering that can help the cryptocurrency ecosystem proliferate — compliantly.
Regulation remains one of the biggest barriers to entry for businesses interested in developing and launching their own cryptocurrency-related solutions.
Whether those tools are platforms that enable consumers to buy crypto, or to accept bitcoin in accounts receivable (AR) departments, embracing the myriad use cases of digital currency can be difficult considering the compliance requirements that these business models require.
What's more, those requirements have also created additional barriers for these businesses to get banked, with financial institutions (FIs) wary of providing services to crypto firms due to those compliance risks.
Speaking with PYMNTS, Zeeshan Feroz, chief growth officer at MoonPay, explained that lowering the barriers to entry for businesses interested in crypto business models must go beyond providing infrastructure to support the buying, selling and storage of digital currencies. Taking a compliance-centric approach to servicing these firms, and supporting their growth through banking services, results in a more holistic offering that can help the cryptocurrency ecosystem proliferate — compliantly.
A Box of Infrastructure
Navigating the complex, and often changing, regulatory requirements of operating with cryptocurrency is not only a challenge, but can also be an expensive endeavor — especially for a startup with an interesting use case for crypto in mind.
"The challenge that any business in crypto faces today is that a lot of times, they have an idea they would like to build something — whether it's an ecosystem or a protocol, whatever it may be," said Feroz. "But before they can build that, there is a runway required to apply for the necessary licenses."
As is the case with most entrepreneurs, regulatory compliance may not be their area of expertise. MoonPay has stepped in to fill that gap with its out-of-the-box infrastructure, giving these businesses fiat-to-crypto on- and off-ramps that facilitate the business model, while prioritizing compliance through support for those regulatory licenses, know your customer (KYC) and more.
The company recently moved to address another key compliance challenge for businesses in this industry. An investment in BCB Group will connect banking services to business customers, which Feroz said have traditionally been "very under-serviced."
With crypto often assumed to be a high-risk industry, and with the technology's regulatory landscape still in an early stage of rapid evolution, traditional FIs can understandably be wary of banking businesses that operate in the space. BCB Group offers services from its network of banking partners, connecting businesses to their services on a unified platform.
Driving Use Cases
Lowering the barriers to entry for the crypto arena has the potential to promote a continued mindset shift to legitimize and de-stigmatize digital currencies. Despite the technology's earlier reputation as a tool to facilitate malicious activity and black-market commerce, Feroz noted that industry solution providers are eager to help businesses play by the rules.
"I think what a lot of us in the industry are striving to do is to build an environment where businesses operate in a fully compliant fashion with all applicable laws," he said.
Already, there is mounting evidence that crypto is shedding its notoriety. Feroz highlighted the proliferation of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as a key example of how governments are increasingly willing to experiment with the technology for a variety of use cases, including cross-border and B2B payments. Non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs, are another exciting application that Feroz said represents the opportunity for crypto to transform concepts like digital — and, eventually, physical — asset ownership and transferability.
One of the most dramatic signs that cryptocurrencies are taking on new meaning for corporate finance and treasury professionals, in particular, is the interest in holding crypto on the books. Treasurers are now looking toward bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to hedge against perceived inflation resulting from the U.S. government's money-printing initiatives amid the pandemic.
"It's interesting to see that an asset that traditionally has been quite volatile has, in some cases, now been seen as a hedge against inflation," Feroz said, adding that only a few years ago, this development would not have been something he could imagine happening so soon in crypto's history.
With B2B, B2C and government use cases of crypto expanding, more businesses with creative business models and use cases for the technology can see less resistance to their ideas. With the appropriate technology partners in place that support the infrastructure and compliance needed to bring those ideas to life, crypto companies can add even more momentum to turning crypto mainstream.
"We're in a pretty exciting time for crypto. There has been a lot of big milestones the space has achieved," Feroz said. "And I'm not talking about price — I'm talking about perception and utility."
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