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Crypto adoption is key for the growth of the iGaming industry

The crypto boom continues, with particular benefits for the iGaming sector, as it facilitates payments quickly and at low cost. But despite the benefits, FinchPay COO Ana Schultz points out that companies are still slower to adopt, investing more resources into providing fiat options than relying on blockchain solutions.

The COO breaks the myths surrounding the digital currencies and points out how the company aims to leverage its features to encourage operators to “stay in crypto”.

We’re joined today by Ana Schultz with FinchPay. She’s going to be talking about the intricacies of cryptocurrency as well as eSports. And what is happening within the sphere? Ana, what are the major misconceptions around the cryptocurrency market right now?

Hi and, first of all, thank you for having me here.

So speaking about misconceptions, I would name three. And the first one would be that cryptocurrency is an anonymous and untraceable way to send your funds. And in fact, in major blockchains, there is no such thing as anonymity. Because once you connect your personal data somehow with your wallet address, like either you’re buying crypto or you’re paying for certain services that require your identity verification, you are totally traceable.

So, the only way to stay out of sight is actually to keep your funds on your cold wallet, noncustodial wallet, that is installed to your laptop, for example, or to your phone, and trying not to connect any personal data with the transaction that you make.

Another misbelief, I would say, is that many people think that it’s safer actually to hold their funds in some centralized, or custodial services such as, for example, normal traditional exchanges, like Binance or FTX. And some just custodial centralized services.

In fact, the statistics and time shows that it’s, again, much more safe to store your funds in a noncustodial wallet that is installed on your hardware. And you just need to encrypt it in the right way. I mean, don’t buy this shitty paper wallets from Amazon. And don’t send your key phrase to yourself or to your friends by any of the chats. I mean, like Telegram or any other, like WhatsApp or something like that. Because once you share your key, someone gets access to your money directly and at any given moment.

And I would name the third one is that crypto – there is a myth that crypto is complicated. Surprise! Yes, there are some difficulties for people who are investing in crypto, connected to learning about different blockchains and projects to invest they need to do the research inside out. But for a normal person to send transactions in crypto is not much more difficult than to send a transaction with a credit card.

It’s already come completely into the sphere right now, especially within the betting community. So, I want to ask what are the major “currencies” which are being used most? Obviously, we’ve got Bitcoin as the world leader, Etherium is the second. What are the other ones which are being primarily transacted within the betting platforms?

I would say, as we are processing payments in the casino sector, in crypto 60 percent of payments are coming actually in stable coins. USDT on Tron.

Despite its crash last year?

Despite that, so it’s fine. So now it’s still equal to $1. I mean, USDT has also had this, you know, strange move and lost almost 30 percent in one day, but it recovered. So it’s still the most understandable, let’s say like, way for people to send money. And actually, as USDT is equal to US dollar and US dollar is devolving (devaluating) with time, Bitcoin is somehow growing, even though we see these dramatic moves from $66k down to $40k and then down to $15k.

But if you look at the long distance, long run, like BTC is growing steadily and the fiat currencies are devolving, so people don’t really want to spend their investment in BTC for just like depositing. But still I would name like USDT, BTC, Ethereum and some alt coins.

Looking at what your business itself is doing, are you focusing only on the European market? I mean, you’ve come to Manila, obviously, you were at Sigma. What is your expansion policy right now?

Of course, we’re trying to go global, we hold a license in Europe but it does limit us from processing crypto for different locations, because crypto is working globally. And if we’re talking about crypto, the crypto transactions only, we have no limitations almost at all.

I mean, we help businesses to accept 200 different crypto currencies as deposits, we normally convert them into USDT in order to eliminate the risk of the money loss and the market fluctuations on different currencies. And then, at the end of the month, or, I mean, we can do it every day when a merchant/casino, let’s say, requires settlement from us, or we send either USDT or fiat.

And this is where difficulties are coming, especially in Asia. It’s hard to find proper fiat providers that would be able to facilitate for us this transfer, like transaction, from crypto to local currency and send this local currency over to the local bank. So we have some providers right now who cover a part of Asia. But we still, for example, struggle to find the local Malaysian for example, crypto to fiat {…} solution, but we’re gonna get there.

Do you see that as an issue of regulation or in terms of the providers themselves?

Well, I don’t really see there’s an issue with regulation. I mean, where it’s prohibited to work with crypto, it’s prohibited. So regulations are more or less clear for us.

So the main issue here, like global one, is that businesses – even though they accept payments in crypto – they want to exit crypto almost immediately. So they would request settlements in fiat and as we don’t really have a company in Asia, so we work with third parties that actually help us to make this conversion and transit of local currency happen. But another issue for us is that there is still, kind of I would say, like a lack of not a motivation, but willingness, inside the iGaming industry to switch their players from fiat to crypto.

And even though everyone is like super happy with our service, and they want to integrate us, they are postponing integration further and further, because they are so focused on getting fiat payment methods available for the users and these fiat payment methods are like dying every couple of months, so their backlog is always full. And I see this is the major showstopper, even like bigger than any regulations and restrictions.

Moving back to FinchPay. How has crypto fueled the online gaming industry? And what ties do you guys have to online gaming operators right now?

There are many benefits that crypto could actually offer to online gaming businesses in comparison with normal, traditional payment methods. So, we see that more and more iGaming companies are starting to work with crypto. And from our side, as the service provider, we’re trying our best to help them to enhance the conversion rate to provide benefits for users such as I mentioned low minimums high maximums, high transactions paid, anonymity, in this way, I mean, in the possible way. Because we exclude any third parties like banks or credit cards or anything like that.

So, money goes directly from the user to the merchant, like almost. Of course, there is the company like ours. But when people top up their account was crypto, we don’t ask for any KYC or anything like that. We also help casinos to build transparent and easy UI. And we help operators to actually stay in crypto.

And we offer many features now: back office, for example, manual withdrawals or payments for partners, because like, right now, it’s quite popular that casinos are paying affiliate teams in USDT as well. So, it’s possible to do it from our back office. We have an invoicing system, like our reports, financial reports, are super customizable in order to fit requirements of any auditors. And of course, we are trying to provide the best rate, we charge below the market. The average, I would say, fee is like 0.5/0.6 percent. We are charging from 0.3 percent, which is quite beneficial.

Do you think that there’s ever any chance that crypto will be able to replace fiat in any sense, and especially within the casino gaming business – online or offline?

This is an interesting question. I think like saying that crypto one day will fully and permanently replaced fiat, I mean government-backed fiat, is way too ambitious. Because one of the main functions of the government is actually money emission. And even in the case that like, local currency of some country is losing its value really fast, there could be some temporary transition from fiat to digital money, but I think that would be rather temporary.

Because at the end of the day, the government should resume all the functions including money emission. So, I think it’s too ambitious to say that crypto will entirely one day just replace fiat.

But we see that more and more volumes are actually getting into crypto from the online casino side. I wouldn’t say that it will replace fiat. But I’m happy to see some more volumes moving from players into crypto.

But what we see right now with casino operators and payments teams, they are fighting so strong to get more fiat payment methods on their sites. So they choose to spend their money and time on that, rather than provide crypto as a payment method. And I really hope it’s gonna change in upcoming years.

It’s moving and it’s developing fast. But if you look at it now, there are a lot of challenges ahead. A lot of challenges ahead. So starting from even staying compliant with regulations from a technical point of view. For blockchain, we don’t really have right now risk scoring systems that work in real time. So even though regulations in Europe, in terms of the KYC and AML, are kind of clear for everyone, this blockchain technology is not yet there to stay compliant from a technical point of view.

So everyone sees blockchain as like, “Wow. Such a new and well developed technology, rocking our world.” But actually, yes, it’s new and it’s still developing and there is still a long way ahead of us.

Alright, so I want to jump straight back to FinchPay. Why should someone be using FinchPay as opposed to other exchanges? Give me your elevator pitch.

Okay, so I believe in a business like ours, there are three things that matter most. So the first one is trust. Second one is the scope of services and reliability and third one is actually deal terms. So, we are trying our best to cover all of this. As I said, we are working closely with our merchants we like on a daily basis.

Our development, it just like never stops, because there are some features that we need to develop even for existing clients. Because they want to provide, they have some ideas on how to improve the user experience, let’s say, and we are supporting them. We’re not even taking any money for this extra development. So that’s why they stay with us, they trust us.

So we managed to improve, for example, conversion rates by implementing features such as stable addresses, let’s say a user comes to the cashier and chooses BTC as a payment method, he comes again and sees exactly the same address that we showed him the first time. And this address could be whitelisted everywhere.

And a user can even top up their casino account by just repeating the transaction from the wallet without even visiting the cashier. And there are some like minor things that really make a difference. And we are trying our best to make them happen and to offer them to our clients. And, as I said, we’re also focusing on providing the best rate on the market.

Well, I think that you guys have a lot of growth potential ahead of you. Obviously, crypto is going to continue to be very much in everyone’s mindsets. Let’s see how we ride through this current swing, as it always tends to be. And in the meantime, all the best to you, all the best to FinchPay. Thanks again, Ana Schultz.

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.



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