As the desire of customers to pay in cryptocurrencies and the resulting necessity for merchants to accept it grows, the need for solid and simple crypto-fiat payments rails is expanding.
Yet bridging the fiat and crypto worlds remains difficult in large part because the infrastructure simply isn’t there, according to Petr Kozyakov, CEO of crypto payments tech firm Mercuryo.
“I believe a lot of companies would like to use more crypto in their day-to-day operations, but they don’t have easy access to that,” he said. “If we had really good infrastructure in place for executing such transactions, the adoption of crypto would be really higher.”
There’s plenty of evidence to back that up in PYMNTS’ April study of U.S. Crypto Consumers, which showed that nearly 60 million U.S. consumers had bought cryptocurrencies over the past 12 months. Of that group, about one-third say they have used it to make payments — 21% in stores. One quarter say they would prefer to shop with merchants who accept cryptocurrency payments.
Read more: More Consumers Buying Crypto and Want More Ways to Spend It
That growing desire matches Kozyakov’s experience, as the number of consumers using Mercuryo-provided crypto-to-fiat services has expanded from 2 to 3 million in the past four months alone.
Banks Need a Partner
And they don’t have to be complex transactions. Kozyakov recalls meeting a Polish friend for dinner in London on a Friday night and trying to figure out how to send him a payment to split the cost of the meal.
Read also: Crypto Payment Firm Mercuryo, Volt Partner to Launch Open Banking Transactions
“It wasn’t easy to transfer money from my U.K. bank account to a Polish bank account on a Friday evening,” Kozyakov recalled, but by using Mercuryo’s app, he was able to buy and send crypto in a few clicks. “This is why remittance payments sent home from immigrant workers is such a low-hanging fruit for crypto payments,” he added.
“Our growth shows that the market really needs a solution to bridge the fiat and crypto worlds, that helps crypto-native businesses to get access to fiat infrastructure, and vice-versa,” he added.
While those transactions are certainly possible, companies like Mercuryo are focused on making it a lot easier.
The firm has four core product lines: A pay-in product, a pay-out product, International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN) for cross-border payments and embeddable digital wallets. The goal, he said, is to allow “any crypto-native business to easily access fiat infrastructure.”
That’s something quite difficult to get from banks, Kozyakov noted. For example, some of their clients that want to settle some bills in crypto struggle to get banks to understand the need to move money from their bank account to a crypto exchange platform even if they have the data showing that it is more convenient to make settlements or make payroll using digital currencies.
This is the reason why making it easier for banks to provide fiat-to-crypto services is also key. “They know how to deal with fiat, but crypto is a different world. They think about crypto as an asset rather than a payments tool,” he said. “What they need is a partner to do it for them.”
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