Despite 2022 being a tumultuous year in the crypto industry where we saw multiple collapses, including Terra Luna, 3 Arrows Capital, Celsius, FTX and Genesis, global confidence is gaining momentum. Increasing consumer demand for blockchain technology, maturing use cases for financial institutions, and a shift towards real-world utility have led to a push for clearer standards and policies.
Winners at this year’s Fintech Australia FINNIE Awards, Crypto.com is committed to accelerating cryptocurrency adoption through innovation and empowering the next generation of builders, creators, and entrepreneurs to create a fairer, more equitable digital ecosystem. In 2016, Crypto.com came into existence with a bold and straightforward vision at its core: to ensure that cryptocurrency becomes an integral part of every “wallet” and everyday life. At present, Crypto.com serves over 80 million customers worldwide.
Payments Consulting Network Marketing Partnerships Manager Bernadette Walsh interviewed Karl Mohan, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa at Crypto.com, to discuss the company’s trajectory, the influence of regulators in shaping crypto’s mainstream journey, and the potential transformative impact of blockchain on fraud prevention strategies.
BMW: Please give me a brief overview of Crypto.com.
KM: Crypto.com was established in 2016 with a simple vision: cryptocurrency in every wallet. We have created one of the first digital commerce ecosystems, integrating payments, trading, and financial services, and our customers use Crypto.com to buy, sell, and hold more than 250 cryptocurrencies. Customers can pay for goods or services and earn rewards through Crypto.com products. Our prepaid Visa card is the largest in its category globally, with a cryptocurrency capability and is accepted by more than 80 million merchants. We are proud to be the industry leader in regulatory compliance, security and privacy and serve over 80 million customers worldwide.
BMW: Do you see more mainstream merchants adding crypto integration to their payment’s platforms – either directly or via storefronts such as Shopify?
KM: Absolutely, and the appetite is only increasing. We carried out a survey in Australia with DataMesh recently that found significant interest in having the ability to make and receive payments directly in cryptocurrency, with 55% of both merchants and consumers saying they want to transact in cryptocurrency. We see tremendous potential and opportunity ahead in this trend, so we continue to develop our capabilities. Crypto.com Pay, for example, allows merchants to receive cryptocurrencies from Crypto.com users with zero transaction fees. This off-chain service is real-time and accessible to all Crypto.com App users worldwide, and we’ve already integrated Crypto.com Pay with Shopify. Crypto.com Visa cardholders can link their card to Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay in various regions worldwide. But an excellent case point is here in Australia, where we have launched a direct payment solution, allowing customers to use their cryptocurrency to purchase goods and services at OTR – one of the largest fuel and convenience chains in South Australia and Victoria.
“Crypto.com was established in 2016 with a simple vision: cryptocurrency in every wallet. We have created one of the first digital commerce ecosystems, integrating payments, trading, and financial services, and our customers use Crypto.com to buy, sell, and hold more than 250 cryptocurrencies.”–Karl Mohan, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, Crypto.com
BMW: What are your key strengths or differentiators from other crypto exchange platforms?
KM: While I’m not in a position to comment on other exchanges, at Crypto.com, we have been highly focused on building our platform the right way, reflecting local regulations and requirements, and investing in security, technology, and education. It’s why we continue to lead the industry regarding the number of licenses and certifications related to compliance, safety, and security. But with the ever-evolving threat in the landscape, we continue to ensure we maintain the highest level of security and data privacy so our customers can feel confident and trust our products. On top of that, I would say another of our key strengths is also the variety of products and services we offer our customers, not just through the Crypto.com App but also through the Crypto.com Exchange, which is a truly comprehensive offering – including spot trading, margin trading, derivatives, OTC trading, to name a few services.
BMW: What were your key achievements over the last 12 months, including new products, market expansion, brand development and client partnerships?
KM: Reaching 80 million users was an incredible moment for us, particularly given the market downturn we witnessed last year and that we are just a seven-year-old company. We’re also really proud of the regulatory licenses and registrations we’ve received in countries like Singapore, the UK, Spain, France, Brazil, and Dubai, among others. These approvals are a testament to our commitment to responsible innovation and show that regulators are acknowledging this. In terms of products, in just the last few months, we launched our first CFTC-regulated derivatives product for our users in the United States called UpDown Options, and we also introduced our first AI-powered initiative, Amy, which is designed as a companion to help users learn and navigate their crypto experience. So, despite the bear market, we’ve proved we are focused on building our products and services further and increasing access to cryptocurrency.
BMW: What trends do you see in the next 12 months with cryptocurrencies, and what does Crypto.com have on the horizon?
KM: We say this a lot in our world – but builders keep building. In all seriousness, though, we are very much focused on preparing for the next bull market, and we also have some exciting products in the pipeline. But I think over the next 12 months, we will witness even more collaboration between crypto companies and traditional financial institutions. We are already seeing more major financial institutions take positions with crypto just in the last few weeks. We’ll also see new regulations come into effect, which will be really powerful in moving the industry forward responsibly and fuelling growth. We are also particularly bullish on integrating AI in crypto, and we certainly feel it will enhance the user experience over the coming years and make it easier for people to participate in the digital currency space.
“...we also introduced our first AI-powered initiative, Amy, which is designed as a companion to help users learn and navigate their crypto experience. So, despite the bear market, we’ve proved we are extremely focused on building our products and services further and increasing access to cryptocurrency.” – Karl Mohan, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, Crypto.com
BMW: With the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency across the Asia-Pacific region, do you see this as a hindrance to innovation in this area?
KM: Not at all. We have never viewed regulation as a hindrance; we believe it to be critical for responsible innovation in the crypto space and effectively mainstreaming crypto. We work very closely with regulators across the Asia-Pacific region and globally, and we are very encouraged by the conversations we’re having around regulating the industry going forward. We believe effective regulation, which is fit for purpose, is critical to the sector’s development and will bring greater accountability for market operators and enhanced consumer protections. This, in turn, will only help foster innovation and build credibility and confidence amongst users worldwide.
BMW: What markets do you see as the biggest adopters of cryptocurrency?
KM: It is really encouraging to see a massive uptick in the adoption of cryptocurrency globally. We carried out research last year that showed cryptocurrency owners increased by 39%, from 306 million in January to 425 million by December. Of course, markets that have more favourable, open, and transparent regulatory environments are going to witness the biggest surges in adoption rates going forward. Places like Singapore, Australia, and Dubai, for example, where we see a real openness to consulting the industry when it comes to regulation. Once clear guidelines are in place, we definitely see consumer confidence in the sector increasing and that boosts adoption on both the retail and institutional side.
“The crypto community is highly active and passionate about making an impact. But on top of giving to worthy causes, it’s our very important role to ensure equitable access to the opportunities of the digital economy and Web3.”- Karl Mohan, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, Crypto.com
BMW: With blockchain technology improving security and transparency can it signal a turning point in fraud prevention?
KM: A core element of blockchain technology is that it is traceable – a public ledger that is updated in real-time. The open-source nature of this data promotes transparency in digital financial markets and therefore improves accountability and accessibility. It allows for traceability that isn’t open to manipulation – for example, in our space, no one can alter the record of a cryptocurrency transaction once it has been made. All of this makes it a tougher environment for people to carry out fraudulent activity, and blockchain technology is only getting more advanced across all industries.
But customers must be aware that scams and frauds still exist even when using blockchain technology. It’s been extremely important to us at Crypto.com to build a company with the core foundations of security and compliance. We realise how important trust is for our users, and we proactively manage and protect against external threats, including scams and phishing campaigns. We also have dedicated educational content through our Crypto.com University, ensuring customers are aware of the types of scams experienced in the crypto space and how to protect themselves.
“We believe effective regulation, which is fit for purpose, is critical to the sector’s development and will bring greater accountability for market operators and enhanced consumer protections”- Karl Mohan, General Manager of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, Crypto.com
BMW: You supported the devastating earthquake in Turkey earlier this year by selling limited NFTs – do you feel this was an effective way to support worthy causes/charities financially and by creating the exposure needed?
KM: We realise we can use our brand position and platform in many important ways to promote and support valuable causes. The humanitarian crisis in Turkey is just one notable example of this. Similarly, our utilisation of a commercial spot during the previous year’s Oscars highlighted our proactive approach. We orchestrated a successful fundraiser to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, generating over USD$3 million through a relief campaign in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The crypto community is highly active and passionate about making an impact. But on top of giving to worthy causes, it’s our very important role to ensure equitable access to the opportunities of the digital economy and Web3, and that’s why we have multi-sector partnerships addressing critical issue areas, such as education and sustainability.
BMW: Crypto.com sponsors/partners sporting events and art projects. Will this type of exposure help mainstream adoption?
KM: There’s no doubt that our rapid growth can be attributed to our brand campaigns and strategic partnerships, and they will continue to be a core focus for us to engage even more crypto users. We are proud of these partnerships, particularly with the likes of the AFL here in Australia, and they have definitely helped make Crypto.com one of the most recognisable names in the industry and brands in the world. More importantly, they play a crucial role in accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency – our core mission.
Author: Bernadette Walsh, Marketing Partnerships Manager, Melbourne, Payments Consulting Network
Bernadette’s diverse work experience has given her the opportunity to observe the different approaches to business and problem-solving, allowing her to develop a unique perspective on how to build relationships and solve problems. Her resourcefulness and willingness to think outside of the box have been invaluable assets in her ability to find creative solutions to complex problems.
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