06 May Crypto Founders: Nikola Tchouparov, CEO, Moneyfold
Last week we heard the news that Swiss company Eidoo obtained Visa backing for its new payments card. What is less well known is that Moneyfold are behind the scenes powering the card’s crypto to fiat payment rail.
Moneyfold has come a long way from its humble beginnings at a hackathon in 2016. In 2018 it graduated from the FCA Sandbox with full regulatory approval. We spoke to founder and CEO Nikola Tchouparov to find out more.
Eidoo is Moneyfolds biggest client. It’s a DeFi platform sporting a wide range of services including wallet, ID solution, crowdfunding and trading facilities, but Moneyfold arguably handle the most impressive part of the business, regulated crypto to fiat conversion across multiple currencies. Anyone who has been in crypto for more than five minutes knows this is blue ocean territory.
The conversion is handled via stablecoins. First a crypto-to-stablecoin transaction takes place via atomic swop before stablecoins are then swopped for local currency on the back end which in turn are settled via Visa. Of course this all happens behind the scenes with Moneyfold handling all the conversions. Eidoo users can have a seamless payment experience and merchants can get paid in their local currency.
‘We enable the Eidoo card to be truly DeFi and what is so exciting about being first out of the door, relatively speaking, is that 45 million merchants accept the Visa card’
Having regulatory approval was pivotal to obtaining Visa backing but going after it through the Sandbox was a daunting prospect for a crypto startup. Nikola recalls the ‘naysayers’ who were skeptical that they would ever get out of the Sandbox but recounts how the experience was not quite as expected;
‘They don’t have an opinion in terms of bitcoin vs banks. They give you particular attention – assigning a case officer and giving you a direct line to the authorisations department, so as an entrepreneur it makes things a lot easier for you. Without the sandbox we would likely not have ventured this far.’
Having regulatory approval opened doors for Moneyfold in terms of finding banking partners and other business partners. Nikola recounts approaching over 50 banks before finding a banking partner. ‘Having that stamp of approval from the regulator, that we have gone through the due diligence process, helps make our case’.
Moneyfold is now operational in the UK and EU countries but has its sights on the US sometime in the future, citing the potential market of 30 million crypto users as a major draw, compared to 3 million in the UK and 12 million in the whole of Europe. Interestingly, Moneyfold are seeing most of the demand from Europe at the moment. Nikola said,
‘The customer potentially has different priorities in the UK, with a focus on loyalty points, airmiles, and wealth creation. In Europe there seems to be more of a focus on how to use crypto as an alternative to banks’
Either way, Moneyfold are open for business and incumbents should be watching and learning.