Why Demystifying Crypto is the Key to Wider Adoption, with Steve Delaney, Head of Payments
At the SBC Barcelona Summit in September, Head of Payments, Steve Delaney, joined the panel: Payments Innovation: Cryptocurrencies- How can they contribute to a more seamless payment journey.
In case you missed it, Steve reiterates his key message about the importance of demystifying crypto to encourage wider crypto adoption among individuals and companies worldwide.
In reflection, what are your thoughts on how the panel went?
In retrospect, I would have preferred to do my own speech, as the panel turned out to be quite imbalanced. Some were there to talk about the day to day running of crypto payments and how players are affected. While others were on a different level altogether. For example, discussing how the blockchain can be used to place bets.
In truth, I wanted to simplify things. That’s always been my goal. Crypto doesn’t have to be overcomplicated, as this puts people off. It prevents the masses from getting into it. There’s a lot about crypto that people aren’t aware of, and using tricky terminology and unnecessary technical detail discourages people from wanting to learn more. Plus it contributes to scepticism.
Players don’t need to know how many crypto methods there are (20,000 and counting!) or about sidechains, or staking.
They do need to know about the bits that can make them feel secure about the process, like how it’s decentralised, transparent and secure.
What industries embraced crypto early on, and what can we learn from them?
One of the earliest adopters of crypto was the legal cannabis industry. Some people might be familiar with Potcoin, among others. The legal cannabis industry recognised that crypto was more flexible and safer to integrate into their operations early on. Other industries could take note.
It’s easier for some industries to adopt crypto instead of the more traditional money methods, especially if the customer you are attracting lives in a permitted country but has banking methods in a restricted country, according to whatever regulation the business is governed by.
The lack of a central intermediary (like a bank or credit card company) means lower transaction fees and that has to be something worth looking into.
And finally, it’s faster, usually, than more traditional methods.
What are the main barriers preventing companies and individuals from adopting crypto?
It’s a matter of trust. And the easiest way to look at it is to analyse the past. Think about how sceptical people were when credit cards first emerged. It took years for people to trust them. And now? Hardly anyone carries cash. Some countries are even moving towards a cashless society.
The same can be said for crypto. It’ll take a number of years to build that trust. But once it’s there, crypto will be the new credit card.
It’ll get there slower if people overcomplicate things. People need to understand the basics first to demystify crypto.
What advice would you give players who opt for crypto as their preferred payment method?
Use basic cryptocurrencies. Don’t use micro cryptocurrencies and certainly not ones that are difficult to change into fiat; fiat means a currency issued by a country, such as the UK pound or US dollar.
Then make sure what you deposit actually lands in your account. Yes, you have a window that guarantees the transaction, meaning you won’t be charged fees. But what you want to avoid are the unexpected fees, due to the fact crypto prices can be quickly volatile.
We direct players towards Google to search for trusted crypto wallet providers, rather than offer our own unsolicited advice. The player should then be able to find for themselves the best wallet for them. Custodial wallets are safer, so hopefully players will read the pros and cons and choose one of those.
KYC checks are required in order to open a custodial wallet, and you’ll also be KYC’d on the merchant side anyway. Most casinos are regulated and, therefore, will require KYC. Players should be educated to feel good about this. From the casino side, we want to be responsible towards our players and make sure they are who they say they are and can afford the gambling they do.
Some people will use non-custodial wallets. In fact, two thirds of crypto wallet owners have them. The licence dictates that we have to KYC players with these wallets too. So, we need to direct them towards the more mainstream wallets.
So, don’t overcomplicate things. Apply the KISS principle to crypto and more and more people will benefit from all it has to offer.