I2c: It is unwise to underestimate the impact of crypto
McCarthy explains how the company is engineering a secure and customisable payment platform for its customers, and why focusing on crypto is in-line with preparing the industry for the future of digital transactions.
FM: This year has been a rollercoaster for cryptocurrencies: from countries implementing trading bans to meteoric rises in market value. Do you expect this to 'level out' in the near future?
JM: I don’t believe there will be levelling off in either the short or long term, but that’s just my guess. The way I see it, cryptocurrencies are still at a very early stage in terms of companies beginning to figure out their role and place in their business models.
Our clients like Netcents and Wirex are visionaries in that respect, really helping others see the potential, making crypto more mainstream and making it easy to convert into other currencies for POS payments. While using crypto they are, at their core, payments companies.
FM: Do you believe we’re reaching a consensus on crypto's place in modern economics?
JM: Personally, I think there is beginning to be a consensus and clarity around this topic. We are seeing cryptocurrency evolve to the point where it is backed by central banks and has a stable value. It is moving from an asset of stored value to a usable currency for transacting.
I see the future as being less about a new currency and more about taking the inefficiency out of the current system.
FM: How is i2c helping its clients prepare for the future?
JM: We embrace all forms of innovation. I2c has created a modern payments stack capable of all types and forms of payment – crypto and fiat, credit or debit – we support all uses on our platform. Our job is to embrace all the innovation that is occurring and make it happen. Our clients come to us with a vision and we provide the platform to enable them to realize it without compromise.
Our basic premise is that the future has always been unknowable. At i2c, we built a platform designed to address that unpredictability through an inherent level of stability and agility that’s unprecedented in comparable platforms and which allows our clients to pivot when their prediction of the future was wrong or they need to adapt.
2020 was a test for us with many of our clients who had to pivot or watch their businesses stumble.
FM: Payments companies such as PayPal and Mastercard are both notably exploring crypto. What is holding back the banking sector from (largely) doing the same?
JM: I would say that we are beginning to see banks moving into this space, with JPMorgan launching their own coin and banks around the world experimenting as well. New York state has a crypto licensing group inside its government. But, you need to remember that banking is a highly regulated industry and that many banks will look to those regulators for signals.
It’s a bit of a ‘wait and see’ as to how quickly banks will enter this space en masse, but I believe it will happen.
FM: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to draw particular attention to?
JM: It is still fairly early days and the story of cryptocurrencies is and will continue to unfold and use cases will continue to evolve. However, it would be unwise to underestimate the impact that crypto will have on payment and economies.
It’s been a great source of validation that our crypto clients have separately spoken to the agility of i2c’s platform. They are true pioneers with clear visions of what they want to create and accomplish. In order to do this, they are highly selective of their partners. They choose us for, among other reasons, our single code stack, our global reach and the robust nature of our capabilities.
Tink partners with Novalnet AG for open banking payments
The Munich-based fintech Novalnet AG, which was founded in 2007 and is one of Europe’s leadingfintech companies, has announced a new partnership with Tink, the Swedish open banking platform currently connected to more than 3,400 European banks.
Novalnet AG delivers payment solutions and fully automated services, from checkout to debt collection. Its solutions are also available worldwide.
According to reports, the fintech company plans to launch a real-time payments feature for merchants across Europe, to expand its current services and enhance the transaction experience it operates through its platform.
The new feature, says Novalnet, will revolutionise payments for ecommerce with transactions being credited to merchant’s accounts almost instantly.
Novalnet partnership with Tink
By partnering with Tink for payment initiation services (PIS) technology, Novalnet will take previous region-specific payment methods and offer a new unified digital payments service to its merchants across Europe.
The fintech’s real-time merchant payments feature, which will be launched initially in Germany and the United Kingdom, will then be integrated across other European markets during 2021.
Speaking about the new collaboration, Emmanuel Kirse, COO of Novalnet, explained, "We expect great things from our strategic partnership with Tink, which is a significant development for both parties.
“With Tink, Novalnet can offer a new set of open banking-related solutions in Europe. The new opportunities offered by this partnership will help both Tink and Novalnet grow together, along with our merchants."
Cyrosch Kalateh, Regional Director for the DACH region at Tink said, “Our partnership with Novalnet is a big step for Tink in the German market, and we are excited to work together to bring new, innovative payments services to merchants across Europe.”
He added, “At the end of 2020 Tink committed to expanding its payment initiation services from five to 10 markets, fuelled by an €85mn investment round. We are proud to add Germany to this list by announcing we have now fully launched Tink’s PIS services in this market.”
Image credit: Novalnet AG