In this episode of Blockchain Beyond Hype, we interview the founder and CEO of Vertbase, Justin Seidl. We discussed topics such as the challenges of acquiring and using cryptocurrency, what merchants require to adopt the digital assets, the Vertbase strategy for the early stage of blockchain adoption, and whether the tech-savvy people should use digital assets.
What are the current challenges of using crypto by regular people?
I think that one of the biggest problems or challenges is acquiring crypto very easily, and then once you do acquire that crypto, having it seamlessly integrated into everyday use, products, and services. So kind of bridging that gap first, I think, is the ultimate goal for mass adoption.
Why is acquiring digital assets difficult?
Digital assets are difficult, especially in the United States, because of all the different regulations involved in each state. And then outside of the US going from Europe to Australia to Korea, there’s just a wide range of different laws and regulations put in place and then trying to get those on-ramps to… push assets across borders further complicates that. But we’re doing our best to kind of reduce that friction on the back-end for our users and provide a safe and simple solution for them.
What is driving you to do the groundwork of introducing digital assets to crowds?
I think our core value and mission is to give everybody the opportunity to acquire, buy, sell digital assets of their choosing and not just select a few from the current industry leaders, but really just an unbiased wider range of digital assets.
What challenges of integration do you see?
Some of the biggest challenges for us are working with traditional currencies and the banks or payment processors that are working with them. So reducing the problem that people face with those now and putting them in conjunction with cryptocurrency is very difficult. But if we reduce that friction point for the user, they have a better experience using crypto.
Should non-tech savvy people use digital assets these days at all?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it can start out as simple as receiving some from a friend who’s trying to introduce you, going on buying your first few dollars or euros of those assets and then just kind of understanding how you have those assets and how you can send them back and forth between a wallet, is just a good stepping stone to understanding the blockchain technology and then maybe open up some ideas or questions that can springboard into better technologies in the future.
How would you segment the users on the way to mass adoption?
One, what we’re trying to do now is helping them acquire it as easy as possible without the friction points that are currently in place now. But the biggest segment I think you’re going to find is integrated into everyday products or services, but not in a way where this is a blockchain product or a blockchain service. It’s a service people use, and blockchain is integrated into the back into making it easier. Having that seamless experience where they don’t even have to think about it will help to kind of generate results and then pick up blockchain adoption.
How important is it for users to know that there is a blockchain behind a product or service which they use?
I think the companies that are offering a product or service can utilize blockchain technology without making it a focal point for the users. The number one thing that the user wants is that product or service. And if they get a better product or service because of blockchain technology, I think, over time, competitors will start to notice, and they will then turn to blockchain technologies to make their product, services better, which will ultimately lead to a mass adoption via the corporate world.
How can industries move from the chicken & egg point in adopting blockchain technology?
If they can seamlessly integrate blockchain technologies into their product or service to make it a better product or service, that will help to kind of facilitate the growth of blockchain and help with their overall product or service. Amazon, Google, some of these services with a large user base, can really capitalize on blockchain technology and push adoption forward with that.
What strategy are you using for the early stage of blockchain adoption?
One of the things that we’re really trying to push is providing on-ramps for many digital assets that aren’t necessarily supported in the industry, and giving everybody kind of an unbiased approach or unbiased entry into the market. We don’t want to kind of dictate what’s better over the other. We want everybody to kind of push the technology forward with new ideas. Besides doing that, taking it upon ourselves to help educate the users on why blockchain technology is important and the safe and secure ways to kind of utilize blockchain technology as opposed to traditional companies or means that have been done in the past.
What do merchants require before proceeding with the adoption of blockchain technology?
One of the biggest things that I think merchants are looking for right now is a Fiat settlement solution, and that’s something that we’re working towards to help the merchants. They can’t take on the risk of a volatile market if Bitcoin goes up or down drastically for a paid good or service. So they’re looking for as soon as service is paid for by via Bitcoin, they want that exchange out for their local currency. So providing that service to them right now gets them integrated into blockchain a lot earlier. And that opens the door for a much larger, fully blockchain integrated solution in the future for them.
How important is the user adoption for the merchants?
User adoption is as key as well. And again, it comes back to being simple, and it needs to be a solution that is easier than swiping a debit or credit card and gives them the incentive to do that over that debit or credit card. So lower fees, faster transaction times, but also having the security of knowing that the funds are yours and you have control of those assets at any time.
User adoption vs Merchant adoption – how do these paths differ?
User adoption is all gonna be about the easiness of it and the speed and just kind of the overall experience for them. It needs to be something that they can pull out their phone, tap, and go, whereas the merchant is looking for solutions that are a little more secure than traditional means right now. For instance, a credit card has the ability to be charged back, or an ACH transaction has the ability to be recalled from the originating bank. So with blockchain technology, not only are the fees a lot less than these current markets and are faster, but the user doesn’t have the ability to go in and pull the funds back from the merchant, which is a large amount of fraud. Specifically, in the US.
What 3 tips would you give on how to launch a tech solution if the market isn’t ready for it yet?
Just starting incrementally is the most important part. Having an MVP to just kind of start from the ground level and get it in front of users and get their feedback is critical for any startup, not overbuilding, not trying to solve too big of a solution to start. And don’t be afraid to fail. A lot of times, you’re gonna have an idea of how something should be done or how it should work. And you’re gonna find out quickly that the users may want to push the button a different way or they want to swipe a different way, or they want to transact a different way. So, create something small that’s based on your idea and be ready to iterate over it many times with the users’ feedback and input.
Why is your solution non-custodial? How do you make it safe?
So the primary reason that we are a non-custodial solution is for the safety of not only us but our users as well. Being non-custodial, we don’t store any of the digital assets on our platform. And we also kind of push to educate the user that keeping the assets on your own solution, your own wallets, your own device is much safer and brakes the trend of what we’re trying to get away from with current banks and traditional stores of money where you would actually trust somebody to hold your funds. So really pushing and promoting that non-custodial approach is a core value of ours and centered on everything that we’re doing.
What is the next step of the technological development for your application?
Right now, we’re working on a mobile app that we’re very close to finishing. It is a non-custodial wallet that will be closely tied to our platform, as well. And majority of that will be implementing new technologies to help the user easily buy, sell or send and receive digital assets and then providing an education layer on top of that, for how they interact for the first time, how to kind of advance your knowledge in the blockchain space and then ultimately giving you all the tools necessary to be your own bank.
The three main reasons why merchants should look up digital assets and how to use them…
Providing a solution such as blockchain technology for merchants can help with the transactions and the ease and speed for users. It will also reduce fraud with callbacks or chargebacks with credit, debit cards, or ACH transactions. And then also just kind of providing a layer of data that is associated with each transaction on the blockchain can kind of help produce a better overall experience for both the merchant and the user.
How do you envision blockchain changing the world?
What interests me most and I think is a very important piece of blockchain is the ability to control data and, more specifically, your own individual data. I think we’re seeing a lot of issues today that maybe aren’t as magnified as they should be. But with Facebook, Googles of the world, controlling and harvesting your data and utilizing it for their business model, it creates a lot of issues that we don’t quite understand yet. But I think in the next couple of generations we will see. So utilizing blockchain to control, own, and protect your data, I think can be a very important technology for the next coming generations.
How do you think the market for the blockchain-based solutions will evolve?
It will start with the introduction of bringing in some of the things that we discussed, making the friction points easier to acquire, to send, receive digital assets. For the merchants, getting those in place so that way they can reap the benefits of using the blockchain technology. Over time, I think it will kind of shift past traditional currencies and traditional means. And then, we’ll start to see that data layer comes on top of it, where everything that’s being passed back and forth will hold significant value, and each side of the transaction will be able to control how that data is presented and transferred between the two parties.
Justin Seidl, Founder, and CEO of Vertbase. Justin is on a mission to give the opportunity to everybody to acquire digital assets. His instant buys and sells application obtained 7,000 active users just a few months after the launch. Through Vertbase, he bridges services as we know them with digital assets that we are just meeting and exploring now.