Massimiliano Silenziit is CryptoRefills is testing Circle’s new euro-backed digital currency with merchants around the world. Let’s see what that means.
The euro is the second currency in the world, just behind the US dollar. Despite its global market share of around 19% according to various international currency usage indicators, the euro has an insignificant representation in stablecoins. What is the impact of Circle’s Eurocoin announcement on the current situation?
I think they were a smart forerunner, a trend we’ll see develop over the next few years. In the shorter term, we are likely to see other big players, such as exchanges currently offering USD-pegged stablecoins and issuing local versions for major currencies around the world. A GBP stablecoin has already been announced by another provider, and new similar projects may be announced soon.
In the medium term, it is also likely that we will see a new class of players entering this space, mainly from the traditional banking sector, defining their new role in the market, somewhere between pure crypto players and CDBCs. Additionally, the current economic and geopolitical situation could be a catalyst for disruptions and innovations like we have never seen before in the foreign exchange markets, with government or central bank (CDBC) currency coming, in competition with the currency of private or commercial banks. , and with public money like Bitcoin. Locally anchored stablecoins could be the first sign of this dynamic.
Will the regulations harm or benefit euro-pegged stablecoins?
We are not issuers of stablecoins, we only process them on publicly available blockchains, so I cannot speak for them as I am unaware of all the nuances and complexities surrounding the issuance of these currencies. That said, we have obviously assessed the impact of the European regulation and the MiCA. Most of the points I read regarding stablecoins sounded reasonable and aimed to protect consumers from issues like the ones we’ve seen in recent weeks. But again, it is quite difficult for me to assess the direct impact of regulation on stablecoins. What I can say is that I am quite disappointed with the broader approach of European regulations, including MiCA. A framework that I consider extremely burdensome and almost punitive in terms of compliance requirements, and where we risk giving an unfair advantage to companies that are established and operate outside of Europe. So, going back to the impact of regulation on euro-pegged stablecoins, without a rich and innovative European blockchain ecosystem, it might also be harder for these digital currencies to thrive.
Today, CryptoRefills announced that it is the first e-commerce to process and accept Eurocoin from Circle. What does this mean for the region, in terms of European traders/businesses and consumers?
By enabling EUROC on CryptoRefills, we’re adding a real-world use case, and that’s the opportunity to spend EUROC on real-world goods and services.
This means that European consumers will be able to use our platform for a true shopping experience where they pay in a digital currency which should not expose them to typical crypto volatility risks or exchange rate risks (the USD/ EUR has undergone an 11% change over the last year). Additionally, I think some psychological factors will also come into play, as European customers are likely to prefer to shop and see prices in a currency they can identify and understand. We expect our first customers paying with Euro Coin to be fairly crypto and blockchain savvy, perhaps those who work for exchanges and blockchain companies or are active in the European DeFi sector and Web3. Then we will likely see an extension into the more mainstream crypto clientele, which not only grows, but also becomes more sophisticated and knowledgeable.
As for merchants, as a B2C-focused, innovation-driven blockchain company, we are obviously faster to market with new currencies and blockchains. But over time, I think not only European users, but also European merchants may be interested in a digital currency pegged to Europe. European traders can see value in a currency that, compared to other cryptos, is more understandable to them, has fewer accounting complexities and exchange rate risks, and generally has a European flavor and image.
What is CryptoRefills for those who don’t know it yet and what does accepting Eurocoin mean to you?
CryptoRefills was born with the idea that there are huge opportunities around blockchain to create greater financial and financial inclusion, freedom, privacy and equity. And this cryptocurrency as a form of investment, savings and often speculation only meets the needs of a lucky few. So, for us, the biggest hurdle for cryptocurrency to unlock its full potential and become money, leading to mass adoption, is the ability to use it for everyday needs. On CryptoRefills, customers from almost any country in the world can buy gift cards from the world’s leading digital and retail brands, top up their mobile credit, and pay their phone and utility bills by paying with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In other words, our customers can use Bitcoin and crypto for their daily needs, from shopping at the supermarket to booking hotel stays, buying games and apps, paying for streaming services and more. .
We have developed and operate a platform that allows us to self-process payments for major cryptocurrencies and on the largest and most innovative blockchain networks. Since we are operating in such a new space, it is essential for us to understand and interpret the needs of our customers, to be quick in launching the most promising blockchain payment technologies and currencies, and then to educate and support our users. We actively conduct research on consumer cryptocurrency usage through our Labs initiative and publish an annual report on consumer cryptocurrency usage in retail. This is key to understanding where we should focus our innovation. We are an early adopter of Lightning Network and are the first e-commerce in the world to launch stabelcoin payments via Ethereum Layer 2 networks and fast-finality blockchains. Today, we offer our customers the widest variety of payment options, including Bitcoin and Litecoin payments, off-chain payments through Binance, and various stable payments on Ethereum, Avalanche, Polygon, Fantom, Arbitrum, and networks. Binance SmartChain. Thus, activating EUROC on our platform, on the day of its official release by Circle, is part of our innovative approach and it is above all a message to our European customers that we are here to satisfy the different payment preferences of the communities that we serve. with the newest and most promising projects available.
About Massimiliano Silenzi
Massimiliano Silenzi is an Italian-American entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in payments and technology. He is the founder and CEO of CryptoRefills, former CEO of Onebip (mobile payments), and has held innovation, leadership and international management positions at mobile payment and commerce startups as well as telecommunications companies such than Ericsson Enterprise and Telecom Italia Mobile. Massimiliano holds a BA in Business Administration, a Masters in Marketing Management and a Ph.D. in Commerce and Finance.