Driving Crypto Adoption in Europe to the Next Level
The EBC team sat down last week with Mariana Gospodinova, General Manager of European Operations for Crypto.com to discuss how CeFi and DeFi are driving innovation and adoption in the crypto space in Europe.
Crypto.com founded by Kris Marszalek, is an online platform which supports investors to invest in cryptocurrencies. The digital asset exchange organisation offers several cryptocurrency products and services, meaning an investor can buy, sell, trade, spend, store, earn, loan cash and even pay bills with cryptocurrencies using Crypto.com.
Visual of Mariana Gospodinova elaborated by EBC team
A story by
Marta G. Roqué
Tell us about your story and your background in the financial/technology sector
Today I’m the General Manager of European Operations for Crypto.com, where I lead the market strategy, operations, business development and partnerships, and product commercialisation for the company across the continent.
Previously, I was COO of Binance Europe, where I set up the first offices and teams in the region and oversaw operations, including the successful launch of the European crypto to fiat exchange and other local initiatives. I have significant experience in the payment industry in Europe, with leadership roles in operations at companies including Paysafe and SysPay, focusing on building up a payment platform in line with regulatory and card scheme requirements.
“Our goal is to get to 100M users by 2023, which we moved up from our original forecast for 2025.”
Moving forward, what are the goals and challenges for Crypto.com in Europe for the subsequent 5 years?
Do you think we will find cryptocurrencies in every wallet in the future?
I hope so! I believe highly consumable, easy-to-use financial services like Crypto.com’s Visa card are helping streamline acceptance of crypto, as users continue to use these friendly tools as approachable onramps to learn more about the wonders crypto can deliver to them. And the 2020 bull run — driven by more interest from retail and institutional investors as well as emerging use cases such as DeFi and NFTs — accelerated crypto adoption to well over 100M users globally today.
Are people actually willing to spend their crypto? If not, when will they start spending it?
Absolutely! Every day more people are spending their crypto, driven by healthy returns on crypto investments over the past year and a growing ecosystem of places to spend crypto. More businesses today than ever before accept crypto payments for things like travel, retail, food, rent, even utility bills.
We’re seeing this spending increase across the Crypto.com platform as well; spending on our Visa card, the most widely available card of its kind in the world, grew 55% per user in 2020. We also saw a 117% increase in online spending relative to overall spending growth, notably for the categories of housing, household goods, groceries, and cross-border transactions.
“The value proposition of DeFi is to create trustless, permissionless, non-custodial financial services with low barriers to entry where participants have full control over their identity and assets.”
Do you think CeFi has more risks than DeFi?
Both have some risks. Users face counterparty risks when using CeFi and smart contract risks when using DeFi. However, CeFi projects often offer more stable fixed rates of return v.s. DeFi yields that are more volatile and can go any which way. That said, DeFi delivers on the promise of blockchain technology — giving users more control over their finances and removing it from a single central authority — in a way that CeFi, by definition, does not.
Do you believe DeFi offers the user more privacy than CeFi?
DeFi certainly offers more privacy than CeFi, particularly after the emergence of Layer 2 scalability solutions that utilise zero-knowledge proof to effectively provide an additional layer of privacy by obscuring transaction details while still leaving a sufficient and clear audit trail. End users have complete control over their money, privacy and data vs. a centralized authority like a bank.
“Together, CeFi and DeFi will foster more innovation and drive more adoption than either on their own.”
There’s a term for this, it’s called “Ce-DeFi” and it’s a blend of both models. CeFi enables distribution at scale to a large user base and can drive liquidity, while DeFi fosters rapid experimentation by leveraging a community of open-source developers and governance participants. Together, CeFi and DeFi will foster more innovation and drive more adoption than either on their own.
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Published June 29 2021, Barcelona