BitStarz Exclusive Interview with Skrill CEO Lorenzo Pellegrino
- Demand for simplistic crypto trading platforms is booming following Bitcoin’s booming all-time high of last December.
- “Connecting the dots between cryptocurrencies and traditional money in an efficient and user-friendly manner is the achievement necessary to take the next step forward for cryptocurrencies” said Lorenzo Pellegrino in an exclusive interview with BitStarz News.
- Skrill provides users from around the globe with a fast, safe, and simplistic platform to buy, hodl, and sell cryptocurrencies
At BitStarz News, we always go the extra mile to get you the most exclusive news and interviews. Today, one of our writers – Alex Meears – spoke with Skrill CEO Lorenzo Pellegrino (LP). Lorenzo has been the driving force behind Skrill’s new crypto trading platform, so it’s safe to say that he has plenty to say.
Following the meteoric rise in the price of Bitcoin and most alt coins during December 2017, crypto is on the mind of almost everyone. To this extent, the demand for simplistic crypto trading platforms is booming. According to reports, Skrill is out to fill that void by giving users a user-friendly and quick way to get their hands on crypto.
AM: What drove Skrill to enter the crypto trading market?
LP: Digital money and cryptocurrencies have a lot in common; characteristics that were once solely attributable to digital money are now also shared by cryptocurrencies, so it is a natural fit for experts in digital money such as Skrill to be interested in the cryptocurrency space.
More generally, we are excited about the growth potential in the crypto industry, and the huge amount of investment in technology as well as overall innovation in the crypto space.
As digital finance leaders we believe that Skrill can play a significant role in this evolution and create value, for the industry and consequently the world of consumers. Connecting the dots between cryptocurrencies and traditional money in an efficient and user-friendly manner is the achievement necessary to take the next step forward for cryptocurrencies, and Skrill is in a great position to facilitate that.
AM: I know it is still early days for your crypto offering, but who would you say your biggest competitor is at this point?
LP: We are still in the very early stages of allowing users to interact with cryptocurrencies on the Skrill platform – with the exception of allowing consumers to deposit into their wallet using Bitcoin which has been a functionality for some time.
The new functionality that we have recently launched, [it] allows customers to buy cryptocurrencies with fiat currency on the platform, and then sell that cryptocurrency and get back fiat currency – if they choose to do so. Skrill users in every market can quickly deposit into their wallets through multiple deposit options in addition to bank cards, such as bank transfers. This means consumers can finance their trading of crypto in the way that suits their individual preferences.
However, this is just the first step on our cryptocurrency journey. There are other wallets and start-ups that currently offer a similar product, but the differentiator for Skrill is that we plan to offer a much greater breadth of services very soon. Thanks to our industry-leading KYC tools we also have the capability to bring on board new user quickly and safely, which is another strong differentiator for us.
As we add more functionalities, we will have other players in the space to view as competition, but perhaps not a single competitor that can offer all the functionalities we will provide.
AM: Do you envisage Skrill’s cryptocurrency offering primarily being an instant payment platform like Revolut, or a fully-fledged cryptocurrency exchange such as Coinbase?
LP: The natural philosophy and objectives for Skrill always revolve around enabling consumers to use their money, including cryptocurrencies, easily, and instantly. So – in that sense – adding features to the service that provides a better user experience is definitely part of the plan moving forward. Becoming an exchange is also a possibility. As we gain traction and knowledge in the space more opportunities will present themselves. Nothing is impossible or off the table as things stand.
AM: Do you have a target date for when users of the new function can interact with merchants using cryptocurrencies?
LP: The first step is to complete the rollout of the current crypto trading functionality. We still need to implement the function on our mobile app, we also plan to expand the rollout to more countries, and so on.
Enabling people to use their crypto-funds directly is definitely in the pipeline, but we are still determining how to prioritize the next phase of development as there are other functions in the same pipeline as well. It is important to note though that even with the current functionality customers can exchange any cryptocurrency they hold immediately back into a fiat with only one click, and then use that money via Skrill at any merchant directly, or via the Skrill Prepaid Mastercard. So, in one sense you can already use crypto to make purchases almost instantaneously with Skrill – and we are working on improving this experience and making it even more seamless.
AM: Will your payments change crypto into fiat before transacting, or will they remain crypto throughout the process?
LP: That can depend on many factors. Both are an option, but the ultimate objective is for such payments to happen in crypto and remain in crypto throughout the entire payment process.
AM: How are user’s wallets secured? Are they all hot wallets or do you have cold storage also?
LP: As of now users can essentially buy an interest into an underlying crypto asset through Skrill. We do not offer crypto wallets to users, and they do not own the cryptocurrency. We do this through partnerships with the biggest and most reputable providers that are updating our crypto/fiat balances in real time and storing our crypto assets. This enables us to manage our own risk, whilst allowing our customers to safely gain exposure to the currencies we have enabled – BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, with just one click. They do not need to setup wallets personally, which is important as this can be a block for many people.
AM: When will users be able to transfer crypto in and out from the Skrill wallet?
LP: This is an essential capability, which we definitely have plans to introduce to the wallet within the short to mid-term.
AM: What advice would you give to people who are hesitant to engage with cryptocurrencies?
LP: Blockchain technology carries so much excitement and promise for the future of finance, and cryptocurrencies are an up-and-coming asset class characterized by high volatility. Be cautious and make sure you understand the assets, and if you decide to invest, do it with Skrill!
The demand for user-friendly crypto trading platforms is increasing with every passing day. As more companies start utilizing blockchain technology, the underlying cryptocurrencies will slowly become more mainstream, causing more people around the globe to want to get involved. User-friendly crypto trading platforms like Skrill give relatively novice crypto users a foothold in the lucrative crypto markets.
Traditional financial institutions are slowly starting to embrace the crypto world, and exchanges are joining in. The owner of the NYSE has announced plans to create a federally regulated Bitcoin exchange and the Boerse Stuttgart has just announced crypto and ICO trading on its new mobile application.
Want more crypto info? Stay tuned to BitStarz News for more exclusive interviews with industry experts and top news stories!