Senior product designer / cryptocurrency investor
Over the years, the explosion of the fintech sector has hinged on the adoption of dynamic technologies that improve on the core benefits of legacy systems while eliminating recurring issues. For every milestone achieved, there is always going to be implementations of new systems that can interface with the vastness of legacy financial networks and at the same time incorporate innovative solutions to agelong problems like speed and availability. This paradigm shift was necessary, considering the range of advancements recorded in the service delivery aspect of e-commerce and payment sectors where consumers are demanding secure, scalable, cheap, and globally accessible means of executing transactions.
Herein lies the factor propelling the growing acceptance of blockchain-powered infrastructures in the financial industry. Blockchain utilizes a unique architecture that enables all of the functionalities mentioned above, albeit in a transparent and decentralized system. Just as the TCP/IP protocol powers the internet, blockchain is the underlying infrastructure for the myriad of programmatic and immutable cryptocurrency networks and digital assets we have today, including Bitcoin. As a result of cryptocurrency’s inherent ability to enable cryptographic, censorship-resistant, cheap, and instant transactions, the innovation has shed unwanted labels to become one of the most viable models for the future global monetary system.
However, it is worth mentioning that regardless of the growing status of the cryptocurrency and blockchain landscape, there are still certain impediments that restrict the growth of this sector. Topping the list of factors limiting the mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrency is the perceived complexity of the technology and its associated systems. Remember that fintech’s success relies on the seamless interfacing of new technologies with legacy systems to ensure that everyone can incorporate and adapt to changes. For cryptocurrency, the lack or rareness of such implementations has not only discouraged new users but forced existing ones to opt for expensive and cumbersome means of utilizing digital assets for their everyday needs.
And so, it comes as no surprise that a burgeoning list of crypto-focused companies is working on introducing simple and seamless portals to establish the viability of digital assets as payment gateways. One of the companies at the forefront of this pursuit is Ternio, a global fintech platform focusing on enabling real-world utility for blockchain-powered infrastructures. At the core of the Ternio ecosystem is BlockCard, one of the products of the startup’s white-label payment card solutions that allow users to make online payments globally. BlockCard provides both virtual and physical debit card services that convert digital currencies to fiat at the point of payment.
More recently, it became the first crypto-focused enablement partner to join the Visa Fast Track program. With this, Ternio can provide other fintech services with quick access to Visa’s payment network.
Seeing that the core features and products of Ternio are integral to the mainstream success of blockchain, I decided to reach out to Daniel Gouldman, CEO & Co-Founder of Ternio, for more scoops on the modalities of the payment platform. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Edward Moon: How is Ternio contributing to the growing visibility and accessibility of digital currencies?
Daniel Gouldman: Crypto is going to change the world. A digital dollar on blockchain is better, faster and cheaper than the existing fintech/banking solutions. The big problem however is that you can’t use these digital dollars at Wal-Mart or McDonalds. And that’s where we come in. We make digital currency work in real world situations using debit cards and bank accounts. Ternio makes it so that cryptocurrency is just like any other money you deal with - whether it’s a digital dollar or Bitcoin. We do this with the Blockcard but also we whitelabel our technology so that other fintechs can connect the cryptocurrency/blockchain technology with traditional payments systems like debit cards and bank accounts.
At the core of the Ternio ecosystem is BlockCard, a crypto debit card solution. Tell us more about this offering and how it differs from alternatives.
BlockCard is special because it’s quickly becoming the standard for crypto enabled debit card capabilities. In 5 minutes - you can fund your account, do KYC, get access to a virtual card that you can plug into Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay and you’re able to pay for things funded by cryptocurrency. There is simply no fintech solution today that can compete with that in terms of speed and convenience. Customers of course receive the physical card in the mail after they order it; we currently accept 13 cryptocurrencies for deposit. Customers are able to withdraw their funds to their own personal crypto wallet if they wish; it’s a totally different, unique experience and I think it’s the future. Blockcard is really becoming crypto banking and you can expect to see many other services in the future.
Edward Moon: Apart from issuing BlockCard, Ternio runs a white-label payment solution for fintech. How does this work?
Daniel Gouldman: Well we’re very proud to be a Visa Fast Track Enablement Partner; this is a big deal for the crypto space because Visa has been very forward thinking and embraced cryptocurrency as a solution. We work with other fintechs - whether it’s the folks that Visa sends directly to us to help or just fintechs who reach out to us looking to offer a card program - and we provide them a fully plug and play solution that includes bank accounts, debit cards, a fully regulated flow of funds connecting services from 6 different banks and trusts. We’re a full fledged solution who will build a custom site or just provide APIs to connect our tech to theirs like with the Litecoin Foundation and Paxful for example. It’s complicated to build systems covering various geographies with different banking partners while also managing issues around fraud prevention and custodial security to ensure that everything just works, but that’s why I think our company is special.
Edward Moon: Ternio announced a partnership with Visa recently. What are the modalities of this integration, and how does it improve your offerings?
Daniel Gouldman: So yes we’re a Visa Fast Track Enablement Partner and this basically means that when Visa vets and approves certain fintechs - they’ll send them to us to help onboard them as quickly as possible. This puts us right alongside companies like Stripe, Green Dot, Galileo and other really top quality players in the payments industry; however - we’re very unique because out of the few companies that are enablement partners - we’re really the only one that’s crypto centric. I think this is a tremendous validation not only of our company, but also of Visa’s vision for the future relative to cryptocurrency. So it’s really a testament to them as they’re basically eating all of their competitors’ lunches right now relative to cryptocurrency in payments.
Edward Moon: How does the influx of incumbent payment networks in the crypto gateway sector impact the digital currency narrative?
Daniel Gouldman: I think it’s great. There’s a realization and understanding among the traditional banking sector that crypto is happening right now. Whether it’s Paypal or the OCC or Cash App - it’s happening. Bitcoin drives a lot of excitement to the industry, but the future of payments will be digital dollars. Bitcoin will be something that I hope everyone has some ownership in. But as we all know - there will only be 21 million Bitcoin so the reality is … there’s just not enough Bitcoin and that’s sort of the point. Central banks around the world are either looking at or actually in the process of converting to digital currencies. Issuers like USDC and lenders like BlockFi and Celsius are doing a better job in the marketplace than the traditional banking sector. It’s disrupting the entire banking industry and the banks don’t really know what to do about it. Consumers will win from all of this big time and I just hope that regulators are thoughtful in their regulations and are careful not to kill this beautiful baby while it's in the crib. Right now - regulators would do best to watch and learn and not overregulate which could lead to some very bad unintended consequences.
Edward Moon: As part of the white-label card solutions of Ternio, the platform powers the Litecoin Card program. Tell us more about this partnership?
Daniel Gouldman: We’re excited to work with the Litecoin Foundation because Litecoin is one of the most well known, most trusted and utilized digital assets in the world with a market cap of over $5 billion. Our aim is to make Litecoin tokens usable in the real world in a convenient way is both fun and also is very powerful. The cool thing is that your Litecoin stays in Litecoin until the moment of the transaction. This gives consumers more options if they change their mind to withdrawal to a personal wallet, trade for other crypto or just experiencing the gains and losses inherent within holding crypto.
Edward Moon: What other implementation should we expect from Ternio in the coming months?
Daniel Gouldman: We have some big news coming that I’m very excited about. Ultimately - we’re building a global banking platform for both individual users as well as businesses. You can expect a lot of innovation from us and a continuation of us doing things in the space that our competitors haven’t or won’t. We’re very crypto centric and I think banking will basically be forever tied to cryptocurrency at least for as long as I live.
Edward Moon: What are your thoughts on the burgeoning acceptance of crypto fintech amidst increased demand for improved payment infrastructure?
Daniel Gouldman: Crypto is the future. The existing systems we use for fintech and banking are basically 50 years old and are in need of an upgrade. Blockchain gives control to consumers in a way never before possible. Banks are going to have a very hard time adapting to this new world, but it’s happening irrespective of what their feelings are. Governments are having to adapt to this as well because there is nothing that can stop bitcoin and central banks around the world all recognize the benefits of blockchain technology even for central bank issued currencies. The future is digital money and the era of self-custody is upon us. The concept of someone being unbanked will seem quaint in the future.
Edward Moon: How can stakeholders fast track the global acceptance of digital currencies?
Daniel Gouldman: Everyone is interested in digital currencies because of the phenomenon of Bitcoin. But realistically - people will just find that it’s better, faster, cheaper and in the future people will interact with digital dollars and not even know it’s crypto. Large banks are doing it. Innovative fintechs are doing it. Governments are doing it. And certainly consumers all around the world are doing it.
Edward Moon: Will the emergence of central bank digital currencies impact crypto adoption?
Daniel Gouldman: Yes - that’s going to be the game changer because then every single transaction in a particular country will literally be in crypto. It will have so many advantages for consumers and other countries will see the benefits as well. Central bank digital currencies are the future of money. This is the way.
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