paint-brush
Fuse Co-Founder Mark Smargon on Revolutionizing the Financial Sector with Crypto Paymentsby@ishanpandey
565 reads
565 reads

Fuse Co-Founder Mark Smargon on Revolutionizing the Financial Sector with Crypto Payments

by Ishan PandeyFebruary 24th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript

Too Long; Didn't Read

Mark Smargon, co-founder of Fuse.io, talks to Ishan Pandey about his personal journey into the blockchain space. Mark discusses how Fuse is bringing financial freedom to everyone by allowing merchants and end-users to remove intermediaries and embrace crypto payments. He also explains how Fused is contributing to increasing mainstream adoption of Web3 technology.
featured image - Fuse Co-Founder Mark Smargon on Revolutionizing the Financial Sector with Crypto Payments
Ishan Pandey HackerNoon profile picture

In this interview, Ishan Pandey talks to Mark Smargon, co-founder of Fuse.io, about his personal journey into the blockchain space and how Fuse is revolutionizing the financial sector. Mark discusses how Fuse is bringing financial freedom to everyone by allowing merchants and end-users to remove intermediaries and embrace crypto payments. He also explains how Fuse is different from other Web3 trading platforms and how it is contributing to increasing mainstream adoption of Web3 technology.

Behind the Startup: How Fuse is driving mainstream adoption of Web3 payments technology

Ishan Pandey: Hi, Mark, great to have you here for our "Behind the Startup" series. Can you share with us a little about your personal journey and what led you to co-found Fuse.io?


Mark Smargon: I founded and ran companies since I was 14 and became involved with blockchain and DLT technology around 2014. My first undertaking in the blockchain space was the Colu project, which looked to build on top of the Bitcoin DLT for payments, which quickly became irrelevant with the advent of Ethereum and smart contracts. However, it introduced me to many pioneers in the space and sent me well and truly down the blockchain rabbit hole.


The Fuse blockchain is an EVM-compatible sidechain to Ethereum that offers lighting fast and cheap transactions while tapping into the underlying security of Ethereum. The blockchain is built for businesses but is ultimately use-case agnostic, while Charge provides a no-code platform and tooling to build and scale apps that can accept crypto payments.


I think blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies will gain mainstream acceptance and usage when driven by business adoption and not by individuals interacting with different blockchains. I'm also an advocate for decentralizing financial services to level the playing field and, more importantly, to open up new business models and opportunities for end users.


Vested Interest DisclosureThe author is an independent contributor publishing via our brand-as-author program. Be it through direct compensation, media partnerships, or networking. The author has a vested interest in the company/ies mentioned in this story. HackerNoon has reviewed the report for quality, but the claims herein belong to the author. #DYOR


Ishan Pandey: The concept behind Fuse is quite fascinating. Could you elaborate on how Fuse is revolutionizing the financial sector and bringing financial freedom to everyone?


Mark Smargon: Businesses currently accepting digital payments pay a premium for doing so to legacy providers while being restricted in what they can offer their customers. Fuse believes that scaling blockchain technology to mainstream audiences and billions of people worldwide can happen through the business adoption of crypto payments.


We provide a blockchain built for businesses and any use case with Fuse Network and all the necessary tooling and SDKs through our Charge Web3 development stack, such as account abstraction, wallets, and easy-to-build API tech.


In this way, we give merchants and end users financial freedom by letting them remove intermediaries and embrace crypto payments. More importantly, increasing efficiency, opening new markets, and cutting costs in an increasingly competitive landscape***.***


Ishan Pandey: There are several web3 trading platforms, but what sets Fuse apart? Also, we'd love to hear more about your exciting plans for the future of Fuse?


Mark Smargon: I wouldn't call Fuse a Web3 trading platform. Fuse has a specific Web3 and crypto payment stack via the Charge platform, but the Fuse Network is use case agnostic. Moreover, Fuse is a business-ready blockchain with secure, reliable, decentralized, scaleable tech that any business can deploy on - whether crypto, DeFi, games, real-life projects, or Web3 payments tech.


One key difference in Fuse is the availability of tooling tailored to business use cases and developers. Tools that let users build wallets quickly and integrate into current e-commerce setups while also being able to quickly on and off-ramp crypto to fiat. The bottom line is that we spent more than three years consulting and working with real-world businesses and have drawn several conclusions about which services do and don't need to be decentralized.


Another thing that sets us apart is that certain buzzwords like account abstraction and gasless transactions are starting to appear everywhere. Fuse has been championing this for over three years and already has working tech showcasing the power of these features through the Charge platform.


The future of blockchains will be very different from what we once thought. Users will not communicate directly with the blockchain but through businesses that will use this as a platform, just like they use the web today.


Ishan Pandey: Increasing mainstream adoption of web3 is essential for its growth. How is Fuse contributing to this, and what steps are you taking to ensure more people are aware of and can benefit from Fuse?


Mark Smargon: Currently, there are about 30 million users in the DeFi, and if we want to scale to billions of users, we need to change how people interact with the blockchain. We started doing this three years ago with a different approach to other blockchains.


On Fuse, we have operators, which are companies that build services and tools and do the legwork and operations businesses need to launch fast, avoid expensive licensing, attract a global audience and develop digital experiences that can scale. In essence, operators need to be able to provide the same level of service as a traditional bank or digital money service to businesses without being a bank. They need to do this globally, in every jurisdiction, and in every city if they want anyone with a mobile device to be able to access the technology.


We are currently planning an extensive marketing campaign focused on attracting new operators into the ecosystem via Charge. We are completely overhauling our communications strategy and content goals to bring new eyeballs to the network and showcase what it offers. Moreover, we will not engage in short-term techniques or temporary fame. We are building for the future.


Another firm belief is that mobile is the future of adopting crypto payments or money more broadly. Fuse from the start, focused on mobile adoption. A superpower in our value proposition is enabling access to mobile apps or non-custodial mobile wallet development through Charge. We are positioned to help any Web2 company wishing to leap into Web3, and more importantly, we can help them save time and money and reduce friction.


Ishan Pandey: Web3 technology is poised to impact the banking sector significantly. In your opinion, what will happen to the traditional banking system with the advent of web3?


Mark Smargon: The internet transformed all verticals. However, one of the most complex sectors to disrupt is banking. We see a push toward digital payments, especially in the last ten years and since the onset of COVID-19. But generally, payments today are completed using infrastructure built before the internet.


The current situation means people expect certain things from a bank. However, there are many things that nonbanks will do in the future. The technology is very transformational because it enables the creation of new banking products and business models. Having worked closely with businesses these past few years, we realized that the world is hungry for new business models, especially online companies.


We know the internet revolutionized advertising and brought cloud-based services, but it hasn’t disrupted banking yet. Moreover, we don’t see big players like VISA and Mastercard disappearing from the banking sector. We see an evolution occurring that we play a direct role in.


Ishan Pandey: With the rapid advancements in AI and its integration into web3 technology, how do you see this impacting society? What role will Fuse play in this changing landscape?


Mark Smargon: Artificial intelligence allows us to multiply our intelligence and scale tasks beyond traditional barriers. Institutions rely on data to make decisions, and AI can only enhance the speed at which data can be crunched and decisions reached. Additionally, institutions and regulators make decisions based on historical data and take action in retrospective ways.


Due to the levels of transparency, blockchains can offer macroeconomic data in real-time, which central banks never had access to. Using distributed ledgers, we can track spending and the velocity of a currency, while understanding capital location and distribution could be more efficient. It's a game changer and set to transform the global economy radically.


Ishan Pandey: The recent FTX debacle has caused quite a stir in the industry. What are your thoughts on this, and how do you see this impacting the development of web3 technology and the formal economy?


Mark Smargon: In the last few years, we have seen many people enter the space with a traditional finance background who were not trying to understand the technology and build on top of it or push the envelope regarding new business models. FTX was not doing anything innovative and didn't use the technology for its highest purpose.


Instead, I see effort poured into social experiments and financial engineering, and I’m not the biggest fan. In my opinion, the fact that we don't have FTX is good for the ecosystem and, more importantly, highlights the need for decentralization further.


Ishan Pandey: CBDCs have been making waves in the financial industry. Can you share your thoughts on how CBDCs will impact the world economy and what role Fuse will play in this new landscape?


Mark Smargon: The finance industry is more interested in understanding how to regulate stablecoins, and CBDCs are a way to do that. However, central banks were not good at building retail products and were especially bad at building retail products for consumers. Therefore, the best-case scenario for a CBDC is a back-office product, like they offer today, and not consumer-facing.


China is developing something consumer-facing, but it's a different story as their central bank is used to building and regulating centralized consumer-facing products. Western central banks are more risk-averse and usually look for off-the-shelf products or examples. They don’t experiment too much, plus they don't have the development experience to conceive, launch and tweak consumer-facing products fast.


I think that stablecoins can solve the last mile problem, and significantly, anything that the central banks do will heavily depend on the design of the stablecoin. This is an excellent thing as it means the two industries can work in parallel, and if you look at the Chinese CBDC, you will see that it's a dual system that is theoretically blockchain agnostic.


Don’t forget to like and share the story!