While the modern banking system continuously makes an attempt to fight numerous drawbacks infesting the file of finance, the process of transformation of decades-long bureaucratic banking institutions is incredibly time-consuming and laborious.
Some of them, like JP Morgan and Citi, have already made an attempt to incorporate and develop online banking based on blockchain; other non-financial institutions with banking licenses (similar to Revolut) have made significant progress in the field of cryptocurrency, so far accommodating a growing number of investment options allowing to convert crypto to cash instantly – and vice versa.
While they strive to overturn the predominantly conservative economic model based on centralization is shared among many banks, even the successful attempts of financial institutions - like the introduction of Digital Yuan - are still unlikely to compete with the success of 100%-independent DeFi exchanges.
On a quest for an expert who would be able to give me an insider’s view on what’s going on in the niche of Decentralized Finance, I reached out to Mr. Grygoriy Sytenko, the CEO of crypto wallet OWNR Wallet.
In the course of our interview, we raised the question of financial data ownership, consumer rights in the world of decentralization, advantages of frontline technologies, and the future of banking after blockchain’s technological takeover.
1. What are the main obstacles you encountered while trying to license a Visa card for a non-banking startup focusing on a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange?
First, the constantly changing regulatory framework caused a lot of difficulties while trying to follow all the updates. That also includes the updating for restricted countries list that also caused inconveniences for our clients. Besides, there were some technical issues concerning card transactions and balance statuses. The technical side of this process is not the same as the one with crypto transactions.
Another difficulty appeals to the safety of funds that our users can send to us. Since we can only accept approved cryptocurrencies for exchanging and card top-up, not all coins are suitable for this process. Some coins cannot be checked via AML bot or similar tools. However, most of the problems, such as high fees for withdrawing in ATMs, can be seen only after they appear, when the clients contact us through support.
2. When opting for the DeFi ecosystem instead of traditional banking, what are the features consumers seek most? Is the current stage of development of DeFi able to satisfy their demands?
When somebody looks for a decentralized application (DApp), they want it to execute its transaction on the underlying blockchain as fast as possible. Most people will not wait for long for their order or request to be settled.
We think that DeFi is still in the early stages of its evolution, and while we are not expecting it to meet every consumer demand at present, we believe that it has many features that can satisfy some of the individual requirements of consumers.
The main feature which attracts the users is an easy onboarding process since DeFi is all about decentralization. Moreover, DeFi is a way for users to get their profits faster compared to other technologies.
3. What, in your opinion, are the pitfalls of the conventional banking system that eventually gave birth and pushed forward the development of decentralized finance with its applications?
Internal financial processes such as liquidity and cash flow, which manage the corporate transactions of large enterprises, are either opaque or of limited visibility in conventional banking systems.
These processes work in tandem inside an institutional bank to ultimately decide whether to approve or deny a transaction. As most banks and FinTechs only consider a limited set of conditions and logic, it limits room for considering emerging trends and geopolitical statuses, which might require additional conditional logic and would be expensive to implement in an institutional bank's legacy system.
In one sentence, the banking system is hard to work with, considering its inflexibility while talking about changes and innovations.
4. In your view, in the absence of proper regulatory passage yet outlining the consumer rights, can users count on any kind of legal support in case of theft or fraud?
Customers need to accept the fact that all the responsibilities are down only to them. That is why we suggest users carefully investigate the institution the customers are going to work with. That includes finding out the information about entity ownership and the legal status, for example. The users can check the licenses provided by the company or read the reviews and articles at well-known news media.
We believe that both service providers and domestic and international regulatory bodies will do their best to not only protect consumer assets on a case-by-case basis but also to establish their own guidelines and requirements for protecting the financial assets of the service providers and the users.
5. How did the data policy change with the arrival of decentralized banking? Can we say that consumers are now fully in charge of their data – or is it an overstated promise?
The need for consumer privacy is still essential, even in the area of DeFi. In the place of centralized institutions, the DeFi operators ultimately control what kind of data they collect into their system. DeFi offers a couple of degrees of freedom to consumers, but when organizations are involved, it must be augmented with data protection laws as well.
6. How does DeFi differ from FinTech – and where does the edge between them lay? Which one would eventually lead the game?
FinTech and DeFi operate with different sets of requirements, which implies that there is no preference over one another. While DeFi makes open and transparent the conditions of transaction approval, a fintech is mainly responsible for providing the banking systems and services necessary for it to become a target for a transaction in the first place. In this sense, DeFi fits congruently with fintech on most financial projects.
Fintech has a very broad meaning that includes a lot of different tools. However, not all of the tools can be used for making profits. It can simply be a convenient and legit tool for professionals, made by professionals.
7. With Bitcoin conquering another summit for the first time since May, how do you see the field of cryptocurrency moving forward? Do you envisage any broader practical application in this asset class?
We see many cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies and protocols emerging to fill the gaps in Bitcoin's shortcomings - such as slow transaction time - and, more importantly, the needs of groups of consumers who want to use them. This is a very encouraging sign because it means the broader blockchain community is constantly working on resolutions for design flaws that are found.
We are planning to support the most advanced coins and blockchains, for example, Solano, that does not duplicate Bitcoin's leaps. Moreover, its technology is much more advanced than that of 10-year-old blockchains.
8. Generally speaking, what are the tips anyone should follow while selecting a cryptocurrency wallet? Anything novices should particularly focus on?
The best wallets are the ones that have adequate security practices in place to safeguard user deposits and balances. It must be able to safeguard against zero-day vulnerabilities and also from phishing - which is increasingly becoming a big problem for wallet developers.
The most secure wallets are the non-custodial ones since the keys and the seed phrases are kept only by the client. Other custodial solutions only imply an account with email and password and cannot guarantee full security.
9. How would you characterize your product to anyone who has never heard of blockchain and decentralization? What are the features making Wallet stand out on the market?
Cryptocurrency ecosystems, such as OWNR wallet, are like sustainable neighborhoods; you don’t need to leave one to get access to everything you need for life. Within one system, you can have a non-custodial hot wallet, a built-in exchange for trading, prepaid Visa cards, and high levels of security and comfort. All of these are available at any time, on your device, and most importantly, the interface is easy to use.
Speaking of our ecosystem, we note the following:
10. What are the crucial elements of the OWNR Wallet ecosystem everyone should learn about? How are you planning to take them further in the future?
All in one wallet - that’s all of the information you need to know about OWNR Wallet because it covers most cryptocurrency and fiat transactions, and all of these are available in one app at any time. We have created an intuitive and secure tool using which customers can send, store, exchange, sell and withdraw the most popular cryptocurrencies; just install the application on your device.
Soon, our ecosystem will be updated with such products as:
The author does not have any vested interest in the projects mentioned above.
The opinions in this article belong to the author alone. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before making any investment decisions.
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