Jess Houlgrave, head of crypto strategy at fintech Checkout.com, shares her perspective on the payment processing space in the bear market.
Speaking at Token2049, an annual crypto conference held in Singapore and London, Houlgrave touched on regulations and how crypto companies are using the bear market to answer essential questions about payments and profitability.
“They’re kind of asking us, okay, like, what should we be doing? How do we set up our payments right?” she said.
Houlgrave served as Checkout.com’s chief of staff for two years and is a member of the Bank of England CBDC Engagement Forum.
Checkout.com allows merchants to accept credit card or alternative payments through fiat on-ramps and off-ramps.
Stablecoins used as a payment settlement layer
The company recently developed a stablecoin settlement feature to allow companies like Crypto.com to offer their clients the option of paying with a credit card. Checkout.com gets the funds from Visa or MasterCard and exchanges the funds into a stablecoin before settling with the merchant on crypto payment rails.
“So that was like that fast crypto native product, which has been really successful actually, and we’ve got lots of merchants using it.”
While the company has served Web2 clients like Netflix, Checkout.com has become a favorite destination for 12 of the top 15 crypto exchanges. Crypto.com, Binance, and a few NFT marketplaces have enlisted the company’s services.
The company is also exploring whether Web2 companies would be interested in using crypto rails to settle payments. But, Houlgrave said, companies that are not crypto native would have to wait for a bank wire to convert the stablecoins into fiat, negating the advantages of using crypto payment rails. Only merchants that can, for example, pay suppliers directly in USDC are showing interest.
“I don’t think it’s going to take over the payment industry,” she admitted.
UK stablecoin payments regulation encouraging
On regulation, she is optimistic. “I think that is in most places there’s great progress being made, whether that like in the U.K. around how stablecoins will fall into the regulatory perimeter from a payments perspective.”
However, she acknowledged that challenges still abound, especially as regulators come to terms with the new technology and its implications for customer protection.
“We have an opportunity, and I think our responsibility as an industry to engage in a positive way with those regulators to educate them and help them because most regulators don’t have interest in like shutting down innovation.”
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