The transcript is from a panel discussion titled “(1685) On/Off Ramps” on YouTube. The panelists are founders from different teams that provide cash in and cash out capabilities in various markets. The moderator encourages the audience to ask questions and sets the stage for an interactive session.
The panel begins with each panelist introducing themselves and their respective companies:
- Franco from Koburu Cobra, a payment gateway and digital wallet in Colombia that enables buying and selling with multiple payment methods, including credit cards, cash, and crypto.
- Cumbi, CEO of Alpha Fortress, introduces Swap Bitser, a global exchange for stablecoins that allows users to swap stablecoins for local fiat in over 50 countries.
- Felix Merceria, CEO and co-founder of KotaniPay, presents KotaniPay as a technology stack that enables access to blockchain financial services and the sending and receiving of stablecoins without the need for the internet, smartphones, or bank accounts.
- Shinon Sipnevic, co-founder and CEO of Ramp, discusses their mission to build a global access layer to Web3, providing a frictionless experience for users to buy and sell crypto easily through their website, wallet app, or other platforms.
The panelists share their origin stories and describe how they identified market opportunities and expanded their services:
- Shinon from Ramp recounts his journey into the crypto space during the ICO boom of 2017 and realizing the lack of infrastructure and user-friendly on-ramps in the industry. This led him to start Ramp, which now operates in 160 countries, aiming to be the frictionless experience for web3 users.
- Cumbi of Alpha Fortress explains how their origin story began as node validators for proof-of-stake blockchains, where they discovered the disconnection between blockchain technology and everyday interfaces in Africa. They started KotaniPay to bridge this gap, enabling users to create accounts and perform cash in and cash out operations via SMS and USSD interfaces connected to the blockchain.
- Franco from Koburu Cobra discusses the need for digital payments in Colombia, where most transactions still involve cash. They introduced crypto payments and Bitcoin Lightning Network support in their platform, enabling Colombians to buy goods and services using Bitcoin and Celo Dollars.
The panelists highlight the challenges they face and their plans for the future:
- Shinon emphasizes the challenge of navigating regulations and constantly pushing boundaries to provide services in both structured and unstructured markets. They aim to achieve redundancy and resilience by obtaining licenses in multiple continents and building reliable infrastructure.
- Cumbi emphasizes the importance of usability and reliability in their services. They strive to make stablecoin usage easy for local users, provide liquidity to the Celo ecosystem, and ensure users can trust their preferred payment methods.
- Franco shares the challenge of regulatory limitations and the need to constantly adapt to changing regulations. They plan to continue educating people about digital payments and expand their presence in markets where cash transactions are predominant.
The panel concludes with a discussion on future business models and the need for vertical integration:
- Cumbi predicts that on-ramp platforms will need to move beyond fee-based models and expand into lending and savings products. They see themselves as value-added service providers in the financial transaction space.
- Shinon suggests that vertical integration will be necessary but not necessarily by adding wallet functionality. He references examples like TransferWise, which started with foreign exchange and later expanded into being a neobank. Adaptation and integration with other financial services will be key to survive in the industry.