Cryptocurrency has evolved considerably over the past decade, but in many ways, it’s still an emerging technology. That means crypto newcomers face several challenges when orienting themselves to the marketplace, from learning about wallets to understanding each exchange interface. Voyager is one startup that hopes to address these challenges by acting not as an exchange, but a unified crypto asset broker made for every investor.
In this episode of OK Let’s Chat, Alex sat down with Voyager’s CMO Steve Capone to discuss cryptocurrency’s ongoing development and how broker solutions can make the difference for all users.
You can listen to our entire conversation above, but here are a few highlights:
Everything is going to be a digital asset
Steve first started his career in digital media when Google and Facebook were the world’s new rising stars. He found himself right in the middle of a new wave of emergent technology — one that would completely transform the way we consume media. Over time, Steve became convinced that the world of finance would follow a similar trajectory towards increased digitization. Cryptocurrency seems to be proving him right.
“Everything is going to be a digital asset, whether it’s registered as a security or whether it’s deemed a utility or currency,” Steve told us. “We don’t call an MP3 an MP3 anymore, we just call it a song … I firmly believe there are so many benefits to how equities can clear faster, how the process of custody and clearing can be so much more simplified in compliance with public securities.”
More crypto companies should prioritize usability
For almost a decade, blockchain experts have been claiming that cryptocurrency will only thrive once it achieves mainstream adoption. In light of this, one might expect crypto startups to do more to help non-technical users feel comfortable with their functions. However, according to Steve, Voyager is one of the few to address these concerns with a user-friendly mobile app. As he notes, crypto has a long way to go.
“If we all want Bitcoin to be back where it was, for the markets to have a surge again, and frankly just for there to be more adoption … we need these newcomers to come into the market,” Steve explained. “Dealing with private keys and QR codes are just not necessarily the thing that the traditional equities or even options trader may be used to.
“So there’s just a lot of work that the industry as a whole has to do and test to figure out how we make this user experience a little bit more accessible. Before we create power users, can they access it? Are we not just scaring them away?”
The road to mainstream adoption is well-regulated
Part of what’s blocking adoption is the issue of crypto regulation. Since there is so little regulatory guidance on the subject, most risk-averse companies are playing it safe with crypto investments. The result is an ecosystem that scared Facebook’s partners away from its Libra project. And as long as Paypal and Visa refuse to work with crypto, it’s likely the general public will remain apprehensive.
“The regulatory framework is still unclear,” Steve continued. “I don’t know the answer, but it’s really hard for the space to evolve or for individual consumers and investors to know ‘Is this a space I should play in?’ when even some of the largest companies in the world are see-sawing on how they’re getting involved.
“I think the regulators — in addition to partnering with larger brands and companies, whether it be a Facebook or other financial institutions — can offer a little more clarity and comfort because I think we’re scaring people off a little bit. But frankly, overall the reason as to why I’m bullish is because when those things do happen, we’re in a whole new world.”
We’d like to thank Steve for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.