Digital Digital Payments Interviews

Global Fintech Interview with Juha Viitala, CEO at Membrane Finance and EUROe Project

Global Fintech Interview with Juha Viitala, CEO at Membrane Finance and EUROe Project

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what your fintech journey with the Finnish company has been like so far?

I am a technology enthusiast who has been passionate about the internet and fintech since the late 1980s when I got my first modem. My fascination with the evolution of fintech has led me to closely follow the rise of blockchain and decentralization over the past seven years. Over the last two years, I have worked with a Finnish fintech company to build a digital money infrastructure for decentralized markets and other fintech organizations.

Our most recent project, EUROe, is the first EU-regulated EMI (Electronic Money Institution) based stablecoin or e-money token. We believe that this innovation will open up a world of exciting use cases for fintech companies in the coming years. Our journey so far has been a thrilling and fulfilling experience, as we work towards reshaping the financial landscape through cutting-edge technology and innovations.

Recently you have partnered to make EUROe with German Gaia-X integrator deltaDAO. Could you please share your strategy?

Our partnership with deltaDAO, a German Gaia-X integrator, is a strategic move designed to capitalize on the growing European Data Economy. Gaia-X is a crucial component in unlocking the potential of currently inaccessible data silos, which will enable the development of new products, data-driven insights, and data monetization opportunities. As the EU data services market is expected to reach a total addressable market (TAM) of 829 billion EUR by 2025, our goal is to establish EUROe as the preferred euro-denominated instrument for settling transactions within this ecosystem.

Our collaboration with deltaDAO aims to leverage the power of Gaia-X to facilitate millions of daily transactions on the network, thus playing a vital role in enabling data services across Europe. By providing a secure and stable euro-nominated payment solution, we plan to support the growth of the European Data Economy while fostering innovation and new business opportunities within the fintech sector.

Also Read: Global FinTech Interview with Stefan Rust, CEO at Laguna Labs

Could you please make our readers understand some more about Gaia-X GEN-X network?

Gaia-X is an ambitious initiative to create a secure, federated, and open data infrastructure for Europe. It consists of multiple interoperable ecosystems that follow Gaia-X principles. GEN-X, the network for the web3 ecosystem of Gaia-X, is currently the only network integrated with the Gaia-X Trust Framework, providing a practical implementation of the Gaia-X vision.

The primary goal of GEN-X is to establish an easy-to-access, interoperable network of data providers who adhere to similar rules, regulations, and governance structures. This ensures that data exchange within the ecosystem is seamless and secure while still adhering to the highest data protection and privacy standards.

By fostering collaboration and data sharing among various stakeholders, GEN-X enables data-driven innovation, improved efficiency, and the creation of new business opportunities. In essence, the GEN-X network plays a pivotal role in materializing the Gaia-X vision of a unified and robust European data infrastructure that empowers businesses and promotes technological advancements.

How is Artificial Intelligence playing its role for your company? What more are you expecting out of the tech domain?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in our company’s operations and future plans, particularly as we navigate the evolving data economy. AI algorithms require vast amounts of data, and Gaia-X, with its industry-specific models, provides an ideal platform for building such algorithms.

In our day-to-day operations, we utilize AI tools to assist with various tasks, including practical design, planning, strategy development, process optimization, and content creation. By automating and enhancing these tasks, AI allows us to focus on innovation and more strategic objectives.

As we move forward, we anticipate even more applications for AI within our company and the wider fintech domain. We expect advancements in AI to enable more efficient and accurate decision-making, better risk assessment, enhanced fraud detection, and improved customer experiences. Moreover, AI will play a crucial role in analyzing and extracting valuable insights from the vast amounts of data available through the Gaia-X ecosystem, driving innovation and the creation of new products and services.

How has the cross-border settlement process become far leaner and more affordable with stablecoins and tech?

The cross-border settlement process has been revolutionized by stablecoins and technological advancements, making it leaner and more affordable than ever before. Traditional cross-border transactions are often time-consuming and expensive, involving multiple intermediaries and incurring high fees. However, stablecoins and innovative tech solutions have addressed these issues in several ways:

  • Faster transactions: Blockchain technology and stablecoins enable near-instantaneous cross-border transfers, significantly reducing the time required for transaction settlement.
  • Lower costs: By eliminating or reducing the need for intermediaries, stablecoins facilitate a more direct and efficient transaction process, resulting in lower fees for cross-border settlements.
  • Increased transparency: Blockchain-based stablecoins offer greater transparency through an open, distributed ledger. This allows for real-time tracking of transactions and reduces the possibility of errors or fraud.
  • Enhanced security: Decentralized technology and cryptographic methods ensure that transactions are secure and tamper-proof, minimizing risks associated with traditional cross-border settlement processes.
  • Improved accessibility: Stablecoins and digital wallets make cross-border transactions more accessible to individuals and businesses worldwide, regardless of their access to traditional banking services.

Overall, the introduction of stablecoins and technological advancements have streamlined the cross-border settlement process, making it faster, more cost-effective, and more secure than traditional methods. This, in turn, has the potential to foster greater global economic collaboration and financial inclusion.

What has been the most challenging thing for closing the gap between traditional financial markets and crypto ecosystems?

One of the most challenging aspects of bridging the gap between traditional financial markets and crypto ecosystems has been addressing the limitations of conventional fiat-based payment systems. Traditional fiat rails often involve multiple parties and intermediaries, making money transfers slow and expensive. In contrast, blockchain-based transactions significantly improve speed, finality, and cost.

As a financial technology company, Membrane Finance is dedicated to developing financial software and services that seamlessly link traditional financial infrastructure with blockchain-based solutions. We anticipate that traditional finance and decentralized finance will merge in the coming years, creating what we call a “hybrid market.”

To successfully close the gap, we must overcome a few key challenges:

  • Regulatory compliance: Ensuring that blockchain-based financial services meet the regulatory requirements of various jurisdictions while still delivering the benefits of decentralization.
  • Interoperability: Developing systems allowing seamless interaction between traditional finance and blockchain-based platforms, enabling smooth, frictionless transactions.
  • Education and awareness: Encouraging widespread understanding and adoption of blockchain and crypto solutions among businesses, consumers, and regulators.
  • Security and risk management: Ensuring blockchain-based systems maintain the highest levels of security and risk mitigation, instilling trust in these new financial instruments.
  • By addressing these challenges, we aim to facilitate the transition from traditional fiat rails to more efficient blockchain-based solutions, ultimately creating a more inclusive and efficient global financial system.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Brandon Spear, CEO at TreviPay

Your predictions for web3 ecosystem.

As a strong advocate for the web3 ecosystem, I foresee several significant developments that will reshape how traditional businesses operate and make market participation more accessible, inclusive, and equitable. Here are a few predictions for the web3 ecosystem:

  • Decentralization and disintermediation: The shift towards decentralized structures will remove intermediaries from various industries, resulting in lower costs, increased efficiency, and more direct connections between market participants.
  • Enhanced privacy and data ownership: Web3 technologies will empower individuals with greater control over their data, ensuring higher levels of privacy and enabling users to have a say in how their data is used and monetized.
  • Tokenization of assets: The tokenization of real-world assets, such as real estate, art, and intellectual property, will create new opportunities for fractional ownership, improving liquidity and broadening access to a diverse range of investment opportunities.
  • Democratization of finance: Decentralized finance (DeFi) will continue to grow, offering accessible financial services to individuals and businesses worldwide, regardless of their access to traditional banking services.
  • Incentive alignment and fair compensation: Web3 will enable more equitable distribution of rewards and compensation among parties involved in various market activities, fostering collaboration and promoting the development of more sustainable business models.
  • The emergence of new business models: As web3 technology matures, we can expect to see the rise of innovative business models that leverage decentralized networks, smart contracts, and token-based incentives to drive user engagement and value creation.
  • Increased adoption and integration: As more businesses and individuals recognize the benefits of web3, we can expect increased adoption and integration of web3 technologies across various industries and sectors.

Ultimately, the web3 ecosystem has the potential to revolutionize traditional business models, promote a more inclusive and fair market, and empower individuals with greater control over their data and assets. The future of web3 is promising, and its impact on our world will be transformative.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Sarah Idahosa, Founder at WomenInDeFi

Thank you, Juha! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To share your insights with us, please write to]

With over two decades of expertise in crafting complex digital solutions, products, and novel services across diverse industries, I have spent the last seven years tackling the most challenging issues by leveraging decentralized technologies and tapping into the power of ecosystems.

I am currently dedicated to constructing the European digital money infrastructure, bridging the gap between traditional and decentralized finance and fostering seamless integration between the two realms.

As the co-author of “Blockchain: Roadmap for Leaders,” I bring extensive experience in enterprise blockchain, digital and business strategy, innovation, and startup mentoring. I excel in navigating the intersections of business, technology, human-centered design, and innovation.

A seasoned globetrotter, mountaineer, and Ironman, my ventures have led me to found or co-found ten companies across multiple locations, including Finland, the UK, Latvia, and the US.

Membrane Finance Logo

Founded in 2021 in Finland, Membrane Finance is a financial technology company specializing in the development of financial software and services that seamlessly link traditional financial infrastructure and blockchain-based services. Membrane Finance is the principal architect of EUROe – an EU-regulated, full-reserve euro stablecoin that brings fiat euro liquidity on-chain. Membrane Finance’s mission is to foster financial innovation and inclusion on the blockchain by developing an ecosystem of secure money infrastructure, user-friendly applications and stablecoin-related services.

EUROe Logo

EUROe is the only EU-based stablecoin and payment network to be regulated as an electronic money institution in the European Union. Based in Finland, a leading European hub for technology & regulatory stability, EUROe is being built for tomorrow’s businesses today.

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