GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder at CRUXPay
“Crypto payments have the potential to disrupt modern banking systems in terms of transparency, mobility, ease-of-use, speed and most importantly inclusion,” says Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder of fintech company CRUXPay. Find out more about how blockchain, crytocurrency and other emerging technologies are set to change the future of fintech in this latest interview:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Ashish, how has your journey as a fintech entrepreneur been so far, what have been some of the biggest highlights and biggest challenges in your entrepreneurial journey in fintech so far?
I am the co-founder and CEO of CRUXPay and CoinSwitch.co. CoinSwitch is the worldwide aggregator of cryptocurrency exchanges, providing users with the most competitive rates in the market. CRUXPay, built by the CoinSwitch team, is an open, decentralised protocol that enables users to create a human-readable ID (CRUX ID) and link all their blockchain addresses in one wallet.
Personally, I am a developer at heart. I have won almost all major hackathons in India including Sequoia hack, Amazon Srujan, and Google Code for India. As a true developer, I am naturally inclined not to accept the status quo and always try to find newer, better solutions to real world problems. It was curiosity which first introduced me to crypto in 2013, but as I learned more I started seeing it as a potential solution to some of the core problems of traditional fintech systems. Since 2016, I have been building products to help simplify crypto and CoinSwitch was born as a result of the same. I saw a problem which I thought could be solved in a far better way than the available means at the time, and in 2019 I went on to found CRUXPay, too.
We’d love to know your thoughts on how blockchain and crypto will disrupt the fintech industry over time.
Crypto payments have the potential to disrupt modern banking systems in terms of transparency, mobility, ease-of-use, speed and most importantly inclusion. It’s low peripheral costs makes it the right instrument for providing financial access for all and democratising the way a financial system should behave. Complicated user experience though is definitely something that acts as a bit of a damper for adoption of crypto payments today, and that is exactly what we are solving for with CRUXPay.
Blockchain on the other hand is a backend revolution, giving people control of their data by using a true peer-to-peer network for data storage and retrieval. Similar to any good backend solution, blockchain needs a front-facing user experience which would help people to understand and adopt blockchain-based solutions but it’s applicability is sure limitless.
How according to you will the fintech segment shape up in the next couple of years, given the constant innovations and investments in certain areas?
The world is definitely realising the potential of what tech can do for legacy finance systems, making them more convenient and efficient to use. But there is still a lot of untapped potential. There are huge segments of the population who are still not part of traditional financial systems, primarily because for a business the costs of including or building products for these unbanked populations outweigh the benefits. This is where crypto can become a game changer. Since crypto is inherently scalable, has a low barrier to entry, and establishes trust outside of the default methods established in legacy systems; it gives everyone the chance to be part of the financial revolution. In the next couple of years, I believe we will see a lot more inventions and products, which will push back the ceiling on the inclusivity aspect of the financial systems.
What are your predictions specific to the crypto / bitcoin space, what new innovations in this niche will change how B2B organizations/Banking Institutes regulate payment processing / global banking initiatives?
The unique thing about crypto is that it is not built for the few, but is fair and accessible for everyone. While these qualities set the foundation for increasing adoption from a consumer perspective, for businesses it provides the opportunity to not be restricted by the default geographic barriers that are set by traditional currencies and finance systems. As this realisation syncs in and innovations are made further improving the systems’ ease of use, the space will see mass adoption in the coming years. Given it’s global nature, the applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies will be varied and many.
Could you talk about some of the other innovative fintech apps and platforms in the industry that according to you are set to be the new game-changers?
Blockstack is one that i believe is a great and innovative platform, which can disrupt not only fintech but any industry with data privacy concerns. Data security is the need of the hour, which is especially applicable to fintech. Blockstack is able to provide a platform which is focused on user data protection without compromising the user experience, which is a very unique proposition. CRUXPay also uses Blockstack to build a simpler interface for crypto users, providing them ease of use in transferring funds and interacting with other crypto services without compromising the security of user data.
What are some of the top must-have key-features that every fintech app/solution should offer their B2B clients, according to you?
Fintech and specially crypto are built on some really interesting tech, but they do have a reputation of being complex. As solution providers we need to make sure that we abstract that complexity from the customers and instead let them have a pleasurable experience interacting with this tech. For them, the pitch needs to be based on the new possibilities and benefits rather than the amazing tech that fuels it. So investing in a good user experience is a must.
Interoperability is one of the other demons that haunts fintech. Any solution that takes care of that, automatically has an upper hand.
We’d love to know what some of your top FinTech predictions for 2020 are?
I may be biased, but I believe we will see a great adoption of blockchain technology this year especially in Fintech. Established companies will enter the crypto market and make it more accessible to the retail users, which in turn increase the adoption and trust on crypto currencies and blockchain based systems. We have already seen companies like Revolut providing easy access to crypto to their users and I believe more companies would follow.
I also think COVID-19 will have a huge impact on FinTech. The economic crisis will drive more and more people into digital assets. Amid this economic crisis, the idea of a safer, faster, cost-efficient and above all more secure system is extremely attractive to people. Fintech will also be crucial to recuperating unbanked populations as banking and credit history are irrelevant and also in facilitating government aid.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the fintech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Patrick Collison is one of my personal heroes in the fintech space and would love to know his views on the current growth and future predictions in the fintech space.
Your favorite FinanceTech quote and also, your future plans for CRUXPay?
“Focus and Simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple” by Steve Jobs is my favorite quote of all time. Although it is applicable to every product, this especially applies to FinTech.
With CRUXPay our plan is to simplify the user experience of crypto and make blockchain and crypto more accessible and simpler for the users. The idea is to reach more users and allow more services to experience an easy way to send and receive crypto payments, without the complexity of the underlying blockchain system but with all its advantages and security.
Before we wrap up, we’d love a few thoughts on what you’d advise businesses and entrepreneurs struggling through these uncertain times (given the current world situation).
An Entrepreneurs’ journey is never easy anyway, but these are particularly testing times. My advice to businesses during these times would be to focus on their core strengths, dig deep, and prepare for the long journey. No matter how bleak the situation seems it’s a phase which will pass and you’ll come out knowing your strengths better.
Moreover, ask for help. Building, validating, and scaling your startup is a journey of grit and perseverance. Connect with people and don’t hesitate to take a leaf out of their book. Most founders in my experience are very helpful and willing to take time to share their knowledge.
Built by the CoinSwitch team, CRUXPay is an open, decentralised protocol that enables users to create a human-readable ID (CRUX ID) and link all their blockchain addresses in one wallet. Providing a single point of use for all crypto transactions for individuals or businesses, CRUXPay ensures the highest level of security with zero error when sending and receiving payments. CRUXPay creates a seamless payment experience matching that of online fiat payments. Additionally, CRUX IDs can be used to login into dApps on any device anywhere in the world, removing dependency from browser extensions. CRUXPay is powered by Blockstack and secured by the Bitcoin hash power.
Ashish Singhal is the Co-Founder and CEO of CoinSwitch.co and CRUXPay. He is a hacker to the core and has won almost every major Hackathon in India including those hosted by Sequoia, Google, Amazon and LinkedIn. While working at Amazon as a Software Development Engineer in 2014, he led the internal team in building Amazon Prime’s 1-hour delivery model. Ashish was a Technical Advisor with Reap Benefit – an NGO in Bangalore aimed at encouraging India’s youth to become actionable citizens. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science.