*New* Crypto Unstacked Trader's Edition
Deep Dive: Worldpay | Top Insights from the World's Largest Payment Processor Bridging Fiat to Crypto

December 14, 2021

Deep Dive: Worldpay | Top Insights from the World's Largest Payment Processor Bridging Fiat to Crypto
Play Episode

Nabil Manji is Head of Crypto and Emerging Business at Worldpay from FIS.


We unstack:
- What is Worldpay and when did their crypto journey begin?
- The B2B payments processing ecosystem 
- Where Worldpay is seeing consumer demand for crypto payments
- Worldpay's roadmap and thoughts on integrating stablecoins for payments settlement
+ more!

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Worldpay FIS (Website)

This episode is presented by CoinFLEX. 

CoinFLEX is the Home of Crypto Yield and committed to providing institutional and retail investors an easily accessible platform to earn and trade crypto. CoinFLEX creates innovative solutions to bring investors and markets together through simple and intuitive products such as flexUSD, the world’s first interest-earning stablecoin, and AMM+, the most-capital efficient automated market maker in the world. Visit www.coinflex.com for more information. 

DISCLOSURE
The Crypto Unstacked Podcast is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or investment advice. Nothing expressed in this podcast should be construed as a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement or offer to buy or sell any financial products. 

Transcript

Leslie Lamb (7s):
Hey everyone. Welcome to the Crypto Unstacked podcast, where we cover everything from crypto trading and investing to NFTs, decentralized finance, and so much more The Crypto Unstacked podcast is meant for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as financial or investment advice. Nothing expressed in this podcast should be construed as a solicitation recommendation, endorsement or offer to buy or sell any financial products. This podcast is sponsored by CoinFLEX is the Home of Crypto Yield. Whether you're passively managing money or taking an actively managed approach, you can earn and trade crypto easily on CoinFLEX, which sees over $2 billion in daily trading volume CoinFLEX is committed to making crypto derivatives yield accessible to everyone.

Leslie Lamb (1m 1s):
Whether you are investing hundreds or thousands of dollars and more with a newly launched automated market-making product called AMM plus, you can earn yield on crypto by providing liquidity into the futures markets. The AMM plus is 10 times more capital efficient than other automated market makers and offers multiple collateral types so that you can earn more with less interested in learning more about CoinFLEX and trying out the AMM plus head over to CoinFLEX dot com slash AMM to get started and let the market work for you. In this episode, I chat with Nabil Manji, head of crypto and emerging business at Worldpay one of the world's largest payment processing providers.

Leslie Lamb (1m 43s):
We chat about how Worldpay was actually one of the first payment processors to deal with crypto companies back in the day and how they're positioned to integrate with the current crypto ecosystem. If you're looking to understand the infrastructure supporting real-world Crypto use cases, this episode is for you. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I hope you enjoy this episode. Hey, Nabil. Welcome to Crypto Unstacked. It's so great to have you on the show with me.

Nabil Manji (2m 7s):
Hey Leslie, thanks so much for having me

Leslie Lamb (2m 10s):
Incredible to have Worldpay on Crypto Unstacked. If you can believe it, this is my first conversation on the big topic of crypto payments, and this is what Crypto was founded to be about. So it's kind of funny how it ended up being this way. Awesome.

Nabil Manji (2m 26s):
Yeah, it is a bit funny to have the world's largest payment processor talking about crypto payments, which as you said was one of the first use cases for crypto in terms of what people thought it was.

Leslie Lamb (2m 38s):
Yeah, and I mean, this world of payments, I guess specifically B to B payments, right, is the world that you live in on a day-to-day basis. You're speaking to merchants, I guess mainly about the reasons for accepting crypto as payments, what that looks like, how the Worldpay infrastructure enables merchants to do this and service the consumer demand that we might be seeing today for crypto payments. And look, we talk a lot on their show about investing and trading capabilities and platforms and all the protocols that have kind of emerged within the ecosystem.

Leslie Lamb (3m 21s):
But in terms of payments, I think this is where the real world use case comes in for the average person, right? We talk about crypto reaching the everyday investor or just the everyday person, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of talk about how this is grown significantly with Worldpay at the helm, building out the infrastructure. So let's talk big picture first to help our audience set the scene here. How big is this B2B payments ecosystem that we're probably not even aware of?

Nabil Manji (4m 0s):
Yeah, that's a great question, Leslie. So D depending on the data source you look at, or the report you read, you know, global spending on cards, this coming year is probably going to exceed $30 trillion. And if you include other payment methods like E wallets or some of the QR code based payments that are getting quite popular in places like Latin America and Southeast Asia and others, you're probably talking a global market for electronic payments volumes, somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 trillion around the globe over the coming years, since a pretty massive,

Leslie Lamb (4m 33s):
Yeah, that's incredible. So when people think about Worldpay what's the immediate association

Nabil Manji (4m 40s):
Worldpay is what's known as a payment processor or merchant acquire to use industry lingo. And basically we're the company or type of company that works with merchants to enable them to accept cards, IE, wallets, and other alternative payment methods. So a lot of folks don't realize this, but visa and MasterCard actually don't work directly with merchants. So if you walk into your local supermarket, they don't have a relationship directly with visa and MasterCard. They work with a company like Worldpay that manages that for them. And so our ambition as a payments provider is obviously to provide a great service and product for our merchants, but also allow our merchants to enable consumers to pay in the ways that they want to pay.

Nabil Manji (5m 26s):
So in that sense, we're fairly payment method agnostic. You know, today we support, you know, visa, MasterCard and the other major car brands, of course, but we also have a portfolio of, I think, close to 40 different what we call local or alternative payment methods to ensure that our merchants can again, allow consumers to pay using the method that they want to buy.

Leslie Lamb (5m 46s):
And this is a global platform, right? Worldpay. Do you have a particular region that, you know, primarily you, you currently service and you're looking to, you know, venture out into regions or is it kind of, you know, squarely covered across all regions?

Nabil Manji (6m 3s):
Yeah, we are truly global. You know, today we have huge businesses in north America, Europe, Asia, Pacific. We have a rapidly growing business in Latin America. We're launching in the middle east and Southern parts of the African continent. So, you know, payments has really become a global landscape, particularly with, you know, the rise of cross-border e-commerce. I think if you rewind the clock, probably 10, 15 years payments was fairly localized. It was predominantly, you know, run by local banks that worked with local merchants that were servicing local consumers. But now that you've got a lot of large cross-border e-commerce companies, so think about companies like Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, all these companies are servicing a global consumer base and therefore have a need to have global payments processing and acceptance capabilities.

Nabil Manji (6m 56s):
And that's where partners like Worldpay come in. We tend to focus on supporting those large global merchants in their global, you know, marketplaces and ambitions. Whereas a lot of the banks that used to dominate the payment space again, 15, 20 years ago, those banks are typically focused on a single country or a single region. And so have, in my opinion, you know, become, I would say, not the partner of choice for these global businesses

Leslie Lamb (7m 22s):
Actually be curious to know, was there a particular region that was more difficult to kind of, you know, stick to on the regulation side to build up the infrastructure? Is there a region that comes to mind?

Nabil Manji (7m 36s):
I would say on the regulatory side there isn't, you know, countries that come to the top of mine in terms of the payments legislation being particularly challenging. I think where you run into challenges is things around tax and money movement. So not directly related to payments, but obviously, you know, payments involves moving money. And so any countries that have, you know, controls on the importer export of foreign currency or domestic currency, any countries that have tax implications on moving money in and out of the country, those tend to be challenging. And then from an infrastructure and build perspective, you know, most countries, at least for visa and MasterCard are on visa and MasterCard global networks. So enabling new countries, assuming you have the appropriate licensing and all that in place is fairly straightforward.

Nabil Manji (8m 21s):
I think where you run into challenges is countries that have things like data localization requirements. So I think India is a good example of this where, you know, most payment and consumer data related to Indian citizens has to be stored locally in India. So for a company like ours, you know, even though we're very global in nature, we of course have, you know, data centers and cloud instances that operate in certain regions of the world. And so sometimes we have to replicate that, that infrastructure and availability of those data centers locally to comply with those types of regulations, which makes it more challenging to build out. So now

Leslie Lamb (8m 55s):
You've entered into this world of crypto, but you know, people might not realize that Worldpay has been invested in this conversation for a number of years now. Right? I would say even as far back as maybe 20 13, 20 14, but in 2015, I guess this is when maybe, you know, someone upstairs pushed the button and said, right, there are proper companies that are growing in this space. Now we should be seriously looking at this. Talk to us about those early conversations or stories rather that were told to you and give us a picture of what the early days were at Worldpay, as you were assessing, whether this was an actual opportunity or not.

Nabil Manji (9m 42s):
Yeah, definitely. So let me start from the beginning. You know, we, we started talking to some of the larger players, particularly exchanges in the crypto space, as early, as you mentioned, I believe this conversation started in 2013 and back then, and even today, or up to up until recently, you know, finding quality financial services, providers has always been difficult for crypto native businesses, you know, there back then. And even to some degree today, there weren't that many banks that were willing to provide bank accounts or basic business banking services to crypto companies back then, you know, visa and MasterCard, weren't comfortable with the idea of, you know, their cards being used to purchase cryptocurrency.

Nabil Manji (10m 26s):
And there were certainly no payment processor or merchant acquirers like ourselves that were actively working with participants in the crypto ecosystem. So, you know, we started paying attention in 2013 and started having a dialogue with some of the larger exchanges and with visa and MasterCard from that point. And it took us candidly about two years to get everybody in the ecosystem, including ourselves comfortable with it. So from 2013 to 2015 was really kind of a educational period for both ourselves, but also Baeza, MasterCard, the banks that we work with and others, but, you know, fast forward to 2015, we are proud to say that we were the first major payment processor to process what we call a card to crypto transaction that is, you know, the purchase of crypto using a debit or credit card.

Nabil Manji (11m 13s):
And we did that with Coinbase back in 2015. And so, you know, we've been in this space for six years, which doesn't sound like that long, but if you think about the crypto ecosystem, that's, that's more than 50% of the industry's lifespan. So we we've been around for a while. And, you know, to your point, we've always been around in the background. You know, a lot of consumers probably don't realize this, but when they do purchase crypto using a card around the world today, we're probably the ones processing that, you know, today we work with seven of the 10 top exchanges. We've got close to 30 clients globally. You know, whether they're exchanges, wallets, brokerages, those clients span us, Europe, Asia, PAC, you know, soon to Latin America.

Nabil Manji (11m 54s):
So I almost guarantee that if a consumer's ever purchased crypto using a card, we've supported them in doing that. And we've historically been pretty quiet about that. And not for any particular reason, it just wasn't something that we felt the need to go out and market. But I think with the growth and the excitement that we're seeing in the crypto space and, you know, the use cases for us as a payments company of the technology, this is an area that, you know, earlier this year, we decided to invest significantly in. So you're going to start to see a lot more from us in terms of us speaking about crypto, us being at events, us publishing some thought leadership and perspective pieces. And we're excited to be kind of growing, you know, our, our, our brand in this space. So to speak

Leslie Lamb (12m 33s):
Yeah, 100%. What made you guys comfortable to double down on crypto back in 2019? You know, we were just kind of coming out of a bear market or still kind of in it at that time. Right. So it wasn't like there was an natural impetus to say, right? There's so much activity going on, let's be the ones to facilitate that activity. We're probably not seeing a lot of, you know, payments, demand or crypto payments demand at that time from, you know, the average consumer. So what was that turning point?

Nabil Manji (13m 5s):
It was a couple of different things and it really was a gradual buildup if you will, rather than, you know, one sort of inflection point, but I'll say a couple things. So, you know, by the time 20, 19 20 20 came around, we had been in the space for four or five years. And I think had a much better understanding of some of the risks associated with processing payments and Crypto. So whether it was things like, you know, sanctions liabilities or risks, AML liabilities, and risks, you know, the quality of exchanges, KYC programs, the quality of the legal and compliance departments that some of the large exchanges and wallets, I think we had a good understanding of the risks. And we were seeing increasing maturity from our clients and the way they were managing those risks.

Nabil Manji (13m 45s):
So that was one piece. The other piece is you start to have a lot of tools that came, I would say, into fruition or intimate surety that helped us manage these risks. So if you think about something like a chain analysis or an elliptic and a cipher trace, you know, back in 20 15, 20 16, those tools are relatively new. If not non-existent, but fast forward to today, you know, those tools are quite robust. They're being used by large institutions, governments, et cetera, to help manage risks in the crypto space. So we felt good about the availability of tools to help us manage those risks. And then finally, I would say in 20 18, 20 19 is when you started to see, I would say the early inklings of regulation and, you know, obviously financial services and particularly payments as a highly regulated industry.

Nabil Manji (14m 28s):
And so I would say we've gone from operating in a gray area or an area that, you know, was unregulated for lack of a better word to an area now that it started to be regulated and have some guard rails put around it. And so that gives our team, you know, from a legal and compliance perspective, a lot more comfort in terms of, you know, what regulators are looking for, what our merchants can and can't do the types of payments we can and can't process. And just generally how regulators are thinking about future policy and enforcement of the space, given the relatively public dialogue around Crypto with most of the large regulators in the world today. So all of those things, I would say matured, you know, between 2015 and 20, 19 20 20, and gave us the confidence we needed to double down, as you say, in this space.

Leslie Lamb (15m 15s):
Well, just in time for the explosive year, that's been 20, 21. Yeah. But I mean, Worldpay is an awesome story and we'll continue with that. But now that we're kind of more on the topic of crypto. I think our audience wants to know what's your coming to crypto story and appeal and, you know, what are some interesting experiences maybe, or conversations that you've had with either early founders and builders or even friends right within the space, because that's how a lot of people get into crypto these days. Yeah.

Nabil Manji (15m 47s):
Great question. And my story about entry into crypto really is one that as you say, is from the friends angle. So I started my career in consulting and then moved over into an investing role. And I actually became aware of crypto. I believe it was in early, mid 2016. When some of my colleagues at the investment firm I was working at, you know, I had stumbled across it, through their friends and had started day trading. And so of course, all of us youngsters working in an investment firm started talking about group though, and the potential returns and day trading and all that kind of stuff. So that was my first exposure, but I'll be candid. I was skeptical at first. I was like, this just seems like gambling to me. I don't understand what I'm buying.

Nabil Manji (16m 27s):
I'm just trying to, you know, flip a quick buck, all that sort of stuff. But what then happened towards the end of 2016 and 2017 is I came in contact with a couple of friends of friends that actually were building the space. So a friend of a friend of mine was actually on the early founding team at maker Dao, but another friend of mine, you know, shortly thereafter joined the strategy team at ripple. And so I started to actually talk to people that were looking at it from the technology and infrastructure side and the potential it had there, you know, rather than just the pure investment slash speculation side. And so that's what got me interested and, you know, got me kind of reading and thinking and speaking with folks in this space.

Nabil Manji (17m 7s):
And then where things really kind of took off for me is I helped a couple of my friends that had made some money in the space early on set up an investment fund to kind of formally invest that money in new projects and, you know, different trading strategies and all that. And through that, I had to learn quite a bit about the space, you know, different projects, different tokens, different protocols, all that sort of stuff. And then when I joined Worldpay, you know, I didn't fully appreciate how much they were thinking about investing in crypto, but it was kind of a nice intersection for me where I had come into the world's largest payments company with at that point, you know, two, three years of crypto exposure experience, you know, some degree of a network and was able to kind of leverage that into supercharging Worldpay crypto business.

Leslie Lamb (17m 51s):
So I have to ask, were they looking for you or were you looking for them in the job search process?

Nabil Manji (17m 57s):
Yeah, I wouldn't say they were looking for me or that I was looking for them. I actually had been wanting to make a move out of investing into actually going to work at a company. And so I thought to myself, you know, I want to go work at a company that a is in a large, fast growing dynamic market. And I think, you know, payments definitely checks that box and spades. And I also wanted to go work at a leader in that market and, you know, Worldpay, today's the number one payment processor in the payment space globally. And so I actually looked in my network, you know, who do I know that is working at a leader in that space. And it turns out a colleague of mine from my early days in consulting was at Worldpay. So it was actually kind of a, a more of a natural dialogue.

Nabil Manji (18m 39s):
You know, I had reached out to this connection of mine and said, Hey, I'm looking to make a move. Like, here's what I've been up to. And we had a dialogue over a number of months and, you know, through that. And he shared that, Hey, Hey, you know, actually coming here to, you know, focus some of your time working on crypto might actually be a really good fit. And so it kind of formed organically, so to speak. Right.

Leslie Lamb (18m 58s):
So when you first joined Worldpay, what was your initial focus at that time?

Nabil Manji (19m 5s):
Yeah, so I joined on our strategy team for our global e-commerce business, which is basically the part of the Worldpay business, that services merchants, like I mentioned earlier, you know, those global cross border multinational, large e-commerce merchants. And my role was overseeing the strategy for some of our, what we call higher risk and emerging businesses. And for us at that time, crypto fell into that bucket. And so I basically had a, I was leading the strategy for a bunch of different business areas, for some examples, money, service, businesses, payment, facilitators, online gaming and sports betting cryptocurrency, and a few other bits and pieces. And so it was kind of up to me how I divided my time across all those different areas, you know, across all those different buckets, Crypto wasn't the biggest at that time, it was actually one of the smaller ones.

Nabil Manji (19m 55s):
And so if you think about splitting your time based on where, you know, our dollars were coming from, it didn't make sense, their sense to spend time on crypto, but after my kind of early forays and inroads into the space, I was pretty convinced that it was going to be pretty material for the company going forward. And so I ended up spending probably about half my time, you know, in that first year focused on crypto and candidly, I used to get a lot of questions from our executives, like, Hey, going to be at, why are you spending so much time on crypto? Like, what do you really think? Is there, would you think your time is better spent elsewhere? I said, no, you know, like we need to follow through on this. We need to kind of round out our policy. We need to build up the team and invest a bit in the brand and the marketing and the network building and all that sort of stuff.

Nabil Manji (20m 37s):
And so they were pretty hands off. They let me do it, but I think we're skeptical. But fast forward to today, I think it, you know, as you said, with the tremendous market run, we've seen, I think it definitely turned out to, you know, knock on wood, be the right decision.

Leslie Lamb (20m 51s):
So during our earlier conversation, you had mentioned how between the years of 2018 and 2020, the primary narrative was something like what's the blockchain for application X and Y right. What thing will suit consumer demand X now in 2021, it seems like one we've gotten more mainstream. And with that mainstream adoption, there's been more of a focus on applications, right? So what is your 2021 and beyond thesis as it relates to Worldpay and payments, what is your crypto thesis and how does Worldpay kind of position itself within that thesis?

Nabil Manji (21m 36s):
Yeah, so we're really focused on two key areas over the next 12 months as it relates to kind of using crypto slash blockchain, you know, in our ecosystem and for payments. So one is, we do think at some point that crypto is going to be, you know, a fairly commonly used payment methods, but we think the ultimate Bible of that is going to be driven by CBDCs. So we are paying a lot of attention and FIS, which is Worldpay. Parent company actually recently stood up kind of a dedicated CBDC team. So we are keeping quite a pulse on that. And we do think that once, you know, different nations around the world do start to roll out CBDCs, that consumers are going to want to use those CBDCs for, you know, payments and transacting.

Nabil Manji (22m 18s):
And so we are actually in the early stages of building out what we call our pay by Crypto solution, which will basically, you know, be the, the product, if you will, that we can offer to our, you know, close to 2 million merchants globally to enable them to accept cryptocurrency at the point of payment. And what we think is we're actually getting a lot of inbound interest from merchants, large and small and across all sorts of different verticals to actually enable this today, even though CBD C's, aren't really prevalent, particularly in the major markets that we serve, but our thesis or hypothesis is that a lot of merchants want to start transacting with crypto, whether it's Bitcoin theory, M stablecoins, you know, whatever it might be to start to get familiar with what it's like to accept digital assets, what it's like to move digital process, what it's like to account for, and think about tax treatment for digital assets.

Nabil Manji (23m 12s):
So we're going to be launching a product next year that allows our merchants to accept payment in crypto. And if I'm being honest, like, you know, that may see significant volumes, it may not, but I think it allows our merchant base to get comfortable with the idea of accepting payment and transacting in crypto, which thereby is going to accelerate the ability for them to kind of lean into the CBDC ecosystem when it inevitably comes in the coming years. So that's piece number one. And then the second piece is, you know, one common complaint about the payments ecosystem, particularly as it relates to card payments is it's not even close to real time.

Nabil Manji (23m 53s):
So just to give you a sense, like when you go use your card at a merchant, they have to give you the good service immediately, right? So like you walk into a supermarket or, you know, you pay your Netflix subscription or whatever, like you get your groceries or you get that access to Netflix immediately, but the supermarket or Netflix, they typically don't see that money anywhere from like one to two days later in the fastest parts of the world, all the way up to 30 days later, and some of the slower parts of the world. And the reason for that is like the way that card payment money moves, that infrastructure was built decades ago. And so even in the fastest regions around the world, like the U S and Europe merchants typically don't see that money for one or two days.

Nabil Manji (24m 34s):
And obviously, you know, that causes a huge working capital burden for merchants. And it seems a little bit outdated in this world where, you know, pretty much everything is real time. And so what we're looking at is how do we speed things up and make them closer to real time using particularly at least in the first instance stablecoins. So the other area, the second area that we're focused on for next year is how do we enable the ability for our merchants to get settled more frequently and, or more quickly by using something like stablecoins that can transact 24 7, 365 versus the existing payment rails that are typically five days a week and have, you know, one to three day lag times after we've actually initiated payment out to the merchant

Leslie Lamb (25m 18s):
I'm nodding ferociously. You can't see me, let's talk about the consumer side, right. Because I think you're exactly right there in that no time and no better time than now to start experimenting, right? It's not like if a merchant decides to enlist Worldpay is help. They have to go all in on helping to process digital assets. Right. They just want to make sure they're prepared. If anything, like you said, so let's talk about the consumer demand. Like, have you seen that grow tremendously over this past year and hence why these merchants feel like, you know what shoot, I see all of my competitors kind of accepting Crypto. I should probably figure that out.

Leslie Lamb (25m 59s):
Or what's the main change to the so-called consumer willingness to spend Crypto and to take your words here, enabling crypto at checkout, which I love.

Nabil Manji (26m 9s):
Yeah. I think there was a couple of different dynamics. So to answer your first question, have we observed tremendous growth in this use case, you know, crimped out, check out this year? The answer is absolutely, but the reality of that is it's a lot of growth off a small base. So, you know, I don't have the exact numbers this year, but, you know, my guess is people will pay for goods and services using crypto somewhere to the tune of call it 10 to $20 billion this year globally. Wow. Now that sounds like a huge number, but when you compare it to global, you know, debit and credit card volume of 30 to 40 trillion, you kind of realize that that's a small number, right? So it is growing quickly, but as a portion of overall, you know, consumer payments for goods and services, it's still is relatively small, but we expect that to change.

Nabil Manji (26m 56s):
So that's point number one, the second point is that what we've observed is there is growing consumer interest in using Crypto to pay. And I think there's a couple of factors driving that. So one is quite simply, a lot of consumers have just seen their balances grow tremendously over the past few years. And so obviously if they want to enjoy that, and one way to enjoy that is to buy things. You know, everybody knows, like we talked about earlier, that there is still to this day, some friction in converting crypto to Fiat and transferring that out, particularly if you want to do that in large amounts. So where we're seeing particular interest from consumers is in high dollar purchases. So things like travel and airline tickets, luxury goods, large purchases, like, you know, cars, homes, you know, watches, jewelry, things like that.

Nabil Manji (27m 44s):
So if you actually look at like where we're seeing a lot of that volume and what types of merchants are leading into accept crypto, it falls into those higher ticket items or higher average transaction value items. So that's another piece. The third piece is quite simply the number of consumers that are holding and transacting crypto has just exploded over the year. So not only has every consumer to balance ground, but just then consumers. And so through that, I think we've seen a lot more consumers get comfortable with this notion of having a crypto wallet, interacting with QR code payments, all that sort of stuff. And so we've kind of seen all these different building blocks, you know, more merchants enabling crypto checkout, more consumers with crypto wallets, larger balances in those wallets, more familiarity with how to use those wallets.

Nabil Manji (28m 30s):
All those factors have kind of come together over the last 12 or 18 months, and that's, what's driving the explosive growth in this space. And I fully expect that explosive growth to continue into the coming years based on how much just inbound interest we're getting for this. And then I do think, as we talked about earlier, once you start to talk about something like CBCs, which was really going to take your quote unquote crypto ownership from, you know, five to 10% of the global population, you know, much higher that's when you're really going to start to see the volumes, you know, move up. So you mentioned

Leslie Lamb (29m 1s):
Luxury goods, travel and airlines. What's the most fascinating vertical for you to find?

Nabil Manji (29m 8s):
Oh, that's a good question. So I'm actually a launchpad myself. That's been really interesting to see the, you know, use of crypto in the watch space. I was actually in Dubai a few weeks ago for, you know, Dubai crypto expo. And I was walking through one of the malls there and every single watch store, except Crypto, there were stickers on a lot of the windows saying, you know, Bitcoin or BitPay accepted the year or whatever it might be. So it was really interesting to see, you know, how that segment has just leaned in to the crypto payments phenomenon. And I think, you know, obviously the other retailers in the malls are all looking at that and starting to think about, Hey, should I be doing that?

Nabil Manji (29m 48s):
Should I not be doing that? Who should I work with all that kind of stuff?

Leslie Lamb (29m 50s):
So why to buy, you know, obviously for luxury goods, everyone knows, but from the crypto side, can you give us sort of a high level of why they're embracing crypto payments specifically?

Nabil Manji (30m 1s):
Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, device in the UAE more broadly has always been fairly innovative. I think in, you know, picking certain industries, you know, like years ago they picked healthcare. You know, now they're looking at financial services and crypto, but I think Dubai has really positioned itself well in terms of, you know, trying to diversify away from their traditional, you know, oil and energy business and done a good job setting up, you know, different free trade zones, which have, you know, tax benefits, incorporation, you know, benefits, all that sort of stuff. And I think candidly, I think they're smart. Like they're seeing the writing on the wall as it relates to, you know, blockchain and crypto as a, you know, forthcoming technology that's going to go from, I would say being something kind of niche and speculative, which is how it's been perceived over the previous years to being something that is kind of like core infrastructure for the financial services ecosystem.

Nabil Manji (30m 47s):
And so I think you see those decision-makers in Dubai, particularly in places like the Dubai international financial center, which is the key free trade zone for financial services leaning in and embracing crypto, which, you know, other than being a destination for luxury goods. Obviously if you entice a bunch of crypto natives and crypto companies to move to the area, then you know, businesses are going to be paying attention to that and wanting to enable those people to, you know, spend their money and enjoy

Leslie Lamb (31m 14s):
Makes sense. I feel like I really should branch out of Asia. The estate is all I've been thinking about, and I try to understand what's happening in other regions. You know, like this learning this stuff might be common sense to you, but quite honestly, within the crypto industry, even though it's so global, depending on where we are, we might just think, look like the only thing that matters is the regulator in our backyard, right. What's happening within the region that we're servicing, you know, the customer base that we're servicing is still quite small if we're not thinking really on a global basis. And I think that is the advantage that you have working with Worldpay, having that macro view right. Of what's happening all over the world at any given time, because you aren't so closed off, you know, to one region or the other.

Nabil Manji (32m 0s):
I totally agree with you. And actually that's one of the parts I love most about my job and being at Worldpay is, you know, we do have a really unique perspective on the crypto landscape. You know, like I mentioned, we work with pretty much all the large global exchanges, wallets brokerages. And so particularly when you talk about like, you know, where we're seeing demand for payment processing for Crypto, so, you know, where we're seeing regulation change, you know, where we're seeing our clients set up entities and you know, how they're thinking about registration and licensing and tax and all that, we actually have a very globally comprehensive view. And so it allows us to kind of see, you know, what's working, what isn't working, you know, which geographies are leaning in, which ones are leaning out, which regulatory frameworks are, you know, achieving that, you know, precious balance of protecting consumers while enabling innovation versus which are, you know, failing consumers and, or cycling innovation.

Nabil Manji (32m 52s):
So it is a super interesting perspective. And I think actually it's something our clients have come to appreciate is, you know, obviously we can't provide them advice, you know, from a legal perspective or compliance perspective. And I think they like having us as a thought partner in terms of being able to test ideas and, you know, explore strategies with, as it relates to global expansion.

Leslie Lamb (33m 10s):
Yeah, for sure. And then BIA, let's talk about the future for Worldpay what's on your roadmap for the coming year or next two years. I know there's a lots of different sort of sub verticals now within Crypto that you're excited to, you know, kind of push the envelope right. And talk about, so the floor is all yours.

Nabil Manji (33m 30s):
Yeah. So I would say a couple of days, you know, we always want to strive to provide the best, most comprehensive global service to our Crypto clients. And historically we've been, I would say challenged in doing that largely because the third party partners we work with. So, you know, as I mentioned, you know, we don't offer just cards today. We have a portfolio of close to 40 different alternative payment methods and those payment methods are quite publicly used in their local geographies. And so historically some of those payment method providers have been, I would say a little bit hesitant to enter the crypto space due to concerns around things like regulation and risk and all that. But we've actually over the course of this year, been engaging in a huge, I would say education campaign with a lot of those payment methods.

Nabil Manji (34m 12s):
And, you know, by the end of this year, we're going to have, I think, close to 15 of those 40, you know, enabled for our crypto merchants. So they've gone from being, I would say, crypto skeptics and unwilling to provide their product and have the space to now being, you know, crypto friendly. So that's a big thing that we're focused on is growing up that list from 10 or 15 to 40 over the coming year or two. The second thing is we actually also have a very large what we call kind of Fiat off-ramp or Fiat out set up products that historically we haven't offered that in the crypto space, again, due to, you know, risk appetite restrictions from some of our third parties. But again, we've been embarking on a huge education campaign and investing in better transaction monitoring, software tools and teams to manage risk there.

Nabil Manji (34m 58s):
We're close to getting a lot of our partners on that side, quite comfortable with crypto. And so our hoping to be able to expand the type of know off-ramp products that we're delivering to the crypto space over the coming year. And just to give you a sense for what we do there, you know, we help companies like Airbnb, you know, pay outposts around the world. We help Etsy payout marketplace sellers around the world. So if you think about crypto, right, obviously getting money into the ecosystem is important, but just like those other businesses getting money out is equally as important, if not more so. And so we're excited to be able to expand what we're doing there over the coming years. And then finally, the other piece which we touched on earlier is really expanding, you know, our role for being, not just a service provider and product provider into the crypto ecosystem, but actually being a user and builder of crypto products.

Nabil Manji (35m 49s):
And so that's where the pay by crypto or crypto at checkout comes in and also where the stablecoin settlement comes in. So you're going to start to see us actually touching and transacting with crypto and actually leveraging a couple, you know, crypto slash blockchain based products ourselves rather than again, just being a service provider to this space.

Leslie Lamb (36m 8s):
Yeah. I love it. I think we might even be working with you guys through a third party as well. You know, you can't escape Worldpay in the world of payments.

Nabil Manji (36m 18s):
Definitely. Yeah, no, it's interesting. There's a lot of crypto financial services slash crypto financial infrastructure providers. But in reality, they're always sitting in, in most cases on top of a Worldpay or someone similar in the background,

Leslie Lamb (36m 31s):
There you go. That's the moat guys, go check out Worldpay. You know, I have had the pleasure of being with one of your colleagues actually on a few events panels. So Adrian clever notch, he's French. So French last names always get me. He's a great representative for you guys out here in Hong Kong. I also joke that he is first and foremost, the crypto event planner. And he's also a lawyer, you know, as, as part of his day job, but yeah, he's definitely been great. So if you guys are based in Hong Kong, we have several events that Adrian and Worldpay has helped to sponsor and put on to encourage you guys to go and check those out.

Leslie Lamb (37m 11s):
Definitely do give Worldpay a follow and Nabil. Anything that we haven't already covered that you'd like to chat about today.

Nabil Manji (37m 19s):
No, I think we covered everything. Leslie, it's been a great conversation and really appreciate the opportunity to join you today.

Leslie Lamb (37m 24s):
Excellent. Thanks so much for hopping on Crypto Unstacked I know this will be a treat for our audience. Thanks.

Nabil Manji (37m 30s):
Right. Thanks, Leslie. Talk to you later.