As decentralized finance grows in popularity, many wonder what the future holds for traditional finance (TradFi). In episode 37 of Cointelegraph’s Hashing It Out podcast, Elisha Owusu Akyaw talks to Sarah Clark, the CEO of E-Gates, about how TradFi plans to compete and collaborate with the Web3 space and what that means for global payments moving forward. The episode also highlights issues around Web3 payments, such as regulatory compliance, fraud prevention and customer trust.
Clark has worked at multiple TradFi firms like PayPal and Barclays before pivoting to Web3. She explains that conventional finance could benefit from integrating blockchain technology and Web3 practices to solve major gaps like cross-border payments. Clark argues that these changes should be seen as an evolution instead of a revolution.
On using cryptocurrencies as payments, Clark identifies two main issues: acceptance and trust. She states that the number of merchants today that accept cryptocurrency is small, and there is a need for that to change for crypto-powered payments to take off. Clark explains there is a significant burden on Web3 payment providers to build trust among regulators concerned about funding sources and the potential use of cryptocurrencies to fund illicit activities. At the same time, consumers, too, have fears about the safety of their funds.
Clark argues that the issue with regulations cuts across all forms of innovation, and the frustrations with regulators go beyond Web3 to Silicon Valley. She explains that too much regulation could stifle innovation and add more friction for end users who want a simple user experience. The CEO believes that regulators must move away from existing regulations that benefit incumbents and disadvantage new systems that did not exist when most laws around finance and technology were crafted.
“We face a very similar challenge in the crypto space in terms of regulators not necessarily understanding. And then their instinctive reaction is to be more prescriptive rather than embracing the progress that can come from new technologies and setting a level playing field and saying all payment methods, whether it’s fiat credit cards, digital wallets or crypto, have to meet these thresholds.“