Q&A with Richard Voice at CryptoSpend

CryptoSpend launched Australia’s first native Visa crypto card in 2020. The company was started just two years earlier by UTS technology students Andrew Grech and Richard Voice through UTS Start-Ups. Today they are proud to have a fantastic team of 13 employees. Based in Sydney, they are backed by strategic investors with $2 million raised over two funding rounds.

Payments Consulting Network Associate, Ross McIntyre, caught up with Richard Voice, Co-Founder and COO at CryptoSpend, to discuss how they are making crypto easier to understand and accessible for everyday consumers.

You can read the highlights of the conversation below.

RM: Tell us about the CryptoSpend Wallet and Visa Card. Why should I get one?

RV: The CryptoSpend Visa Card is a regular, easy to use, debit card with tap pay, chip and mag stripe. The card lets you make withdrawals and pay for everyday items with cash or crypto, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. You can also set up the card in Apple Pay or Google Pay. The card is PIN protected and you can manage card limits, payment preferences and security from the linked CryptoSpend Wallet.

The CryptoSpend Wallet is a one stop shop for crypto, catering to everyone. It is a general wallet allowing you to buy and sell crypto, make deposits, withdrawals, make payments and you can send and receive cash or crypto with others. We do not pay interest on cash balances. However, cash is easily transferred to your linked bank account.

CryptoSpend is easy to use and has competitive pricing. Transactions are as quick as any other card at point of sale. Your chosen crypto is converted to AUD at the point of sale.

We also offer a reward program to incentivise everyday card payments. Every purchase earns 3% in XRP tokens, which you can spend or convert to AUD.

RM: How do I get one? What’s the process?

RV: Step by step instructions are provided on our website www.cryptospend.com.au.

The sign up process takes 5-10 minutes. You first download the CryptoSpend app from the App Store or Google Play. For verification, the most common method is to get you to take a photo of your drivers license, front and back, and a selfie. We verify the ID is valid and the photo is a match.

Once registered you are provided a PayID, BSB and account number to deposit cash. You can also transfer any crypto you already have into the CryptoSpend Wallet. No credit checks are required. We do not provide credit.

This makes for an easy, smooth setup process. We then send you the CryptoSpend Visa Card in the mail.

RM: What happens to make this all possible?

RV: Our key partner is Visa. They provide the payment rails. We work with Novatti to manufacture and distribute the cards. We also have third party support for remittances.

At point of sale, the merchant gets charged their normal debit card processing fees. On the back end we interact with multiple crypto currency exchanges and liquidity providers to manage our clients cash and crypto assets. The customer manages their preferred crypto currency for payments from the CryptoSpent Wallet.

CryptoSpend charges 1-1.5% for conversion of crypto. Our conversion fees cover the costs of crypto exchange transactions and any liquidity risks arising from delayed exchange processing time on the back end. We have minimum market volatility exposure. If there is insufficient cash in the wallet the payment will be declined.

RM: How do you protect the customer? Are there any additional security or fraud risks you need to manage?

RV: For payments the security is the same as any other debit card. Payments are verified by mandatory 2FA (2 Factor Authentication). Apple Pay and Google Pay offer additional security layers for mobile payments.

The CryptoSpend Wallet allows you to manage security controls such as freezing the account and reporting a lost or stolen card or mobile device. We also provide live chat customer support.

CryptoSpend acts as the custodian for crypto assets held in the account. We don’t deploy any funds under management. This provides our customers with a degree of comfort and security.

RM: How did CryptoSpend get started?

RV: In 2018 Andrew and I started the business with support of UTS Start-ups, a fantastic program which provided our first office space and assisted with establishing important industry connections.

We started the company with the initial goal of providing the first payment card solution for the Australian market and making crypto easier to understand and accessible for everyday consumers. We wanted to bring in the mass market to crypto and educate as well.

At that time there was no solution on the market that enabled people to make everyday payments with their crypto currencies. This has been a huge barrier to adoption. There were very few on ramps and off ramps to access crypto currencies. Today there are quite a few players in the broader international market.

RM: What have been the key milestones in bringing this together?

RV: At UTS Start-ups we built our wallet infrastructure and our first MVP or Minimum Viable Product for instant cash out. This enabled us to raise capital and expand the team. The Visa card followed. We launched the card in 2020, a first in the Australian market. Today we have thousands of customers.

Our biggest achievement is our amazing team. We’re very proud of our team. Our employees are happy, fun, hardworking and believe in the company. We have developed a great hiring process to ensure fit, qualifications, and alignment with our vision and direction.

RM: How fast are you growing? What are the key metrics you track?

RV: We track our total customer base, assets in custody, total payments volume and customer metrics.

Since launching our rewards program we have been growing very fast. We are currently growing our customer base at 30% pa. Our customers are also spending more with their CryptoSpend Visa Cards over time. People are using the card to pay for their everyday shopping, such as fuel and groceries or even a beer down at the pub.

The most popular crypto for payments has been Bitcoin followed by stable coins including USDC and USDT.

RM: What’s coming next?

RV: We are currently planning to expand internationally, starting with New Zealand then other APAC countries. We are targeting people that already have crypto and first timers.

We are marketing across a number of channels, including sponsoring Australia’s big ticket Kambosos vs Hayney boxing match earlier this year, social media advertising and the rest. We have a referral program coming out in the next month.

We are also working on a number of new products for our existing consumers. Over time we are incrementally adding support for more crypto based on demand and cost to facilitate.

RM: What industry changes or trends to do you see over the next 2-3 years?

RV: For crypto companies I don’t believe there’s going to be one card or wallet to rule them all. I compare crypto payments and exchanges to banks and traditional finance. You’ve got the big four. Then you have the other banks.

As the mass market expands for crypto, I think people will have 2-4 different accounts as they do for banking. Card providers will compete with their loyalty programs and fees as they do today. Crypto companies will provide competitive wallet based solutions. Even the Commonwealth Bank has made some moves toward facilitating crypto exposure.

Crypto has been an object of speculation, like other assets, but it is also gaining broader acceptance over time. Crypto markets may continue to be volatile, but people in this space are used to it. Facilitation of payments using crypto removes a major barrier to broader acceptance.

Author: Ross McIntyre, Associate, Payments Consulting Network

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