We have the pleasure to interview Yoav Dror, CEO of PumaPay in this special edition dedicated to Money 20/20 Asia.
PumaPay is a next generation blockchain-based payment system aiming to bring cryptopayments into the realm of everyday life, facilitating cryptocurrency transactions for both individuals and businesses. PumaPay is an innovative cryptopayment processing system that combines the advantages of blockchain with the flexibility and ease of use of payment cards. This enables convenient payments and billing in cryptocurrencies. The PMA token is the means of value transfer within the PumaPay payment system.
1. Can you tell us about PumaPay, how did you come up with this business idea?
Having worked in executive positions in various online firms that dealt with high volume transactions, I soon realized the limitations posed by credit cards. At the time, I was closely watching developments regarding the blockchain and was aware of the benefits of this innovative technology and its possibilities of transforming the payment industry. I have always been very passionate about developing a blockchain solution that would come to exist alongside, and even eventually supplant, the use of credit cards in financial transactions. The belief that we could streamline and simplify payment processing has been the focus of our efforts here at PumaPay, and we are working towards implementing cryptobilling for businesses worldwide.
2. We understand PumaPay provides payments solutions by employing the PullContract, can you explain more about this innovative technology behind your service?
PumaPay is based on the PullPayment contract, a unique architecture of smart contracts inversing the mechanics of transactions. Instead of having the customer ‘send’ or ‘push’ their funds to the merchant, the PumaPay protocol allows the merchant to connect to the customer’s wallet and ‘pull’ the funds based on a set of predefined terms and subject to the customer’s advance acceptance. In this respect, businesses and consumers can set multiple parameters and limitations, so the payment mechanism can work to their needs. The innovative architecture opens the door to a whole universe of payment mechanisms that are either impossible or unfeasible when relying only on a ‘push’ action! The PumaPay PullPayment protocol enables various payment scenarios, including subscriptions, top-up and pay-per-time billing models which have been impossible on the blockchain before.
3. How is PumaPay different from other cryptopayment companies?
PumaPay came into being and has been developed by a group of professionals who have years of experience in online businesses and have dealt with the complexities of payments and online transactions. For us, the most important thing was to develop a usable solution that would be adopted by both businesses and individuals. This is why, when the blockchain started to take shape, we were looking for solutions where blockchain technology could improve our businesses and replace the already outdated approaches and technologies in the billing and payments industry. From the beginning, we were thinking in terms of solutions and everyday transactions, so our product is unique in that way.
While there are a variety of cryptopayment solutions out there, PumaPay immediately sets itself apart because its protocol allows users to process transactions using familiar billing methodologies by combining the flexibility of credit cards with the added benefits of the blockchain. It is well known that current payment solutions, such as credit cards, come with multiple limitations and fees that usually burden the business.
At the same time, cryptocurrency payments, in the form they are available now, are hard to incorporate into the everyday needs of individuals and businesses. It is difficult, for example, to pay for your gym subscription with your cryptos, or you have no idea which companies might accept PMA. With our advanced billing models, users can pay for their subscriptions through their PumaPay cryptocurrency wallet. We want to create continuity so that both individuals and businesses can continue using all the familiar billing models they did with credit cards, without introducing any unnecessary complexity.
On the contrary, our goal is to provide them with the flexibility and convenience of credit cards. Such convenience means that in the future, users of our mobile wallet app, will be able to use a variety of payment options and pay with any crypto they want. Our PumaPay Wallet will also be authorized to automatically convert such cryptos to PMA tokens whenever a payment is due. As we continue to improve our wallet API, released since late 2018, we will enable third party wallets to integrate the functionality of PumaPay’s PullPayments into their offering, making it easier for individuals to utilize PumaPay’s flexible payment scenarios in their familiar wallet environments.
PumaPay Pride is another unique and important component which will help the usability of our solution. A network of Early Adopters, PumaPay Pride will list all companies which have committed to adopt our solution and which will be rewarding their customers for paying with PMAs. Individuals will easily find companies which accept cryptopayments and will be able to immediately use their cryptos to purchase goods and services. We are also working on integrating PumaPay Pride with the mobile wallet app, so that customers can find on the map businesses accepting PumaPay near their location. PumaPay aims to help businesses tap into the $120b worth of cryptocurrency worldwide – which we believe is a remarkable selling point.
4. We understand that PumaPay raised 117 million dollars in its ICO last year. However, it was a private sale rather than a public one. Why did you make this decision?
Unfortunately, due to prevailing regulatory conditions, we had decided not to conduct a Crowdsale, and instead opt for a private sale. We were aware that an open sale would be potentially distractive, diverting our efforts from creating the protocol to legal considerations. We knew that we needed to put our product first, even at the price of losing the potential contribution of our loyal community. In order to allow as many qualified contributors as possible to participate, we extended the private sale and lowered the minimum contribution amount to 50,000 USD. The Private Sale was only open to accredited investors subject to the company’s KYC and AML policies.
5. What are some of your insights on the future of blockchain technology in the payments industry?
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) has already began changing the payments industry and the future holds many possibilities. We believe that, slowly, blockchain technology will gain the trust of banking institutions and adopted widely. The broad implications for payments, especially improving settlements’ time and security of cross-border transactions are hard to ignore. Additionally, the ability to speed up the payments process, improve efficiency when it comes to cross-border payments, and reduce fraud are elements that will impact its future potential and use, as more finance professionals and lawmakers reassess its implications.
6. What are some of the future developments of PumaPay in the coming period?
During the course of the year, we will be releasing and working on the various components of our protocol. We are preparing many updates for the PumaPay Cryptocurrency Wallet App, including the addition of a feature that will facilitate purchasing cryptos within the wallet with a credit card. In the first half of the year, we aim to add in-wallet support for Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV and maybe a few more coins. The team is also working on rewriting the wallet as a native app, which will bring significant improvement in performance and user experience. We expect this to be finalized during Q2 2019. As we work on additional advanced billing models, these will be supported by the Wallet as soon as they go live. Later this year, users will be able to pay in any cryptocurrency by using any of our payment options, without being limited to PMA. Our wallet will automatically convert cryptos to PMA tokens.
We will continue improving our wallet API which will allow third party wallets to integrate the functionality of PumaPay’s PullPayments into their offering, enabling millions to use PumaPay’s advanced billing models in their familiar wallet environments.
We plan to release the Business Console MVP which will enable businesses to register with PumaPay in order to set up and manage their cryptobilling, thus generating QR codes to be used by customers to scan and make payments.
Also, in the first half of 2019, we plan to launch the much anticipated PumaPay Pride MVP – a comprehensive directory of all the businesses which have committed to adopt the PullPayment Protocol. PumaPay Pride will later be integrated into the mobile wallet app so that businesses can promote special offers directly to users inside the wallet. We expect to fully integrate PumaPay Pride with the wallet app within Q2 2019.
During the spring and summer of this year we plan to focus solely on the next generation of our payment system and the enhanced API. This includes an improved architecture for our framework, protocol and products. Then, we will spend Q3 and Q4 of 2019 focusing on the massive adoption of our protocol and integration with the existing Early Adopters. As we plan to start testing the solution with 3-5 new companies which will integrate the protocol in March, we aim to steadily continue with multiple integrations in the second half of 2019. In Q4, we expect to introduce the Processing Nodes or processors who will process transactions using the Proof of Stake (PoS) method. Based on the PoS algorithm, processors will validate PullPayment transactions according to the amount of PMA tokens they will hold. The more PMA tokens they hold, the more processing power they have. Finally, we will end 2019 with a more decentralized cryptopayment system that meets all the needs of both businesses and customers.
About the interviewee
Yoav Dror is the CEO of PumaPay, one of the biggest ICOs in 2018, raising over $117m. With an MBA and over 20 years of experience in heading online high-transaction companies, Yoav is now leading the team developing PumaPay’s blockchain-based PullPayment protocol, enabling businesses to easily accept cryptocurrency payments.
PumaPay is a comprehensive advanced billing system that decentralizes a whole layer of transaction processing services, combining the best of traditional methods (credit cards) and blockchain-based solutions. More than 100 brands from different industries, including Wix, Iron FX, and CCBill, have committed to use PumaPay.