The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.
I spoke to Raj Bagadi, CEO of Scallop, a UK-based fintech and crypto start-up that is looking to bridge DeFi (decentralized finance) with traditional banking services.
Raj did a post-graduation in Business Development and Management and recently completed a PGC in Economic Development from the University of Oxford. He is also a certified anti-money laundering specialist in the UK. He also has extensive experience in the finance sector and is an expert in financial regulations and anti-money laundering. Prior to starting Scallop, Raj advised blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups, providing technical and software solutions.
Why Did You Start Scallop?
RB: There are two main reasons. Firstly, we saw a gap in the market for a one-stop solution for banking and crypto services. There are companies offering digital only banks for fiat money and exchanges or platforms offering wallets or accounts for digital assets but there remains a great deal of friction moving between fiat and digital money. There are lag times and high transaction fees when moving your money between the two, so we’ve built a platform that provides a seamless interface between fiat, crypto and DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
The second reason is that we believe that digital assets and digital payments are the future. We’ve seen the transition from fiat to electronic money, and now a new transition from electronic money to digital money is happening. However, crypto or DeFi users are still unable to easily spend or use their assets or tokens in real life. So we wanted to address this pain point which is a large hurdle for mainstream adoption of digital assets. Scallop, provides the tools for this, in particular with one of our products Scallop Pay - which allows users to purchase any good or service online or in-store with cryptocurrency or DeFi tokens; regardless of whether the vendor accepts digital assets, we take care of that on the backend and allow the vendors to receive their money format of choice.
Why Do You Think Scallop Is The Duture?
RB: What we offer will facilitate the daily use of digital money. We provide the tools for mainstream adoption. For example, the banking accounts that we offer allow users to set up direct debits, receive salaries and send and receive payments, locally or internationally - as you would with a traditional bank account. We have a total of 10 products, split between crypto and banking services and the entire Scallop ecosystem is based around making this broader transition of fiat/electronic money to digital money easier for users in every aspect of their lives.
As well, we allow users to directly interact with DeFi (decentralized finance) applications from the banking account - which is an area with exponential growth. For example, in 2019 there was only $100m locked in DeFi platforms, in Jan 2020, it was around $1bn and by June 2020 it had peaked at around $87bn - and we only expect this number to grow. This is an area, none of our competitors have tapped into yet and so we’re looking to capitalize on our first mover advantage here.
These two aspects are key hurdles to the inevitable transition to digital payment solutions and by solving/providing them, we will hopefully be around for a very long time.
What Is Your Outlook On The Industry Going Dorward?
RB: We believe demand will only increase. People’s regular use of technology instigated a significant change in consumer demand for online-only digital services across all industries. Over the last 6 years, in banking/payment services, we’ve seen online-only banks take market share from traditional banks as a result of this demand. There is now another transition happening where digital payment providers will take market share from the traditional banks and online-only providers - this is just the way technology is developing and the direction that it is accelerating in.
Additionally, payment giants such as PayPal and Mastercard created a lot of hype in this area a few months ago by announcing they would start to offer Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin on their networks but this is no longer just hype; theses giants are extremely serious about this space and also see the long term potential here. PayPal this week announced that they will offer full crypto services in the UK, having set up the same offering in the US.
(In this aspect, we do believe that we are ahead of the curve; we set up Scallop in July 2020 with these exact features in mind and these giants are only coming out with these products now. So, in terms of competition, we do believe that we’re ahead of other startups but it’s the giants in the space, who have the resources to speed up their transition in this digital war, who we are really competing with).
What Can We Expect To See From Scallop Over The Next 12 Months?
RB: We have much coming out over the next 12 months. We will have the launch of our digital token (SCLP), as well as our product launch in the coming months. This will include Scallop banking accounts and virtual and physical debit cards, as well as digital wallets and banking-grade hardware wallets for users to securely store their digital assets in. We also have our own network - Scallop Chain - coming in Q2 2022.
In terms of business, our product will initially launch in the EU and UK and after that we will expand operations to Asia and Oceania in H1 2022, where we have already begun the necessary processes for regulation.
Stay tuned for a big year ahead!
The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.
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