Cryptopay MD, Eric Benz is consumed by a desire to ‘shape the future of money.’ A Founding Director of the UK Digital Currency Association, Benz looks ahead to ICE London (6th – 8th February, ExCeL London, UK), where he will be part of the new 4,000sqm section dedicated to the fast moving world of payments
ICE London 2018 will comprise over 500 exhibitors from 62 nations occupying a record 43,500sqm of net space. How important is it therefore for Payments to have its own dedicated feature within what is the world’s biggest gaming expo?
ICE is the largest & loudest event in gaming and it keeps getting bigger. A dedicated payments feature makes a lot of sense.
Competition, customer preferences, territories and risk management all require a merchant to work with multiple payment solution providers. Having a dedicated zone will help everyone manage meetings and build new commercial relationships far more effectively. Let’s say I’m a delegate and I need to talk to a business for local payments in South America, a white-label card provider for my VIPs, and Cryptopay so I can accept bitcoin; I am going to be far happier not having to walk one thousand meters in between each meeting – thank you, Clarion!
How will you be using the ICE Payment Solutions section: what do you want to achieve from your presence in London?
At ICE we’ll be announcing some exciting partnerships, hosting our existing customers and giving new merchants that are interested in cryptocurrencies a chance to pick our brains. We are the most established and trusted cryptocurrency gateway provider in the gaming space, and we’ll be demonstrating how simple it is to start accepting digital assets – even if a merchant wants to remain completely in traditional fiat currencies.
In your opinion what are the big challenges and opportunities facing the Payments sector in 2018?
Bitcoin is both the opportunity, and the challenge. I don’t think there will be much else talked about in 2018. As a concept, bitcoin has changed the way we define, use and store money. People can now digitize their cash, and retain complete ownership of it. Bitcoin is disrupting legacy payment methods – wire transfer, debit card, PayPal etc. The customer experience is frictionless and each transaction is also a settlement. Increasingly, merchants need to accept bitcoin (or cryptocurrency) payments, because people want to make their purchases this way. Those that adopt sooner stand to benefit most. For businesses needing to pay staff around the world, or make international payments, bitcoin is also a superior way to do this.
This technology will be the new payment rails and financial plumbing of the future. Everyone should be paying attention.
Challenges will come from primarily government and regulatory bodies. It is after all in their interests to support and protect their citizens, and this is a new technology that they do not thoroughly understand. We are now seeing forward-thinking jurisdictions drafting regulatory frameworks for bitcoin, and this is something we will see more of. Until we gain more clarity, merchants need to be sure they are acting responsibly, and this is another area Cryptopay can help. For instance, we can alert a merchant if any bitcoin a customer has deposited has previously been involved in any known illegal activity.
How important is it for the industry to have a major showcase event such as ICE London. Does it help promote the positives the industry has to offer society?
Something you find at ICE that is missing from so many other events is the presence of gaming charities, associations, law enforcement and regulators, all engaging and building relationships with the operators and suppliers attending. This does so much to improve the image of the industry as a whole, and it should be assuring for members of the public.
I think many people would also be surprised to see that new technology is mostly used in the industry to protect players and business – not to take advantage. Operators use AI to identify problem gamblers, payment solution providers prevent money laundering by spotting suspicious transactions, RegTech companies with KYC solutions reduce identity fraud. I’d say all of this is incredibly positive.
The industry collectively generates so much for good causes, and I’m sure the trend of working closely with charities, associations and law enforcement will only develop further.
Would you agree that technology is now the overarching theme that unites all of the verticals present at ICE London?
Absolutely. Gaming constantly pushes the boundaries of technology – this industry will not keep still! Most will notice that it is habitually an early adopter of unproven technology too – AR, VR and bitcoin for instance. Like other industries, gaming was radically boosted by the dawn and advance of the Internet and we’re going to see similar innovation and growth in the next few years when the concepts of the Internet of Value and Internet of Things start to become a reality. Over the next few years I anticipate the lines between online and land-based gaming will be far less distinct – all powered by technology.
ICE London is the world’s most international business-to-business gaming event, with 151 countries represented by the record 30,213 visitors who attended the 2017 edition. Featuring world-leading innovators drawn from across the gaming landscape, ICE London provides visitors with the most comprehensive shop window on the international industry. To register for 2018 edition of ICE London, which will comprise 500+ exhibitors occupying a record 43,500sqm of net space, visit: icetotallygaming.com
Cryptopay are exhibiting on stand N8-224
To set up a meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Managing Director of Cryptopay, Eric Benz