Scott Purcell, CEO and Chief Trust Officer of Prime Trust shares his thoughts on the core challenges still affecting businesses when it comes to digital payments and processes in this chat while talking about his views on the evolving global fintech space:
We are glad to have you here at V3 Media Scott, tell us a little about yourself…
I work as a serial entrepreneur and I have seen both wonderful successes and heartbreaking failures. I have got a lot of experience in the securities and internet industries, having started numerous broker-dealers, a trust company that serviced broker-dealers and their institutional fixed income clients, one of the world’s first commercial internet service providers, and a music encoding and streaming businesses. These all led to my current FinTech endeavours of Prime Trust, which provides financial infrastructure to fintech innovators, and Banq, which is a next-generation mobile banking app built specifically for business payments. Work is my passion, but I also try to balance my work and life with my family, it sometimes includes long weekend skiing and hiking in Park City.
What according to you are some of the biggest payment trends in business to business that you’ve been following in the past few months?
Naturally the world has turned to contactless payments in a huge way. That has accelerated the adoption of mobile payments. It’s also opened the door for alternative payment methods, including crypto currency. This will continue to grow fast in 2021 and opens the door for continued innovation in payments.
How do you feel payment platforms are set to evolve with the impact of new digital coins, currencies and changing user needs?
We are seeing more and more payment platforms tie into Prime Trust infrastructure, especially for acquiring cryptocurrency (converting fiat into crypto, and crypto into fiat) and using it to settle transactions. Banks and payment systems that don’t adopt crypto as a payment method (in addition to their existing offerings) will fall behind and lose customers at an accelerating rate to innovative platforms who are happy to eat their lunch. The old guard, as is normally the case in transformative times, will either be too slow to embrace the new technologies and quickly cede marketshare or will acquire fast moving start-ups and thrive. 2021 is going to be an interesting year with a lot of M&A activity and shifting leadership positions in the payments space.
Can you tell us about the challenges you feel are still there in direct digital payments today in regards to business to business?
There are a few challenges I can think of, but the biggest are…
- Legacy core accounting systems don’t support the level of precision needed to avoid “drift”, which is 18 decimal places; you simply cannot enter the crypto world without this as your accounts will never reconcile and you’ll never be able to report truly accurate positions.
- Blockchain settlement times make it impossible to accept direct-from-wallet transactions. Fortunately several custodians, including Prime Trust, have created technology that enables merchants to settle transactions instantly with no risk of market volatility affecting the price/value of the transaction.
- Liquidity is an added challenge, especially for merchants who don’t want to hold crypto directly given the volatility. Coinbase, Prime Trust, and others have technology now to instantly convert Bitcoin (and other crypto currencies) into dollars, Euro’s, Pound Sterling and other currencies as needed by merchants, and this will help drive forward the adoption of crypto as a valid, usable payment method.
Please share some thoughts on some of the most innovative payment platforms that you think are making a mark?
We can see new generations of payment platforms coming up to provide service to many industries and pain points. These include industries that are neglected or disrespected by traditional banking such as Cannabis, adult, firearms, and gaming, as well as the unbanked population around the world. Many of these have already started to get some traction in 2020 and will accelerate in 2021.
What would you like to say about the global fintech start-up marketplace- what according to you are some interesting global start-ups that are standing out?
Let’s just say that over the past decade we’ve seen innovative fintech firms such as Robinhood, Betterment, CashApp, Stripe, Acorns, and many others who caused disruption to the status quo…we can now witness a new generation of fintechs who are doing the same thing in payments and financial infrastructure.
We know that the global fintech trends are changing and the market is shifting due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what would you comment on the state of fintech in 2021?
This is a historically great time for fintech in general, payments and infrastructure specifically. We will see a traumatic change in 2021 for old-guard businesses that won’t or can’t adapt, and tremendous opportunity as a next generation of fintech success stories emerge. Our capital markets will be fundamentally changed by crowd funding and Alternative Trading Systems (ATS) for private securities (and real estate), our payment systems will be transformed by digital currencies, and banks will be displaced by mobile and API-driven technologies.
We’d love to hear a bit about some of Prime Trust’s future plans?
Prime Trust is one of the only financial institutions that can provide the full range of infrastructure needed by these next-generation fintech innovators, and we intend to continue to press our advantages. Our core accounting system, is able enough to hold assets to 18 decimal places, has a never-ending roadmap of new features in the queue, we’ll be rolling out a debit card program so our API-integrated customers can offer branded cards to their customers using both cash and crypto currency, including both conversions and lending, we have new plug and play widgets such as CoinRamp and Banq that help accelerate our customers launch times, and we have a number of regulatory endeavours planned for the US, Europe, Asia and Canada.
Lastly, tell us about some of the biggest lessons that you want to share with fintech innovators and leaders?
I would like to recommend a book, read “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. I’m seeing quite a few “me too” start-up’s, including ventures of huge businesses, that are likely destined to go down because they don’t understand their purpose in business. Success depends upon an entrepreneur’s ability to fully think through their value proposition and understand exactly why customers will embrace them.
And don’t be afraid to partner with firms who you may view as competitors. “Coopetition” is the future of business, especially fintech. Nobody can do it all, markets move too quickly and software takes too much time to write. The old adage of “a rising tide floats all boats” applies to every industry, and it will lead to some awkward relationships that ultimately lead to mutual success, accept it with whole heart.
Thank you Scott for answering all our questions!