The booming world of cryptocurrency is going mainstream, and there is no doubt that cybercurrency does have real-world value. However, the interchanges between the regulated fiat driven banking industry and the cyber currency world must be established for both to thrive.
Into that gap has come a Dutch-firm, WIZZLE, with an eye to offering a regulated payment gateway services offering for Europe in particular that also offers real-world ATMs where customers can actually cash out cryptocurrency, real-time, into even cash.
Here is how it works. Customers are connected to the blockchained services on offer by a series of blockchained platforms that provide both regular banking services for the crypto community, plus an invaluable gateway between this and regulated, fiat currency.
If you think “bank-in-a-box” that is exactly what the company hopes you will think. That is where they are positioning their services – for both individuals and small companies with potential clients and services that must be paid for in a mix of both crypto and fiat money on a regular basis, no matter where they are, or the payee.
We recently sat down with Mark Noorlander, the CEO of Wizzle to have a chat with him about the project as well as finding out his thoughts and insights.
Mark. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and WIZZLE?
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I started my first business in catering when I was 18, then I was in nightclubs, furniture rentals and then technology. Technically, I am based in the Netherlands, but really I am based in my car, or mid-air traveling between WIZZLE teams in Rotterdam, Milan and Banja Luca as well as various partners around the world.
I started one of the world’s leading blockchain studios, Flashboys.NL in 2015 helping leading companies with blockchain solutions and ICOs and now, with our flagship product, WIZZLE, we are venturing into the ICO world ourselves.
Our mission is to bring blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to the masses and give everyone, everywhere access to financial services.
You call your services “bank-in-a-box” but you are actually not only much more but really a critical payment gateway between crypto and fiat currency. That is super cool. You are however clearly approaching this with an eye to country regulation rather than a “global” one size fits all approach. Why did you decide to go this way? Because you are sitting in Europe or because you saw another reason?
We believe that Blockchain technology is going to disrupt several industries, including and probably most noticeably the financial services industry. However, for good reasons financial services are covered by many regulations on both international and national levels. These existing regulations do not fit the new way of working that Blockchain technology enables. Updating the regulatory frameworks will take years and even then there is no guarantee that all countries will take the same stance and regulate it in the same way. The only way we think that we can make it work is by setting up a global network of financial service providers. These providers will all use the same “bank-in-a-box” software solution, but they will configure and market the services in compliance with the regulations applicable in their territory.
How did you come up with the idea and what was the thought process behind it?
When we first got into contact with Blockchain technology we immediately realized the big potential that it has. We also realized that no new technology has ever completely replaced the existing technology in a couple of years. It could easily take decades before Blockchain technology becomes part of the daily lives of everyone, everywhere in the world. The Internet itself took a long time to penetrate and even now, it still isn’t part of everyday life in many parts of the world. This is why we saw the need for a solution that bridges the gap between old and new and at the same time stimulates adoption all over the world.
What is the biggest problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for WIZZLE to fill?
The biggest problems with Blockchain technology at the moment are scalability and user experience. We would like to get involved with scalability improvements but at the moment WIZZLE is fully focussed on the user experience. We try to reach as many people as possible with easy to use websites, mobile phone applications, reseller applications and even ATMs – familiar payment methods that people already know and understand.
What do you think is the biggest problem WIZZLE will solve and why is the problem important to solve?
What we try to provide are easy to use solutions that everyone in the world can use knowing that it is secure and in full compliance with local regulations. We believe that this is important as it will put powerful tools in the hands of many people and we hope that it will help to convince governments that blockchain can be a force for good, rather than something to be feared.
Why are you going with two different currency strategies in your pre and actual ICO (i.e. you are willing to accept fiat in your current presale but are limiting your ICO to crypto only)?
There are many different payment methods and currencies in the world and accepting fiat currencies is quite complicated. Of course, that is exactly part of the problem that WIZZLE wants to resolve but we are not there yet. The ICO is intended to fund the roll-out of the global network to do just this.
During the pre-ICO, we expect fewer transactions due to the minimum purchase value of 1 ether. Therefore, we will be able to support fiat payment during the pre-ICO but not during the ICO.
In the whitepaper, you talk a great deal about country regulations in a way that is different from other kinds of companies. Are you basically saying that your cloud structure will be segmented by country or that there is another relationship between your cryptocurrency and country-specific fiat currencies?
The WIZZLE “bank-in-a-box” solution comprises many different services such as buying and selling cryptocurrencies, international remittances, funding project through token launches, and investing in financial instruments like real estate bonds.
The regulations about such financial services are different everywhere. In some countries you need a license to offer international payments, in others, there are even restrictions on capital outflows per day. There are different regulations about Know Your Customer, about notifying regulatory bodies about suspicious behavior, about accredited investors or retail investors, about accepting cash payments, about taxes etc.
We are building the software in such a way that we can configure all the settings per country, but even that will not be sufficient. We will have to build in special features for specific countries. Our cloud infrastructure is set up in such a way that we can show the customer a solution that is completely tailored to the country in which they live.
Editors Pick: WIZZLE ICO
No matter how hot the world of crypto gets, it still has to integrate into a traditional banking and payment portal environment that is user-friendly and easy to adopt. For all the talk of cryptocurrency operating “beyond” banking regulation, 2018 is the year when the crypto-blather hits the road. on
Regulation-wise, what are the toughest challenges you will have to overcome? And from where?
We are doing our best to interpret the existing regulations to the new situations we are facing. We are not only looking at the letter of the law but also the intentions behind them. But we don’t know exactly how regulation will change when legislators finally start to update the regulations for the Blockchain-era.
What are the services you plan to offer that excite you the most?
Our modern digital kiosk and ATM with many functionalities which will allow customers to withdraw FIAT currency from their crypto wallets using their WIZZLE debit card. It will work brilliantly and look great too. I can’t wait to use it myself.
What has been your happiest moment so far working on WIZZLE?
Working with our amazing global team, whether that is seeing the brand unveiled by our design team in Milan, finishing a successful development sprint with our guys in Banja Luca, crafting messages with our marketing team in the UK or pitching with our growth hacking team in Rotterdam are things that continually make me happy. However, if I had to pick one single moment, it would probably be seeing our Telegram group top 6,000 participants in the first fortnight.
On the flipside, what has been the most painful, or perhaps the most regretful decision you’ve made with WIZZLE?
I don’t have a single regret, other than not starting this earlier!
What is the indicator you are looking for to tell you that you have begun to achieve your mission?
We have had more than 100,000 people register for our Airdrop, the majority of whom went on to refer their friends. We have participants from all around the world and a number of people interested in potentially becoming country managers. This tells me we have something with the momentum that people want to be a part of.
Tell us more about the WZI token.
What are the selling points and what does it do in the system?
The WZI token is similar to the air miles that most airlines offer. If you use our services then you can earn tokens. You can then use these tokens again to pay for our services and to make use of special offers.
For instance, if you have more than 100,000 WZI, then you can lock these tokens which earn you additional bonuses but, more importantly, gives you access to our WIZZLE Insiders program.
The WIZZLE Insiders program will give you early access to all the new services that we are going to introduce. During the ICO we offer a one-time opportunity to buy the WZI tokens at an attractive discount.
What do you think is the biggest challenge or obstacle WZI will face? How do you plan to tackle that challenge?
The biggest challenge will be to scale globally and maintain a consistent experience with good customer support. That’s why our franchise model is going to be so important – getting the right people in to drive the success and implementation of WIZZLE in markets around the world.
Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
There’s no such thing. Last week, I was in Milan with our designers and shooting an interview for a new website, then I flew to London to shoot some videos for our site. I flew back to Rotterdam for a night then had to get a train the next morning to collect my car from the development team office in Banja Luca. Next week I am in Vienna meeting one of our clients and then Asia to finalize a partnership with a key supplier.
Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.
Blockchain technology creates a single-point of truth that everyone participating in the network agrees with. That is a very powerful concept. For instance, “Who owns what?” is a very important question that pops up everywhere.
Who owns that car? Who owns that plot of land? Who owns those shares or government bonds? Who owns that genuine Gucci handbag? Who owns that shipment of oil in that tanker? Who owns that medical data?
Those are the kind of questions that Blockchain can help answer and in many cases, it can do so in a much more efficient way than we have ever seen before. We first see this happening in payments, which after all are a simple question of transferring the ownership of some money. But soon we will see it in all industries.
What’s something that you believed to be true for a long time until you found out that you were wrong, or if you don’t like that dichotomy of right versus wrong, what’s something significant that you really changed your mind about over time?
In the beginning, I thought blockchain technology was just a cool new way of transferring money from one person to another without the pain points of traditional financial institutions. However, over the last few years of running a blockchain studio and working on a number of exciting projects, I have expanded my worldview. I truly believe this technology can radically change whole industry sectors and our approach to them.
Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life? Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?
Get a body like Channing Tatum and convince the Pope to participate in our ICO. The Vatican is one of the world’s largest investors – they should be one of ours!
That concludes our Interview with Mark Noorlander
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