Interview: How To Explain Blockchain Technology To Someone Who Doesn’t Understand It with Melcom Copeland

Written by: Melcom Copeland

Team Spotlight & Power Hour Episode 9 features Melcom Copeland, the Group Head — Market Development for Blockchain Payments of WadzPay, who simplifies the blockchain realm with topics including: ‘How to explain what is Blockchain to someone who doesn’t understand it’.

Hear from him on what is coming next for WadzPay, and how he ensures that the regional goals are aligned with the global company’s strategy for The Market Development for Blockchain Payments.

Head to our Youtube Channel to listen to his insights.

Team Spotlight

How do you explain blockchain technology to someone who doesn’t understand it?

I think in the most layman terms, Blockchain is like a log or blocks of timestamped information that is stored to create a database, and this data can cannot be changed or deleted.

What is the best business advice people have given you based on your experience, and what’s the best business advice you think you have provided to your CEO?

I think the best business advice ever given to me was two-fold. First, is always doing your homework, which can mean many different things; for example, if you’re a salesperson or doing business development representing our product or solution, you need to know your product like the back of your hand and intimately know what you’re talking about.

Secondly, and more importantly, you should know about competitive solutions in the marketplace, and be up to speed on competitive analysis. Another piece of advice is to always know your numbers in business. About 18 years ago in the Philippines, I was invited to a board meeting with seasoned professionals and investors whom I was providing solutions to in the past. One gentleman asked me about the business I was in, he asked me about my numbers, and I said, What do you mean? He asked, what is your company’s revenue? What are your company operating costs? What does your balance sheet figures look like? And honestly, even though I had been doing this business for more than 5–6 years at the time, I did not know my numbers. At that point, I realised I passed up on incoming investment opportunities, on the sole reason I did not know my numbers.

As advice to my CEO and founder of WadzPay, I would advise him to dig deep and leverage his experience as a pioneer in the traditional payments space and utilise the traditional payment and finance rails knowledge he knows intimately, and to continue to think out of the box in terms of providing innovative, disruptive, yet compliant solutions to the marketplace; solutions that are easy to build and easy to adopt to the various target markets.

Additionally, I would ask him to shoot for interoperability as a primary vision that supports a composable architecture through APIs for all of our solutions. We can partner up with most fintech companies, banks, and digital banks to provide relevant solutions to the marketplace today. Lastly, I would advise him to continue to surround himself with experienced talent; more specifically his human resources within the company and give them the liberty to create strategic products and solutions.

What are the most important values as a leader for you?

To be an effective leader, you need to be able to lead with a positive influencing example. You must be able to empower your teams and build reciprocal trust based on your actions. Trust is an especially important aspect to me as a leader, alongside team empowerment and aiding in growth opportunities.

Please describe in three words if an NFT is a human!

If anything, it’s tough in three words, but I think I have two different approaches to this. Firstly, No-it’s-not, it is not a human, it is unique.

When we talk about digital assets, we are also talking about non-fungible tokens that rely on and live in the blockchain; we as humans do not live in a blockchain, meaning NFTs are not human. On the flip side of that, yes, it can be humanistic by the simple fact that if I wanted to digitize my knowledge or certain specific skill sets or subject matter expertise, I could digitize that as information sitting on the blockchain and have ownership to that.

Team Power Hour

WadzPay is growing and expanding massively; how do you determine priorities for your department?

My role does traverse many departments and areas of our business across strategy product, business development and sales. I am constantly engaging with department heads and team leads to ensure I am aligned and spending my time effectively supporting the various initiatives in the pipeline. For example, I am involved in the daily scrum meetings with the development team. These calls happen every morning at 9:00, representing the interests of the business and the product. It is great to be involved and to share what you know. The development team and implementation teams discuss what they are working on, and they use me to determine whether they should continue working on a specific task. This has been very engaging, and it’s one way we keep our priorities in line with my own.

What is a proud moment regarding the company that you can probably share with us?

Personally, I joined WadzPay nearly three months ago, and due diligence on the company, the founder and board members of the organisation are seasoned pioneers in the traditional financing payments space.

Seeing them pivot to more alternative payments, blockchain-based payments and fintech, I felt proud to be able to be invited to join the leadership team to give my five years of experience in the non-traditional alternative payments space using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments.

I feel proud to be able to engage with these leaders, and to have that opportunity to work with individuals who know 100 times more than I do about payments and to be amongst open arms to engage with what is happening in the new world and with regards to the feature of payments.

What do you expect from your team?

I expect simple engagement and expect my team to have accountability and responsibility for their day-to-day work. My team needs to be open to wearing many different hats as a startup, as we do not have all the resources. I expect my team to be flexible and not look at specific tasks that are not in their remit as something of a burden, but instead, something that they know if they contribute to and take ownership of, they will be able to help WadzPay grow.

I think then you know my team is just performing to their best ability and always ask for help and assistance where they need support. That is one of the most important aspects because our industry is evolving rapidly, and we must ensure we continue learning.

How do you ensure that your team is always motivated to deliver to their best?

I try to provide continuous support to my team and sharing what some of my experience has been in the corporate or commercial world for more than 25 years, I have a lot to bring to the table in terms of some solutions or guidance. If my team is facing some barriers or issues and need help, it comes down to communication and ensuring we are working on exciting projects. I think developers or even sales folk are always motivated if they are working on innovative scopes that have never been done before, and we do have leeway in that area in terms of the fintech sector. Furthermore, keeping them engaged and motivated by providing the tools and freedom to excel.

What is your goal for WadzPay, and how do you ensure that the regional goals are aligned with the global company strategy?

From my perspective, my responsibilities for WadzPay have to do with creating solutions and understanding problems in the marketplace due to traditional payment, banking, finance, and institutions. Furthermore, developing strategies around a product and technology stack that is composable or something that is API-based and focused on simple integrations. Most of our partners are leading-edge payment processors who have been in the business for 20–30 years, and banks, digital banks, and other fintech attempting to disrupt them. I would love to see WadzPay be the go-to solution provider in terms of allowing blockchain-based payments within the traditional finance sector.

In terms of goals for the region, it is interesting, as although I am based in Singapore, I am currently in the Middle East and Dubai. My regional goals are global goals, and those strategies are all intertwined. If I were to segment what is going on within the company, my role is to align what we are doing globally, in the Middle East, and what we are doing in the APAC region, to ensure everybody is up to speed in terms of the solutions we are developing, how these solutions and products that we are creating solve real-world problems.

Additionally, as a leader, I am willing to provide as much as I can in terms of knowledge share. The space is so new that many folks on board with the company do not have much practical experience in the blockchain and digital asset space, so I take it upon myself to make sure the goals are aligned regionally and globally. Also, the knowledge is spread amongst our team members to ensure everybody within the company is up to speed with what we are trying to do.

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WadzPay is an interoperable blockchain-based payments ecosystem. The company was founded in 2018 in Singapore and currently operates in South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

WadzPay saw the potential for CBDC and Digital Assets to lead the next revolution in the payments industry: enabling faster payments, improvements in security, and cost-efficiency with optionality.

WadzPay is working with large international payment companies, banks, and global companies to enable digital asset-based transaction processing and settlement.

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