Interview : Markets Benefit from Blockchain & Digital Currencies Insight From Bobby Kakar
Written by : Bobby Kakar
Team Spotlight & Power Hour Episode 6 features Bobby Kakar, our Senior Vice President — Market Development MENA, who discusses which markets can benefit from Blockchain & digital currencies.
Hear from him on what is next for WadzPay, and how he aims to drive adoption for new payment methods in MENA with merchants.
Head to our Youtube Channel to listen to his insight.
1. Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
No one person in particular, but I like reading and learning from a myriad of different personalities and admire their particular traits E.g. The integrity of A P J Abdul Kalam (former president of India); the tenacity of the FB founder Mark Zuckerberg; the genius and self-belief of Elon Musk, the discipline of Warren Buffet; the vision of Sheikh Mohamed of Dubai.
2. What is your favourite sport?
This has changed over the years. It was initially Cricket. Now it’s more of tennis and golf, and of course watching soccer. My son has also got me hooked on to F1 and I’m enjoying the rivalry between Vestapen and Hamilton.
3. What do you miss the most from the pre-COVID days?
Undoubtedly travel! I enjoy traveling: whether on business or on holiday with the family. I haven’t visited my parents in 2 years and apart from a couple of business trips have done no travel! Looking forward to things opening up in 2022.
4. How do you spend your typical day?
A typical day, starts early in the morning, wake up around 6, read the paper for about half an hour, then 7 am I do the school run, and back at 7.30 I have a cup of coffee and do nothing for half an hour, by 8 am or 8.15 am I’m ready for the day which generally stretches to 5.30 though it can get late some days. I then go off for a cycle around or a brisk walk and am back by 7 pm. Then it’s dinner, family time and some general reading. Lights off by 11.00 P.M.
5. Is there something that you used to do that you loved, but you’ve now stopped doing?
Maybe I should have restarted playing tennis. I had stopped after an injury a few years ago and never got back to the court even though the injury has long healed!
1. How large is the potential market in our sector? Can you give us your perspective on this?
I think the potential is huge as more and more use cases are realised using blockchain technology and crypto assets. I also see this as becoming more mainstream as more people realise its convenience and potential to make things quicker, simpler and cheaper.
I also feel that there is a big use for crypto assets as a mode of remittance and store of value in places where there is rampant inflation and / or high costs of moving money.
2. How quickly do you see the adoption of merchants accepting new payment methods in MENA?
It’s difficult to put a firm date on this but I believe we’re approaching an inflection point very soon. I think the first step is consumer adoption and holding of crypto assets, which is already happening. Whilst adoption rates may be much higher in Asia, I believe it’s catching up here as well and there are more local options emerging. They’re already a couple of exchanges based in Bahrain, one in UAE and recently the DWTCA announced an agreement with the SCA which will allow them to issue licenses for companies involved in the issuance, listing, offering and trading of crypto assets. With this consumer confidence would improve significantly, and I expect that to translate into wider holding and ultimate usage of digital assets.
Moreover, as and when travel opens, I do anticipate tourists from different parts of the world wanting to use crypto, or even CBDCs, for purchases and that would have a catalytic effect.
3. What’s the most challenging part of developing the business in MENA, and also what will drive its success?
I think the challenge is that whilst a lot of organizations have committed to research papers, POCs or one-off pilots, mainstream adoption has not yet happened.
On the flip side, the MENA region (especially GCC), has amongst the best IT and Telcom infrastructure and blessed with a very young population demographic — this translates into quick acceptance of new technologies and trends. As such once the spark is lit, adoption would spread really fast.
4. What problem in MENA are you trying to solve? How can WadzPay be the solution?
WadzPay has developed a unique technology stack which allows it to connect crypto with traditional rails, with CBDCs or even each other. WadzPay has also developed use cases in remittances, gaming and trade finance which can provide a significantly better user experience and also realize meaningful savings in costs and turn-around-times. We also have solutions which would enable banks to integrate digital assets into their consumer offering and integrate into their existing mobile Apps.
5. What methods do you use to oversee multiple departments and ensure your work is error-free?
Methods are constantly evolving and depend on the team size, location, nature of work, experience levels etc. I do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
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WadzPay.com is Driving Financial Inclusion whilst enabling broader acceptance. WadzPay will become THE DEFAULT Digital Payments Processor. We will build direct relationships between Financial Institutions (FI)/non-bank Financial Institutions (NFI), merchants and consumers. The WadzPay token WTK is available on Bitmart now.