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Pioneering decentralized crypto payment solution: Interview with Airswift CEO

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Airswift is a Web3 Fintech company building a decentralized crypto payment platform built around the core objective of connecting merchants with Web3 payment acceptance solutions. It’s designed in a way that empowers businesses to expand their digital currency acceptance, enabling digital asset holders to make frictionless purchases. 

Airswift has recently launched its centralized crypto payment gateway – Airswift Connect and is expected to release one of the first decentralized crypto payment protocols in the next month. With the mission of ̣connecting businesses with customers from the universe to the metaverse, Airswift is all set to help merchants enter a prosperous digital world. 

In an interview with Dr. Yan Zhang, the CEO of Airswift, we talked about the decentralized payment protocol and its mission and vision, as well as Airswift’s pre-seed funding, new product launch, future roadmap, and much more. 

1) What was the thought process behind designing Airswift’s products? Talk us through your mission and vision for Web3 payment platforms. 

Exchange, payment, and wealth management are the three cornerstones of the financial services world. While there are decentralized exchange and wealth management platforms, the industry is lacking decentralized payment gateway products, which are needed to transition from centralized to decentralized fintech infrastructure.

For instance, centralized gateways bring custody risk if the provider defaults, while this isn’t an issue with decentralized solutions. And unlike centralized gateways, decentralized payment protocols enable payment using whatever currency there’s a market for. Also, decentralized solutions reduce the cost and friction of cross-border payments. 

There are two reasons why people haven’t made a decentralized gateway yet. First, you need the right technology to execute privacy protection for on-chain transactions. Second, payment is a specialized industry with many regulatory requirements, and meeting them is a challenge that requires an in-depth understanding of Web2 payment systems. 

Our team is overcoming these challenges by applying their expertise in both financial services and Web3 technologies. And although we’re a Web3 payment protocol, our most important mission is to connect merchants with customers and to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3.

2) How have your crypto payment solutions performed since their launch? Could you elaborate on the achievements and hurdles that came along the journey so far?

After starting operations in the summer of last year, we have released our key product–the crypto payment gateway–and attracted some pilot customers for it, including payment service providers who want to incorporate crypto solutions, and small shops who want to accept crypto for different purposes. Some want to attract younger customers, while others want easy cross-border transactions. 

We’ve also spent the past half year building up our infrastructure, working hard on the payment gateway and settlement solutions.

Our biggest hurdle is building connections between the Web2 and Web3 worlds, because currently regulators are extremely cautious, and the overall market is tough. So we need to make sure compliance managers at organizations are confident about our approach to handling the information and fund flows for crypto transactions, which are different from those for transactions using traditional currencies.

3) With certain limitations surrounding the crypto space, how does Airswift respond to the industry’s challenges? 

The number one challenge in the industry is the speed of innovation. The regulation process lags behind innovation, so issues arise that we have to solve ourselves. 

Airswift is tackling this problem through transparency measures: due to a lack of regulation, central exchanges are experiencing fraud. But have you ever seen decentralized exchanges fail because of fraud? No, because everything is on-chain and transparent, meaning every transaction is auditable. Our decentralized payment protocol brings similar transparency– it doesn’t leave room for anyone to conduct fraud.

The second big industry challenge is privacy protection. Without this, people won’t want to export their business dealings to the blockchain. We’ve put a lot of effort into working with international standards committees like W3C to ensure we’re on the same page with privacy protection. 

4) What are the different features of the decentralized payment protocol? How do they make it stand out from the rest?

First, the decentralized payment protocol is liquidity pool-based, as access to crypto liquidity is needed to facilitate the many sporadic fund transfers required by merchants. 

We build our liquidity pool together with all merchants using our gateway. The pool generates interest to liquidity providers, which is risk-free because liquidity contributions remain in the pool and do not accrue an impermanent loss. 

We are also executing our mission to reduce the cost of crypto payments for merchants and consumers. Crypto payments should be cheaper than fiat because a lot of the fees associated with fiat payments do not apply to crypto.

5) Tell us more about ‘Airswift Connect’, your centralized crypto payment gateway. How important is it for the crypto space? 

The gateway is designed to make your crypto transactions–particularly your e-commerce transactions–smooth. It can process crypto payments from e-wallets, credit cards, and gift cards. 

To use Connect, you can incorporate a plugin into your Woocommerce or Shopify backend. So there are lots of benefits to the gateway–it’s trying to make your life easier by letting you enjoy the low cost and high convenience of crypto transactions.   

6) What role does your on/off ramp service play? How beneficial is it for the users in the Web 3.0 world?

Smooth on-ramp and off-ramp transactions are very important because although our mission is to bring everyone into Web 3.0, people still have to pay their bills in fiat. And since offramps are taxable events, we work with licensed partners for crypto-fiat conversions while also trying to make the process quick and low-cost. For example, we provide T+0 off-ramp services at a minimal cost. 

7) What impact did Airswift’s recent pre-seed funding round have on its investors? 

We’re very selective about our choice of seed investors because even though all investors are great, it’s even better to attract investors who’re specialized in your project’s area. Our CEiC investors are very specialized in fintech and come from one of the top ten fintech investment firms. 

Our lead investors have helped give us a good market image, which has helped us gain interest from other investors. The temporary market isn’t great so we’re looking to announce other investments when market conditions change. 

8) What community engagement activities are being planned for Airswift users? 

Airswift uses a B2B2C community engagement model: we work with businesses to serve customers. Our approach to community growth is different from those taken by purely Web3 native projects, and that’s one reason we are talking with AMB crypto–because we are more engaged in the professional community. 

But particularly with our DeFi products, a lot of consumers will jump in later on. Airswift is planning to launch its token sometime this year, which allows the general public to explore one of the first payment-based DeFi products.

9) What lies ahead on the Airswift roadmap? Tell us more about it.

Our decentralized payment protocol is going to have its official release in a month. Hopefully, by Q2 of this year, we’ll have our starting user-based established for it. Then the job is to build up the volume of our liquidity pools to best serve the industry.  

Learn more about Airswift’s crypto payment solutions at https://airswift.io/.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.

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Ishika is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Delhi. From writing content as a hobby to now pursuing it as a professional career, she has been living and breathing content all her life. Her interests lie in making sure articles are very digestible to a common reader, despite all its technicalities and jargons.
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