Talking Crypto With Netcoins President Fraser Matthews
Daniel: Hey, everyone. My name is Daniel, and welcome back to The Finance Channel. Here today, I’m joined by a very, very special guest, the president of Canadian-based cryptocurrency trading platform, Netcoins, Fraser Matthews. Fraser, thanks so much for coming on.
Fraser: Oh, thanks so much for having me, Daniel. I appreciate it.
Daniel: Awesome. So I guess just a bit of an introduction, you know, who are you and how did you get involved with Netcoins?
Fraser: Yeah. So I’m Fraser Matthews. I’m currently the president of Netcoins. I joined the company just a couple of months back, and for me, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been working in the financial services sector for the last 15 years.
A lot of my time has been spent as a management consultant. I’ve worked with companies like Capco, Ernst & Young and PWC, which has taken me on a lot of different client engagements, in North America, in Toronto, where I’m originally from and where I’m based now, and in the US, I spent a lot of time working in New York.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work in London, England, and most recently, for the last seven years, I’ve been working, in Dubai, out of the Middle East, where I’ve been focused primarily on digital transformation on mobile and web application builds and on scaling up large teams that are kind of centred around digital products. You’re kind of digital, no branch, no storefront types, and helping to bring those to the market with partners and clients.
For Netcoins, it’s been a really exciting journey. I’ve known some of the management team from Netcoins for quite some time and re-engaged with some of them in the past year, which kind of led me to take a look more at the crypto industry. So shifting from banking to crypto had some differences as far as what the products are and what the services are. And, in some cases who the customer base is as well, but, a lot of similarities as well, you know, regulatory needs, compliance needs, and ultimately bringing great products and great experiences to customers. So I was really excited to move back home to Canada with the opportunity to join Netcoins and that’s where I’ve been for the past two and a half months now.
Daniel: That’s incredible, could you elaborate a little bit more about what Netcoins is and the product offering behind it?
Fraser: Yeah. So Netcoins has been around for a long time and kind of early stage from the crypto industry perspective. So dating all the way back to 2014, as kind of the thought and idea to start up, on a crypto journey for Canadians. But in 2017, it really got its footing underneath it, where it was focused on making it easy for Canadians to buy and sell Bitcoin and how to get started in crypto.
From there, it evolved into more of a broker-based background where it’s buy and sell mini coins. And the company’s gone through quite an evolution. So, building up from a web product and adding in mobile capabilities. Over the past year, Netcoins has scaled up from 11 coins to 36 coins as an example.
It’s owned by Bigg Digital Assets, so the parent company is publicly traded, which is really exciting. It brings in other partnerships within that ecosystem as well, so Qlue and forensics, Blockchain Intelligence Group, they also have investments in Terra Zero and in Luxxfolio. It creates a really diverse product platform that we get to partner with.
In addition to that, Netcoins has been focused on being regulatory compliant and, during the last year, got its early regulation. So Netcoins is the first Canadian publicly traded regulated platform and has evolved to not just be for entry-level traders but as well to offer more coins and services for more intermediate trading as well.
Daniel: That’s incredible. So as president of Netcoins, what do you see in terms of vision for the company looking into the rest of the year and beyond?
Fraser: Yeah. It’s a great question. For us, It’s about being as customer-centric as possible. So we are making sure that we’re really focused on what our customer’s needs are and understanding where they are in their crypto lives and in their journeys. What we want to do is be at the forefront of your crypto life, as a consumer, and as a user on the Netcoins platform.
So we wanna make sure that we’re safe and secure, first and foremost, we wanna make sure that we’ve got great coin offerings as well as features that are gonna help customers make great decisions for what they’re trying to invest in as well. In addition to that, it’s about scaling our offering from a feature perspective and also from the experience perspective as well. So we’re going to kind of up our game through the rest of the year around what we look and feel like as well.
Daniel: Sounds exciting! With expansion in the works, I know Netcoins and Bigg Digital have been very focused on the US market specifically. What do you see as some of the key similarities and differences between those two markets?
Fraser: Yeah, it’s a great question. So from a similarities perspective, customers are looking for safety and security. They’re making sure that they’re with a platform that’s gonna take good care of them as a customer. In addition to that, they want great coin offerings, and they expect great things from their mobile or web applications as well.
From the differences, there are a lot of very strong global players that are within the US market that are well established there and have a number of different features that Netcoins doesn’t have at present. So we do have to make sure that we’re being competitive with them from that side. And we’ll look at expanding our features to match.
There are also higher adoption rates of crypto in the US. There’s a lot more exposure to it as well. So, we think it’s a good opportunity for us to also learn and bring things back to the Canadian market
Daniel: Sounds exciting. Obviously, first half of 2022 hasn’t been the best for crypto. There has been a bear market leading to several defaults and bankruptcies in this space. And I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on that and if you can give an update on where Netcoins stands.
Fraser: Yeah. So from Netcoins’ perspective, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve been really focused on being safe, secure and regulatory compliant. We work with the regulators to make sure that we understand what their needs are from a consumer perspective and that we’re in line with everything that’s required from them.
In addition to that, we don’t do lending. We don’t do anything that leverages anything from the customer’s perspective. Everything that a consumer has or a user has on our platform, we have all of their coins backed up alongside insurance that covers everything, that’s on our platform as well. So for us, making sure that we play by the rules and that we’re safe, strong and secure is at the forefront of what we do and for us as well. We don’t take any kind of major risks. We make sure that we’ve got good, solid coin offerings, and that we’re protecting our customers at every end.
Daniel: So is that the plan at this point, just to kind of stay out of the yield game, which is generally seen as much more risky in the space at this point?
Fraser: Yeah, definitely for us. We haven’t made any applications for it, and it’s not on the immediate roadmap. We have seen some news about it in the community and ecosystem. For us, we’d rather be a fast follower in the space than be the leader on the yield side. We are being certainly risk averse during this point in time as far as what we’ve been seeing in the industry. For us, we’re focusing more on building out strong features for our customers that are centred around kind of the core of what Netcoins is, which is trade and pay.
Daniel: Very nice. I guess speaking a little bit more broadly now, looking at the crypto space, blockchain technology, how do you see that evolving over the next 5 to 10 years?
Fraser: Yeah, it’s a really exciting time. I think there’s a lot of great building going on right now, and there’s certainly a lot of testing and learning going on, to say the least. And understanding all of the different use cases that apply to the crypto and the blockchain space is exciting. Blockchain technology can be used across so many different industries and ways of working as well, and I think that’s really gonna be exciting to see where that takes off.
So anything from government land departments, to personal identification, to say land ownership or tendency and all those types of things are really interesting blockchain use cases, on the crypto side of things, it’s really gonna be the evolution of the space. There’s so much out there right now. I think we’re seeing some potential use cases to really take off, and as well, we’ve seen some use cases, you know, that have been unsuccessful as well, and that’s okay. The industry Is evolving and, like I said, testing things out and learning. I think the evolution over the next 5 to 10 years is going to see where things get adopted and, really importantly, what gets adopted as well.
So people are looking right now at speed at transparency. We’ve even been looking at ecological footprints as well and seeing carbon footprints and what’s gonna make sense from an environmental perspective. And I think all of these things will be tested. To show us what protocols, what coins, what chains, you know, will be commonly adopted and put into those use cases as well.
I think in the industry, we’ll also look at what could be compared to the fiat world. You know, what can be done more quickly. Maybe more cost-efficiently, maybe faster, on chain or in the crypto world versus the fiat world as well. So whether that’s global remittances, peer-to-peer transfers or stores of value, I think it’ll be really interesting to see how this evolves over the next 5 to 10 years.
Daniel: Is there anything in particular that excites you the most, or is it really just more of a broad kind of excitement towards everything that’s going on?
Fraser: Yeah. I’m really excited about seeing the kind of parallel world of crypto to the fiat world. I think it’s really interesting to see. Can you really live your crypto life, you know, with your digital wallet, you know? Buying and selling things online, using crypto, and most importantly, seeing trust evolve in that space as well.
I think as we see more common adoption, more security layers come into place. More trust can be built in the networks, and ultimately that’s what consumers are looking for. I think, when we do see that start to come into place, it’ll become really exciting for, say, mass adoption. So it’s going beyond, you know, the kind of NFT evolution and revolution that we saw here into more commonplace utilities and use cases that are used commonly day to day.
Daniel: So is the main focus of Netcoins going to be to really just try and cater to those needs and to that transition of crypto kind of almost substituting the current fiat system?
Fraser: In some ways, yes, I think we, we wanna make sure that we’re there for our customers so that we can empower and enable them to live their crypto lives. So whether it’s from a wallet perspective, a payment with crypto perspective, a trade perspective, we want to make sure that we can kind of back our customers up and make sure that they’re empowered and able to do that. And we wanna make sure that we’re building technology that focuses on that.
Daniel: Awesome. And I need to ask this as you are a crypto exchange, you know, are there certain coins that have been the most popular on Netcoins? Whether it be over the past few weeks or months? And do you see that changing over the next little while?
Fraser: Yeah, we’ve seen lots of movement in coins over the past few months. So, you know, your traditional coins, Bitcoin and Ethereum for us are always at the top. We do have Ripple, which, you know, users are using our platform to buy and sell. We’ve been able to add new coins in the past few months. We’ve added Cordano, Solana, Polkadot, and as well, we’ve had great collaboration with the Dogecoin and Shiba Inu communities on our platform as well, which has been really exciting.
And, you know, for us, we’ll continue to look at new coins to add to the platform. We’re always listening to our customers as they ask for more to be added, and we look forward to hearing more from different communities as projects take off.
Daniel: It sounds exciting. Is there like one area, whether it be of crypto, a specific coin, you know, a certain area of the blockchain that excites you the most.
Fraser: Yeah, I think for me, it’s finding ways to create global financial inclusion. It’s something that I was definitely really passionate about. While I worked in the financial services industry and it’s kind of that uncoupling of the traditional banking and financial systems and making sure that there can be adoption for all and that it’s accessible, globally.
So for me, that’s really exciting, I think it can be a great enabler across the world. And it’s a great way for us to connect our financial systems up, both on a crypto and a fiat basis as well. So that’s really exciting.
Daniel: Sounds awesome. Fraser, thank you so much for this conversation. I guess, for the people watching, is there a way that they can connect with you? Whether it be through social media, email, is there some way they can do that?
Fraser: Yeah, sure thing. The best, best way to reach me is on Twitter. I’m @FraserMatthews7 on Twitter, so I’m available there anytime. I love having conversations and the messages there, and tweeting together and learning more about not just the Netcoins community, but the greater Canadian crypto community as well.
We’re always open to suggestions and feedback as well. And look forward to connecting with anyone that would like to on there.
Daniel: Awesome. I’ll make sure to put your socials in the description box down below, so feel free to check that out if you’re watching and thank you so much Fraser for coming on.
This was a real pleasure, and thank you all so much for watching. I really appreciate it. And we’ll see you all in the next one. Bye-bye.
If you’re looking to purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, buy Bitcoin with Netcoins. Netcoins is a fully regulated crypto trading platform in Canada.
Written by: Daniel Zychla
Writer, content marketing at Netcoins.