In the latest edition of our interview series with the leading lights in the future of finance, we speak to Felipe Ballester, Co-founder at Paydece, a peer-to-peer crypto asset exchange service.
Paydece recently added support for RIF and a number of tokens in the Rootstock ecosystem. Check out the Paydece app to make peer to peer trades with other community members today.
Hi Felipe! First tell us how you got started in the world of crypto?
In 2020 Carlos and I (two friends born and raised in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) started our first business together called CriptoProp. It was a marketplace that allowed users to buy and sell real estate using crypto as the payment method.
After two months of work, we realized that the real estate market was on average grown in age (the owners of the properties were mostly people of 50 years or more), and crypto adoption was very low in that niche. Also, the average amount of money in each real estate transaction was huge and people thought that doing those transactions in crypto was very risky.
We decided to pivot the market and build CriptoCars, a marketplace where people could use their crypto to buy and sell cars, and before 2 months passed, one car was sold confirming that the idea could potentially work. A commission fee was charged for every car sold.
Source: CriptoCars Facebook
The marketplace was an Instagram profile, where people could see the cars that were published. The first users were contacted by cold calls to people that were selling their cars in Mercado Libre and other platforms. Also, many agencies were called so more than 5.000 cars were available to be bought using crypto in Argentina in 2021.
The process of buying the car was very easy for the users and consisted basically of sending the cryptocurrencies to the CriptoCars wallet and signing the papers for doing the transfer of the car.
Users could buy their new car in a safer (without carrying physical money), cheaper (very low commission), and faster way (crypto transactions done in less than ten seconds). During 2021, thirteen cars were sold using crypto as the payment method, and the total revenue generated was 8.000 USD.
We didn’t own a car back then, but we also were not scared of selling cars and using crypto (non-conventional payment method). We got used to receiving a lot of NOs and failures, but deep down we knew that with conviction and perseverance, we could sell cars, using crypto as the payment method.
When scaling started to be the objective, Carlos and I decided to pivot to paydece at the end of 2021, a P2P payment gateway that allowed users to buy any goods using a smart contract as a decentralized escrow.
In December of 2021, after years of making business together, Carlos and I decided to move together to a floor in Buenos Aires city to work 24/7 in paydece. We worked for a total of six months to build the MVP of the decentralized P2P crypto payment gateway.
In April 2022, the MVP was launched, this included a smart contract escrow in the BNB smart chain where people could connect using their MetaMask self-custodial wallet. The solution started to be used very fast by the first users. Transactions included crypto to fiat exchange, buying land in the metaverse, buying Argentinian food with crypto, and also buying clothes.
Who has supported you on your journey so far?
At first, we didn’t have any kind of external support. Friends and family didn’t understand anything about startups and crypto. First team members saw the potential of the idea and joined the team. After one year and a half, angel investors supported paydece idea with 60k USD followed by a VC with 300.000 USD. During this time I was also admitted to Draper University. All of these were validations that helped family and friends to start to support us in our journey.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
We created a solution that was payments with crypto using smart contracts directly connected to the blockchain, so decentralized payments. We tried something related to this main idea. DecePay, DePay, PayDe- paydece, was the end name.
What’s your elevator pitch?
Blockchain makes people free! They can send or receive money without needing any financial institution in the middle. Freedom is the key for humanity.
However when using the blockchain for P2P purchases of goods and services there is a high risk of fraud, because transactions are decentralized, anonymous and irreversible. That’s why we created a smart contract escrow. Users never lose control over their funds. S
Since launch, we have escrowed more than one million USD dollars, we have been audited by hacken.io, the Dapp works with more than 150 wallets and 4 different blockchains. We are the evolution of transactions.
When did you first ‘get’ the power of blockchain, web3 and decentralization?
In 2020, when making the first stakes in the BNB chain. Money on its own making me earn more money. Without any bank or financial institution in the middle. Also sending my first USDT was easy, without barriers or limits or bureaucracy. This is why I know that this technology is the future.
What are you most excited about in the industry right now?
It’s an ideal time to be building! Inflation, bureaucracy, central scams, regulations, control, loss of identity control are all growing problems that web3 solves.
Any big predictions for 2023 and beyond?
Bitcoin Halving will start the new bull market and crypto FOMO will start to kick in once again. This will bring more users to Paydece and the ecosystem as a whole.
What do you enjoy most about entrepreneurship? What do you find the hardest about it?
We create the way. We know where we want to be and every day we work towards nearing our objective. We are the ones writing the future.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
paydece, as most web3 projects, is built by the community! If you’re reading this and you’re interested in learning more visit paydece.io.