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Mercuryo CEO: Fiat Ramps Remain the Key Entry Point into Crypto

The enduring role of fiat on-ramps in crypto adoption

Despite the changing landscape of cryptocurrency entry points, fiat ramps remain vital for introducing Web2 users to Web3, according to Mercuryo's executive director, Aviessa Khoo.

Key takeaways:

  • Fiat on-ramps are still crucial for onboarding traditional internet users into the cryptocurrency space.
  • Shifts in user behavior have seen more crypto being moved to noncustodial wallets.
  • The need for improved user experience is critical for broader crypto adoption.

Aviessa Khoo, speaking at the Token2049 conference in Dubai, outlined the significant role fiat on-ramps have played and continue to play in the cryptocurrency sector. From 2017 to 2022, Mercuryo saw substantial transaction volumes through its on-ramp solutions, primarily via centralized exchanges. However, recent trends indicate a shift, with more users now transferring their crypto into noncustodial wallets, suggesting a preference to buy and hold assets longer-term. 

Despite these changes, Khoo asserts: 

"On-ramp is definitely still the biggest gateway to onboard Web2 users into Web3, bridging these non-crypto users into Web3. If you talk about fiat on-ramp, the infrastructure is good for non-crypto native people." 

This infrastructure remains a cornerstone for introducing new users to the possibilities of Web3, although crypto-native users often seek alternative solutions like peer-to-peer (P2P) to avoid higher transaction fees associated with traditional payment methods like Visa or Mastercard.

Enhancing user experience to foster greater adoption

The discussion at Token2049 also touched on the importance of user experience (UX) in crypto adoption. Khoo emphasized: 

“Because I’m from the payment infrastructure side, I think user experience is very important. And this is something that all the product managers that I have been working with are the most concerned on.” 

She recounted an interaction with an investor who, since 2017, could not access their Bitcoin wallet due to forgotten credentials, highlighting the challenges that non-crypto natives face. Khoo believes that improving UX is crucial to increasing the conversion rate of Web2 users into Web3. 

Similarly, Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, who also spoke at the event, criticized the current state of UX in crypto, noting that it is “nowhere near what it needs to be” for mainstream adoption. These insights collectively underline the necessity for ongoing improvements in how users interact with crypto technologies to achieve broader acceptance and use.