Interview with Paulo Rodrigues - CEO at Public Mint
1. Hello! Would you introduce Public Mint to those of our readers who have yet to know your platform? What is Public Mint right now?
Public Mint is a fintech company that uses blockchain technology to give traditional fiat money the benefits of cryptocurrencies, minus the complexity and uncertainty. Our blockchain is the first fiat-native public blockchain that enables people, companies, applications and banks to interact in frictionless new ways around a money that is familiar and stable. With Public Mint, both end-users and partners can take advantage of the programmable and instant nature of blockchain to create - and make use of - solutions in bleeding edge areas such as DeFi, as well as to replicate and automate existing business processes that involve money (such as invoicing, Forex, etc).
2. We frequently review DeFi platforms. There is no shortage of them. What makes Public Mint different? Why do people stick with you?
Public Mint is not just a DeFi solution - it’s a full-fledged ecosystem, including the underlying protocol and implementation, a legal structure for fiat funds, and an open application layer (on top of which we launched the first application, Public Mint EARN).
The EARN program is a community-governed earnings aggregation application built on top of Public Mint’s fiat-native blockchain. The program makes it simple for the broader public to tap into the high returns available on the crypto space (including DeFi and CeFi), while diversifying the allocation of funds to mitigate risks of a single point of failure.
Safety is paramount: EARN generates yield from stablecoin (USDC) lending products, so returns on principal are generated and paid for in USD. With the recent addition of a generous Loyalty program and MINT rewards, it also offers attractive rates of up to 22% APY.
EARN is built-into the Public Mint Mobile Wallet, and soon to be part of the revamped Web Wallet. The EARN functionality will also be available for integration with partners.
3. Public Mint is headquartered in the USA. We've learned that it is really hard to meet the requirements of the crypto regulators in many states in this country. Have you encountered this challenge? What is your experience with regulations and what is your stance on crypto and regulation?
We are not a bank; we’re a fintech company. In the US, we are a FinCen-registered money service business (MSB) - meaning we can operate a selection of services nationally.
Regulation in this space is still a work in progress, and we’re carefully following developments in the regulatory space - not just in the US, but also abroad.
Even before starting, we seeked counsel from the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of Currency), an independent bureau of the US Department of the Treasury who “charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks.”
We seeked a preliminary assessment on whether what we were planning to do was feasible or not in the eyes of the regulators. Although we didn’t get a formal approval letter (no one would give you one — not then, not now), basically they did not give us a thumbs down, which meant we were on the right track.
4. What's the main direction of the Public Mint development in the next couple of years?
In the coming years, Public Mint is focused on scaling up and increasing access to the benefits of blockchain to the masses.
To do that, our first goal is to use our EARN program to drive liquidity into the system. Then we plan on expanding into other fiat currencies and markets (the Euro and British Pound being the next ones), broadening the funding methods to lower the barriers to entry, and adding fintech features for greater utility, such as launching a debit card and lending products (legislation permitting).
Finally, developers are absolutely crucial. In parallel to our internal roadmap, we’re also looking to build a network of developers. Independent developers create and improve solutions that drive use and innovation, and we’re doing our best to support them.
5. Where do you see Public Mint in 2030?
I see Public Mint as one of the key parts of the infrastructure that connects the traditional economy to the blockchain, with more conservative companies able to take advantage of the best of both worlds: the money they know and trust, and the advantages of a blockchain-based platform.
So in 2030, I hope to see a thriving, vibrant ecosystem of solutions built on a new dimension of money, and connected with many other blockchains in a seamless, efficient way.
This way, we hope to enable individuals and businesses to get a bigger share of the value they generate, instead of spending on intermediaries and friction.
6. Cryptocurrencies and fiat money. How do you imagine the best model of their coexistence? Which tectonic shifts should happen to make cryptocurrencies mainstream?
For cryptocurrencies and fiat money to work hand-in-hand, currently the best model involves a 1:1 representation of fiat funds onto the blockchain. This enables people and businesses to make use of a money they know, but turbocharged with the incredible powers inherent to a blockchain-based system.
Making native cryptocurrencies mainstream would require greatly improving the UX (reducing the barriers to entry), as well as a clear regulatory framework that creates the kind of certainty that not just businesses, but even governments would require to be able (and allowed) to use them. Getting there requires not just the tireless effort by developers, companies and advocates, but also time.
7. One of the goals of Public Mint is making earning cryptocurrency as simple as possible. Do you want to bring your app to every smartphone or do you rather think of specific demographic groups? How wide is your potential user base? What groups of people are your target audience?
Ultimately, we’d like to see every person, at every level, to have access to the benefits of crypto – without having to fully understand the technical details that are often a barrier to entry into the market. However, this is a massively daunting task.
More realistically, our immediate audience includes SMEs and traditional corporate users who may find it useful to create and compose on top of our blockchain. As for EARN, we’re looking to begin with onboarding the many older millennials who are watching the crypto market from the sidelines, but who don’t feel ready to dive head first into the waters.
8. Will Bitcoin give up its dominance over other cryptocurrencies? Who's gonna be a leader of the market in the nearest years and why?
Bitcoin is the one crypto currency that has stood the test of time and will likely stick around and increase in value. As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow, Public Mint expects to see other tokens and coins rise as education grows and public opinion continues to be favorable toward blockchain technologies.
9. Thanks for taking your time with us! We really appreciate it!