Insights Transformative Path With Blockchain MWC Mento Labs.jpeg

“The Transformative Path with Blockchain” Panel Insights

March 7th, 2024Markus Franke

Featuring Markus Franke, CEO at Mento Labs, during Mobile World Congress

February, 2024, Barcelona

How do you see the current trends on regulation?

Markus: We see more and more positive developments on the regulatory side. Let me share a few examples: Singapore now has a regulatory framework for stablecoins. The Markets in Crypto Asset Regulation (MiCAR) is coming into effect in Europe this year, providing a regulatory framework for three different types of crypto-assets, as well as regulations for crypto-asset service providers. This is very important because with regulation in place corporations can enter the field, having regulatory certainty, which enables new use cases for stablecoins. We also see other regulators around the world looking at these existing regulations, e.g. MiCAR, and exploring how they can swiftly implement their own version.

It definitely feels like there's more momentum in blockchain now than perhaps this time last year. Do you agree?

Markus: It was good for the young blockchain industry that it for now was not at the center of the technology hype, AI took that place. People often mention the lack of a ChatGPT moment, where real end-users utilize blockchain technology without necessarily knowing its underlying principles. Not being in a hype market enabled the industry to build. There is much better infrastructure now, more regulation in place, more scalable blockchains and therefore improved usability. For example, Celo has already settled 400mn transactions so far and continues to grow daily. There are more user-friendly mobile wallets, like MiniPay or Valora, ensuring global accessibility. This momentum is particularly significant in regions with limited access to traditional financial services, where blockchain can facilitate various use cases such as saving, lending, borrowing, and remittances via mobile phones. This widespread adoption is driving momentum.

Can you tell us more about the work you're doing in this space?

Markus: The open-source Mento Platform is focusing on providing accessible stablecoins in multiple currencies. So that users in every country of the world can access either a USD stablecoin or their local digital currency via various wallets. One wallet I would like to call out is MiniPay, built by the browser company Opera. It's currently one of the fastest-growing blockchain wallets in Africa. It was rolled out at the end of last year, currently live in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and soon will be launched in many other countries in Africa. MiniPay is growing so fast because it allows users easy access to mobile transactions with Mento stablecoins, with settlements within two seconds and minimal transaction fees. It's creating a digital ecosystem for remittances and mobile payments.

What also excites me is micro-lending using stablecoins. The mobile wallets not only allow users to get access to USD stablecoins, but also to get a small loan in their local currency to build their own business, and therefore, to get access to liquidity, and to credit so that they can build up businesses. This is really exciting, because micro-lending again enables many other use cases with the liquidy it provides.

To conclude, what would be a good year for you?

Markus: Onboarding 1 billion users to the blockchain using stablecoins for payments, remittances, micro-lending, and saving would make this a good year for Mento Labs and the ecosystem as a whole.

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