RETISIO: good day and welcome to RETISIO’s Unlock Digital Commerce Podcast. This is a show where we explore the latest trends in technology in the fast moving world of digital commerce. In this interview style podcast, we ask the important questions of expert digital commerce practitioners and retail leaders to help you gain traction and sell more online.
In our conversation today, we will explore the significance in future potential of cryptocurrencies in e-commerce and how they can revolutionize the way retailers and brands engage with their customers. Okay, I’ll introduce our guests for today. We are super excited to have Iri Zohar. He’s the CEO of Bring, which is a FinTech and crypto company that enables retailers to engage in a concept called Lock to Pay, and we’ll dive into that in a little bit.
He is a retailer and ad tech and a serial entrepreneur that is found in companies including Meridian, ate and Fresh Hub. All three of which led to exits totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Welcome Iri. We appreciate you being here. Hello. Hey, Iri. Thank you for having me. Thank you. We also have, as always, Tony Moores who lends his expert insight and opinions on all things related to digital commerce.
Hey Tony. Hey there. Tony is currently the Chief Technical Officer at RETISIO, and he has deep experience in leading retailers and brands and digital commerce tech implementations that enable ’em to operate online more efficiently, reduce risk, and grow their businesses. So welcome both of you again.
We’ll go ahead and dive right into the conversation here. Iri, let’s start with you. Can you explain probably from a high level the concept of staking and how it can benefit retailers and brands in the context of crypto based e-commerce? Sure. How does it work, maybe, and what advantages.
Iri Zohar: You got it. So first of all staking basically is replacing proof of work. Initially, when crypto was involved, there were like miners, people who spend a lot of electricity to write the blocks that then constitute the crypto, systems, platforms. And then, thank God, there was proof of stake invented, basically really saving the earth and reducing the cost of electricity.
Proof of stake basically means that instead of minus you have validators or doing the same things they’re writing, the data you know of those platforms, but instead of putting it out electricity they’re taking the staking tokens of, the specific chain that is being processed and walked on.
And people who give those validators those tokens to stake, they get some of the payment. So instead of the miners paying money to the electricity companies, you have validators paying money or interest to the people who give them, those tokens to stake. So NetNet, it means that if you hold a bunch of crypto and you wanna just lock it and make some money on it, same thing, right?
Like in the fiat world, we can just lock money in the back and get some interest on it, especially those days. So you can do the same thing in the crypto ecosystem where you give your money those validators, it’s actually really safe. It’s like government bond. Not the US government, but they’ll figure it out.
But but really safe like type of locking your, your tokens, your funds, and getting an interest on it. So that’s taking, we have nothing to do with that. That’s an existing concept that is really fueling the the crypto space those days.
Tony Moores: So sta so staking as a in terms of cryptocurrency is now replacing mining or.
An alternative to mining, but from a, if you’re as old as I am, that from a traditional banking perspective, if I had currency and I left it with the bank in a, basically an a non-liquid way, like a cd, right? I say, for this amount of time, this stake or this amount of currency is locked.
I don’t have it. It’s still mine, but. It’s being used. And then at the end of the term, the assumption is that I’ll receive some sort of benefit typically in interest.
Iri Zohar: Exactly. You got it. Exactly. That’s exactly the story. Yep. So on top of that, staking, we came out with something which seems to get a lot of traction.
People really like it and we call it lock to pay. So the idea is that in the crypto world, many people don’t care so much about that interest that they can make because if you have some, if you know what’s really focused on is this, if going up in value, it’s now worth, $1,800, but you think it’s gonna be worth $4,000, $10,000. So that interest isn’t really interesting. So we basically tell people who have crypto give us your crypto, let’s lock it, do the taking stuff with it. But basically lock it for a few months and we’ll give you stuff just for locking it so you can decide if you wanna lock it.
And then you can choose a vacation, watch, electronics, whatever you feel like. Each item has a price tag based on time. So this watch would be three months of locking. This watch would be five months of locking. You lock it five months later, you all the money all day, whatever, five if that you’ve blocked, goes back into your wallet.
You didn’t lose anything. And in the second that you lock, right when you begin the locking, you get the watch. So it has that like immediate clarification type element to it. And this concept, that you don’t have to waste your crypto if you really believe in your crypto. I don’t want to use it to buy stuff.
Cause you think it’s gonna really go up in value. It’s good. You can just keep it and still get stuff
Tony Moores: for it. Yeah. That, you’ve mentioned a number of things that that I’d love to touch on. So so folks who are not very familiar with. The cryptocurrency industry not unlike a stock or a bond or anything else the most of the folks who are playing with the currencies as currencies are making a long-term bet.
On its volatility, right? It’s going up and down, and they’re going to buy or sell in the hopes of making some money in the future. And from what you’ve spoke about Iri, it sounds like there, there is an opportunity for gaining interest in, in, in locking, however, either it’s small in comparison to the fluctuation.
Or it’s and therefore less interesting or there just isn’t a good purpose or value for locking it because I assume, locking it for any old reason. Somebody who’s holding it wants to use it. I’m assuming if it works like the bank models and then somebody who’s waiting for it gets the interest.
What’s the, what’s the value prop that bring is bringing to the table? How does this because clearly there are people who believe in crypto and are using it, and people who don’t. And I see this as an opportunity for both of those people to interact together.
But I’d like to hear a little bit more about the business model and the value proposition that bring brings to its customers.
Iri Zohar: Sure. So first of all your points I think the classic use case. Which represents, I think most of the people who are in the crypto business are people that believe, in the long time, long, long term potential of crypto.
So it goes up and down, but they believe in the app. They think long term’s gonna go up. So they bought a bunch of, some coin they believe in. There’s a coin called Ether, which is like very famous Solana poly dot a bunch, let’s say I believe in is. So I bought, I’ve spent, $20,000, bought a bunch of is and I’m holding onto it now.
I believe in crypto and I think it’s gonna go up, but I don’t wanna use it cause I’m gonna use it. Then when it goes up in environ, I’m gonna be sorry I spend, you don’t wanna spend it.
Tony Moores: You don’t wanna spend it since you’re
Iri Zohar: diminishing your P. Exactly. I wanna use it. Exactly. Exactly. That’s perfect. I wanna use it but not spend it.
Got it. That’s now I just as they say I wanna eat the cake, but still have it full. That’s ideal. It’s actually possible that’s what we do. That’s our thing. Eat the cake and keep it full. So the idea is, I put those bunch of, if I’m, they’re sitting in some wallet now I wanna hold down to them, but I still want this nice watch, so I can just take them, lock them for a few months.
Now I can’t sell them. They’re locked like a CD in the bank. But anyway, I believe in the, I don’t wanna sell them anyway they sit in that, Place with those validators, generating that income and what I’m doing, I’m giving up that interest. I just have, the if which, anyway, that’s my focus and then I’m turning, bringing away, take those few months worth of interest.
But give me a watch now isn’t in, in dollars. Okay,
Tony Moores: but where are you guys getting the watch?
Iri Zohar: So we work with retailers, right? Ah, we closed deal with retailers as the user you choose. If you wanna watch, we’ll give you a bunch of, retailers that sell watches. If you, on a vacation, a bunch of those vacations choose the one that you like.
Every watch has a months type price tag to it. You have to, block for three months if you on this watch, if you on that watch, you have to lock for five months. But then it’s the regular e-commerce add to cart, everything is is normal. There’s a little floater that you can access and you can decide that you want to lock more or lock less.
Or when you’re inside, you know that, that retailer, you can still access your crypto and change the parameters. And then, check out everything is regular. There of the process, there’s a special payment button. That the retailer ads with our service. So have another payment option, parallel to Google Pay, apple Pay, visa, there’s luck to pay.
Click that you approve the lock and you got the watch without wasting any for crypto. Three months later, you know your crypto is free. You can do it with whatever you want, and you got your full cake. Installate.
Tony Moores: All right, wait a minute. Let’s break this down a little bit, because they, from a, from the customer’s perspective, the person buying the watch, right?
They have crypto and they want to use it without spending it. But they’re okay with locking it up for a while. Bring comes to the table and says this particular. This particular currency when it’s locked with us for a particular amount of time, essentially equates to some dollar amount.
And, you’re taking somebody’s regular catalog and saying, this might be an item I want to purchase with, with a US dollar amount associated with it. You’re translating that to time. So what at, at the time of purchase, you’re saying the customer gets the watch right away.
What is the retailer get? Are they getting crypto or are they getting something else?
Iri Zohar: Crypto gets dollars like from the crypto retail perspective. Just like the client paid with a visa gets the dollars instantly.
Tony Moores: Ah, so bring, lock to pay is managing the all of the crypto. The retailer.
There’s no change in, there’s books, there’s no change in their process. It’s just it’s just another payment method. No. Different than any other payment gateway.
Iri Zohar: Exactly. You can think about a little bit like buy now pay later. The retailer gets paid instantly. In dollars.
And then the buy now, the cloud firm, they basically take care of all the FinTech in the backend. So you know, they deal with the delay in that magic. So our magic is, FinTech but crypto, FinTech same thing. We give the retailer dollars instantly and then we take care of that stake and the interest and all of that complicated stuff.
To make sure that we are okay, but nobody has to worry about that. We figured that out. But it’s simple for the retailer. Just money for the consumer looking for a few months and getting the watch.
Tony Moores: That’s a very interesting business proposition cuz you have I’m sure there are retailers out there that have thought about, if not already experimented with accepting, various types of crypto on their site, but for one reason or another, whether it’s risk or perception or volatility have either stopped or decided not to. It sounds like a pretty riskless way to tap into, a fairly large.
Group of people who are using crypto and essentially expand your market can you give us a sense of, how big is that market? Or what’s, what kind of, what does this look like in a, as little as a real opportunity for, say, a retailer who today is not accepting crypto versus someone tomorrow who might using something like bring.
Iri Zohar: Sure. So basically we’re talking about actually pretty massive market. The numbers are talking about more than 400 million users, people who hold crypto around the world. And it’s not only that, basically, if you think about, think about a retailer today. So retailer today needs to get clients all the time, needs to fight.
So you have Google and Facebook. You have to spend money, you have to fight with, 50 competitors like you, and kill your margins, to get in and pull some
Tony Moores: audience from there. Sure. The race for eyeballs, right? Or the wallet share.
Iri Zohar: Exactly. And the race is very tough. And then you have 400 million users.
Basically nobody’s there, right? There’s no. I’m inside, doing my crypto stuff. So my, in my crypto wallet, I’m in the crypto platform. People are spending time there. They’re crypto, they like crypto, so they’re there, but they’re not seeing any ads, any offers, any merchants, from on a vacation.
I’m not seeing any vacation. If I’m gonna go to Google, I’m gonna be drowned by vacation offers. So the details are killing each other. If, I mean my crypto wallet, nothing is there. So 400 million users who creators can really talk to, offer, make offers to pull them into the website.
And not only that, it’ll be very easy anyway for those consumers to spend money with those crypto, with those retailers because as we said, they don’t really spend it. They just lock the crypto so it’s easy to buy and no clutter, less type environment where the literals can really, make offers and pull new buyers.
Tony Moores: So it’s, it almost sounds like, there’s this giant auditorium with people with crypto burning holes in their pockets. And nobody on the floor to sell them anything, or very few people on the floor to sell them anything. And it’s, it sounds almost like a two-way street, right?
From the retailer’s perspective. I’m effectively accepting crypto without dealing with crypto. But it sounds like you’ve also now have this kind of community or portal of folks who have already, believe in crypto where you can, what essentially create a marketplace of all the vendors who are using bring.
And but it sounds like you also have this it almost sounds like a marketplace or a portal where all of the people who are holding, various currencies, various cryptocurrencies anyway can come to bring and essentially see all the retailers. Who might be selling all, any number of things all in one place.
So is that correct? Is it like a marketplace? Do you have something like that?
Iri Zohar: So it’s it is a marketplace I would say, but aby model is not where they come to bring, actually find them inside. Crypto platforms they’re using. So you’ll be inside your wallet or your crypto seats and right there in that wallet, there’s gonna be like a deal section.
So you don’t even have to go to different website. We are gonna bring the offers into the places where the, those people are, those crypto orders are. And yeah. And everything is really one, one thing we did put a lot of effort in is making it really easy. Making do your X really smooth, zero friction.
So you know, you are in your wallet. You go right into the retailer already connected to your wallet. So it’s, easy click and you approve everything. You approve the lock, you get the merchandise. So everything is really easy. And sits right there where your money is, where your wallet
Tony Moores: is.
So that’s smart following the wallet. Obviously if you’re using crypto, you have to have a wallet at least
RETISIO: one wallet. A reputable wallet too, I would think. And also I was gonna ask, does it matter which type of crypto right now, that Bring works with? Or you can have all kinds of different ones, or is it just Bitcoin or is, maybe you can talk a little bit about the different types and which ones are more prevalent among retailers right now?
Probably Bitcoin, I would think is the main one,
Iri Zohar: bitcoin is Bitcoin is a big one. But Bitcoin, remember we, when I spoke about, the proof of stake and the idea that there are no miners and now those validators and stake replaces the mins, that’s not the case for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin still is based minus Bitcoin is really, likes to stay. Not make many changes be very stable. The alternative gold, that’s how they like to think about themselves. We’re more focusing on the coins which are more like innovative by approach. And we’re starting for the big ones.
We working with ether polka dots actually working with some very innovative one, which is called Aurora. Which is a very interesting project. And then a bunch of others. And, it’s a process every, coin we have to work with, we have to integrate with and add it to our platform.
So as time goes by, we’re adding more and more different options. So the end goal would be that whichever token you have, you’re gonna be able to offer block to pay on that token.
Tony Moores: But the, from the retailer’s point of view, someone who’s using your services, it’s just Dollar point.
First thing it does is that it says if the user came from us, came from one of our platforms, the crypto platforms, or it’s regular user. It’s regular user, it does nothing, just ignores it and the site behaves normally. That’s interesting. It came from us. Then it adds that little floater that you can access the platform you came from.
And changes the prices into time. But we, integration is nothing the payment button that depends on which system you use. So we have different ways of working with Shopify based retailers, commerce based retailers. So that varies based on our platform.
Tony Moores: Yeah, because those, depending on the platform, like ours is an open platform, we can use any payment gateway.
But if you’re using something like Shopify, you have to use Shopify Pay if, and there are other examples. So that essentially the onus is on you to integrate with all of these proprietary payment gateways. Besides Shopify and Wu, have you worked with any gateways that some of us would know?
Iri Zohar: Yeah, we have yeah, we’re working with since pass, which is Okay. Alternative payment method. In integration with our two very big players. I’m not sure I can mention the names yet. That’s fine. They’re coming out soon. But basically I would say, until now every merchant that we spoke with, were able to find like an elegant solution which required very good integration effort.
So that should not be concerned of the merchants.
Tony Moores: Fantastic.
RETISIO: Fantastic. Yeah. It’s been a, it’s probably getting towards the time where we need to wrap up, but it’s been a very interesting conversation. And let me ask you guys like an ending question here. What do you see maybe Erie, as far as the future of crypto and e-commerce and, what do you see evolving there as far as retailers and brands for what’s in it for them really going forward?
And then, I know that. Making it easy to buy is the main thing, but maybe you can talk about what in the future. Is it gonna be I’ll just shut up and let you answer my question.
Iri Zohar: I have some piece of scope, small scope for your for this podcast. This will be the first year where basically advertisers with a big amount of them, retailers would be passing more than a trillion dollars. In the online ad tech to s for people who drive traffic into those retailers.
And that $1 trillion, if you look at the equivalent in web three or in the capital world, is almost zero now. So I think really the future is in creating strong collaboration. Between retailers and those different, web three players, which are now totally disconnected, that trillion dollar understand the magnitude of this opportunity.
Sounds like your company’s trying to do that. Yeah. All we need is trillion dollars. It’s not, Hey, and then besides that, I think that like FinTech really evolved. In the regular internet, right? You have Bino, you have cash back, you have, the point of all that stuff.
And almost none of that exist in crypto. I think when we see a lot of that innovation inspired by, the regular word stuff that are specific to crypto, lack to pay. So a lot of FinTech innovation and stuff coming on with that connection between, retailers and that massive untapped opportunity, which is gonna open up.
Very good. Tony,
RETISIO: you have any closing thoughts?
Tony Moores: So crypto in the crypto space, it still remains in, in, in my mind, the internet in the early eighties, right? There were people out there who knew what it was, who believed in it, who used it, who grew it.
It was very community based. But if you walked up to the, average person on the street and said, Hey, the internet. You get I’ve heard that’s comper, oh, that’s Bitcoin, right? I can, I think that’s where we’re in the stage. That’s the stage we’re in with this, fast forward 15 years, 20 years.
And now, everybody’s on the internet. Internet. And it’s we’ve bypassed the point where people even know what it is. They just use it and take it for granted. So I believe crypto has that opportunity. But obviously right now there’s a lot of, there, there’s a lot of players.
And like everything else, like currency is based on confidence, right? I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a reckoning if, a smaller set of big players rise. But I’m really not a FinTech guy, right? So these are just, things that I see. The, that sort of come from, similar technologies that I’ve seen evolve, right?
A blossoming of lots of players and then, a concentration to the hands of folks who really do it right. And, ultimately based on it, on its usefulness now, from any covers perspective though, I think, we’ve seen a shift, right? From into how things are paid for, how things are financed and currencies in general, right?
So like today a lot of retailers are already relying on alternate currencies, in the term in terms of, folks like influencers, right? Where somebody’s concentration on their product or featuring their product having the eyeballs. Effectively equates to some amount of revenue.
And right now, it’s being paid almost in a B2B model, right? The retailer to the influencer. But, whether it’s an N F T or it’s something like crypto currency or it’s, the time and attention of a creator or influencer. I think over time people are, Becoming a little bit more open to trade models where it’s not just a traditional currency that can be exchanged for goods and services.
And I think, crypto is just one of several things that. That offer some potential for, the next big mover in Shaker, the next disruptor to come. And there, there was an organization out there where there are folks. Who are paying each other for chores, by doing chores.
It’s a pure barter trade industry. I don’t see that happening worldwide, but something like crypto
RETISIO: is where are, we
Tony Moores: start much easier to understand and in to implement e-commerce system. So a lot of potential
RETISIO: there. Awesome. Thank you both very much, Erie. We.
Appreciate you being here for sure. And taking the time. Best of luck with bring and hey, we’ll have you back sometime and get your perspective on how crypto and retail is going and how you’re doing. Thank you very much listeners for your support of the Unlocked Digital Commerce podcast.
We’ll be on the lookout for a new episode soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out rizzo.com for more resources and solutions to help you unlock digital commerce for your business. We’ll talk to you soon.