Merrick Theobald joins us to discuss on on a fast, easy and secure way to buy crypto instantly with Bitpay.
Merrick Theobald has more than 25 years experience in the FinTech industry. Currently, he is the Vice President of Marketing for BitPay. BitPay builds powerful, enterprise-grade tools for crypto acceptance and spending. Prior to BitPay, Merrick held marketing leadership roles within BillMo, iSend and CheckFree/Fiserv. He resides in North Atlanta.
BitPay Website: https://bitpay.com/
BitPay LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bitpay-inc-/
BitPay Twitter: https://twitter.com/BitPay
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The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:16:28 – 00:00:32:05
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of cryptocurrency. Your host here, Richard Carthon. And today we got a special one for you. If you have been in the Web3 space for a while, you have probably heard of this company Bitpay. And today we have Meric Theobald, who is the VP of Marketing. How are you doing today?
00:00:33:05 – 00:00:37:10
Merrick Theobald: I’m great, Richard. Thank you for having me here. It’s a pleasure to be on your your podcast.
00:00:37:20 – 00:00:46:12
Richard Carthon: Definitely. Well, excited to learn more about all the amazing new features that Bitpay has. But before we do that, let’s learn a little bit more about you. Can you give us a little background on yourself?
00:00:47:08 – 00:01:04:18
Merrick Theobald: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been in the financial technology financial services field for many years. I won’t tell you exactly how many years because then you might guess my age, but I enjoy this field, especially the payment side of it. And yeah, so have a lot of experience in the fintech industry.
00:01:05:10 – 00:01:17:07
Richard Carthon: So with your extensive experience in FinTech. When did you first learned about crypto and web3 and what piqued your interest about how do you take your skills over into this space?
00:01:18:06 – 00:01:49:13
Merrick Theobald: Right. So I’ve always been interested in companies that are disrupting the payment industry, making things better, faster, cheaper, less expensive. So I’ve been following Bitcoin. I think I first found out about it about 2012. So not not at the very beginning, but pretty close to it. Did it really understand understand Bitcoin at that time but kept following it through the years and then you know, had the opportunity to join Bitpay a few years ago.
00:01:49:15 – 00:02:12:15
Merrick Theobald: So it made sense there in the payment industry. I enjoy it because they are disrupting payments, cross-border payments, international payments, e-commerce payments, all types of payments with cryptocurrency in the blockchain, and they are the leader. So it made sense for me to move to Bitpay and to be a partner and to work with Bitpay on everything that we’re doing here today.
00:02:13:13 – 00:02:45:27
Richard Carthon: Well, really awesome that you’ve you’ve known about Bitcoin for over a decade. I didn’t learn about it until 2018, but with even being in this space now for for five years the market has evolved, has changed rapidly and a lot more within the market maturity. We’re seeing more and more of of crypto and blockchain projects start to sprout. And one of the cool things when I was first getting into this space, I did learn about Bitpay and I know that Bitpay is a crypto app, lets you buy store and swap crypto all in one app.
00:02:45:29 – 00:02:51:15
Richard Carthon: But it’s it’s more than that. So I’ll pass you the mic to tell us more about all the cool things Bitpay is doing.
00:02:52:16 – 00:03:30:08
Merrick Theobald: Yeah, we actually have two sides of our business. We have our consumer side, which you mentioned, which is our Bitpay Wallet app. We also have a prepaid MasterCard here in the United States if you want to spend your crypto. But there’s a business that doesn’t accept crypto today, you can convert it and move it over to our prepaid MasterCard. But we also have our business side of the business and that’s where we got started back in 2011. So Bitpay has been around since 2011, which is amazing. So we work with leading companies, primarily e-commerce, but we can work with any type of company so that they can accept cryptocurrency and the benefit that we provide to them.
00:03:30:10 – 00:04:09:05
Merrick Theobald: The biggest benefit is that we will settle with the company in the the traditional fiat that they get settled in today. So most large companies don’t want to be settled in Bitcoin. They don’t want the price fluctuation of Bitcoin. They don’t understand the compliance and regulatory environment of Bitcoin. So they like to partner with companies like Bitpay and just to be settled in US dollar, another fiat like they get settled today. So that’s a big part of our business. We work with five of the top 100 e-commerce companies, but we work with leading brands all over the world from, let’s say, AT&T.
00:04:09:09 – 00:04:29:13
Merrick Theobald: Gucci has announced with us, you know, there are other luxury brands like Vegas Auto Gallery, so you can buy a yacht, you can buy an auto, you can buy jewelry, you can buy luxury watches, and you can do that all with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that we accept today.
00:04:30:08 – 00:05:01:05
Richard Carthon: It’s pretty remarkable. So like you’re saying, your consumer side and then the business side, which has been around for for quite a while on 12 years now, and the advancements that you’ve been able to make with on ramping more and more companies to be able to utilize their cryptocurrencies for payments, really cool. And even the concept of being able to buy things like a yacht or some luxury items with your crypto is something that the industry has been talking about for a while and you guys have found a way to to actually enact that.
00:05:01:14 – 00:05:30:07
Richard Carthon: Walk us through like what’s that process been like to, one, create these on and off ramps to be able to to do that because you know, regulation is always a word that tends to come up and also being able to be a trusted entity after everything that happened, you know, last year in 2022, it’s a lot of work that goes into allowing these types of really cool types of transactions. So how has that process been with with building up to this point?
00:05:31:06 – 00:06:05:25
Merrick Theobald: Yeah, no, great question. And, you know, I guess we’re celebrating our 13th year, about to celebrate our 13th year. Many things have changed over the years. We had to evolve. Actually, in the beginning we only accepted Bitcoin, right? That was the only cryptocurrency in the beginning. So we only accepted Bitcoin. And then we’ve added more and more over the years and more recently think we’re up to about 16 different cryptocurrencies that we accept, including some stablecoins. So that’s important for a lot of e-commerce companies to have the breadth of cryptocurrencies that we offer.
00:06:05:27 – 00:06:48:12
Merrick Theobald: Think the 16 cryptocurrencies that we offer or support represent about near about 80% of the total crypto market cap. So we still have a little bit of ways to get to 100%. But you know, with thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, we’ll never get 100%, but we just want to have the best cryptocurrencies and accept those from a compliance and regulatory perspective. You mentioned it. No one knows what’s going on. If I’m an e-commerce merchant, my experience is with e-commerce and it’s selling the products and services or goods that I sell, don’t understand Bitcoin, don’t understand cryptocurrency, the regulatory and compliance nature of that.
00:06:48:14 – 00:07:21:07
Merrick Theobald: So at Bitpay, we are a compliance first organization, so we value compliance and we value working with the regulators. So we understand that one of the largest teams that we have here at Bitpay is compliance and regulatory, you know, legal. So we partner with our merchants so that they don’t have to manage any compliance or regulatory issues with blockchain payments. So that’s an important benefit. Many of them, as mentioned earlier, accept the Fiat or get settled in fiat today.
00:07:21:09 – 00:07:55:23
Merrick Theobald: So in fact you can accept cryptocurrency via bitpay but never touch the crypto, hold the crypto by the crypto store. The crypto have anything to do with the crypto, even the need to have a crypto wallet which a lot of name brands do not want to have that exposure, perceived exposure, whatever in any way. So but we’ve evolved over the years. So you know, we support all crypto wallets and exchanges, but there are some crypto wallets where we have a direct relationship with that crypto wallet.
00:07:55:25 – 00:08:25:27
Merrick Theobald: So the experience is even better for the consumer. Obviously our crypto wallet, the Bitpay wallet we own and manage. So that’s a fantastic experience. But there are other large wallets out there that we have a direct relationship with where we ask them to make some modifications. So the experience for the user, the consumer making a purchase is going to be even better. And we’re trying to have more and more discussions with crypto wallet providers out there because in the end it’s all about adoption.
00:08:25:29 – 00:08:41:06
Merrick Theobald: And the best way to increase adoption is to add new merchants to the network. But also make the buying experience even better for the consumer. So that’s that’s a couple of things that we’ve worked on. I hope that answers your question.
00:08:41:08 – 00:09:21:09
Richard Carthon: Oh, it does. And it’s music to my ears to hear that your biggest part of your team is compliance and making sure things are safe. I think what gives people the peace of mind and the. Choice to want to work with a company like Bitpay is. Being able to utilize Web3 without necessarily knowing how everything’s working in the background. Like people love to talk about the concept of mass adoption and what does it mean to bring the masses to this space. And it’s how do you get them to come and have an experience that they’re already used to in Web2 into Web3 and not necessarily having to worry about all the challenges that come with security, holding your wallet and all of that other things, and you’ve been able to build those out.
00:09:21:11 – 00:09:50:28
Richard Carthon: But also for the hardcore web3 people being able to work with wallets that they already use, and even if they want to use your native app, they have your native wallet, they’re able to do that as well. And I think another really cool component of what is coming for the consumer side is the ability to off ramp. So unfortunately in a lot of places you can purchase your crypto and have it be there, but you don’t necessarily have a way to then offer it. But I believe that’s something that that Bitpay now has.
00:09:51:27 – 00:10:30:17
Merrick Theobald: Yeah, no, absolutely. So we have the payment aspect of our company where you can use your cryptocurrency to buy things globally. And that’s been the, you know, from the beginning that was the start of our company. But we also have a payout product so you can receive crypto payment for whatever reason. We have some merchants that sell precious metals, gold and other booleans and you know, they want to offer the ability to buy gold from their customers, but to be paid out in cryptocurrency. So not only can you buy gold with your Bitcoin, but if you ever wanted to sell your gold, you could also receive Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as a payout.
00:10:31:04 – 00:11:02:08
Merrick Theobald: We have some organizations that have affiliates all over the world that’s difficult to manage and to pay affiliates all over the world when they’re in many different countries and not often supporting US dollar In those countries, they might have their own fiat or local currency. So we offer the ability to pay out those affiliates in cryptocurrency. So think about some unstable fiat currencies, local currencies in South America or in Africa, so you can actually receive Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency that we support.
00:11:02:10 – 00:11:16:00
Merrick Theobald: So anything that you want to sell but be paid out in cryptocurrency, we we now offer that. So we just need to have a relationship with the buyer of what you’re selling and then you can be paid out in cryptocurrency.
00:11:16:24 – 00:12:00:21
Richard Carthon: Well, that’s exciting. Being able to work with different merchants, like you said, internationally and providing that on and off ramp, a cool process for people to be able to do that. So it’s really helping that that that B2B business to business and also your in consumer as more and more consumers are coming into this space and they’re looking for these cool ways to engage with crypto and on and off ramp Excetera you have more and more features that you’re building into the Bitpay ecosystem. What are some of those like cool new services or things that are that recently come out in Bitpay that a lot of people might not know because like, like you were saying, I first knew about Bitpay because of the transactional side being able to send and receive via Bitcoin.
00:12:00:23 – 00:12:14:03
Richard Carthon: I didn’t realize how much it expanded to the rest of the cryptos, other cryptocurrencies. But there’s so many. There’s so much more that you’re now able to do as as a potential in consumer and not just business. So can you walk us through what some of those things are?
00:12:14:26 – 00:12:46:16
Merrick Theobald: Yeah. Actually mean We really believe that everyone should be able to live life on crypto. So in order to live life on crypto you need to be able to buy crypto or receive crypto, but you also need to be able to spend crypto. So going back to our payout product and we gave it a name a bit percent, which makes sense as a company you can actually offer um, as a benefit to your employees to be paid in crypto. So at bitpay most of our employees receive a portion of our salary in cryptocurrency.
00:12:46:18 – 00:13:22:17
Merrick Theobald: So you get to decide if you want $100, if you want a 1% or $1,000 or 100% and actually do have some employees receive 100% of their salary in cryptocurrency. So now they are receiving cryptocurrency and they, they now have cryptocurrency to use and to live life on, right? So that’s a good aspect and there’s no fee for the company to offer this as a benefit. There is a fee when you use it, a nominal fee, but there is no fee to just offer it, which is great. So we have more and more companies offering payroll with payouts with cryptocurrency, which is a benefit.
00:13:22:19 – 00:13:59:18
Merrick Theobald: So now we’re getting more and more cryptocurrency into the hands of those that want to hold cryptocurrency. And it’s a faster, less expensive way than to receive your paycheck, exchange whatever you need to do, and then go on to an exchange and buy the cryptocurrency so it’s faster and less expensive to do it this way. Um, to live life on crypto, you need more merchants. So we talked about that. So we are getting more and more mainstream adoption of merchants. You can buy a movie ticket at AMC Theaters here in the United States, right? So more and more brands are starting to accept cryptocurrency and that will continue to happen.
00:14:00:00 – 00:14:41:29
Merrick Theobald: Um, on the other side, the live the live life through our wallet. You know, if you can’t buy directly or make payment directly through a merchant, we also offer other ways that you can make payment. One would be by gift cards. You can do that through our wallet, but you can also do that through our Chrome extension. I don’t know if you knew this, but we have a chrome extension. So if you’re out there surfing online and you’re going to buy something, our Chrome extension will tell you if that if that merchant accepts cryptocurrency crypto payments directly or if they have a gift card where you can buy a immediately online and fulfill your purchase using your cryptocurrency and it can be done through any wallet, doesn’t have to be done through the Bitpay wallet.
00:14:42:03 – 00:15:13:28
Merrick Theobald: But with the Bitpay wallet, you can buy crypto gift cards instantly. You can also exchange money or move crypto from your wallet over to our prepaid MasterCard here in the United States. So that’s another way to spend your cryptocurrency. Um, and then we also offer the buy aspect within our wallet. So Bitpay is not an exchange, but we have partnered with different companies, so we want to give consumers the best experience, the best rate so that they continue to buy.
00:15:14:00 – 00:15:45:00
Merrick Theobald: So we don’t just partner with one company. We’re up to four different companies right now that a consumer can, I guess, compare pricing to and then buy straight in our wallet. So that’s that’s exciting. And we also have the swap. So we have a couple different companies that if you ever wanted to swap your crypto. So, you know, the price of Bitcoin might get very high again and it will get high. And you’re like, You know what? I want to move some of my bitcoin over to Usdc so that when it does drop I can move my usdc and buy buy Bitcoin back again.
00:15:45:02 – 00:15:51:02
Merrick Theobald: You can do that. So we’re trying to make it easy for consumers all over the world to be able to live life on crypto.
00:15:52:00 – 00:16:29:21
Richard Carthon: That’s awesome. I mean, so someone listening to this right now, if you are getting your paycheck, you want a portion of it potentially paid out in crypto Bitpay looks like it’s a it’s a valid option for you. And then even the concept of being able to do consistent purchase purchases, looking into their potential card that they have and also being able to do swaps very seamlessly, it’s all really cool tech that’s, you know, taken some time to, to, to build out. But also I think being able to build out these really great features during bearish times, it’s it’s the builders market and that’s not necessarily the bear market.
00:16:29:23 – 00:17:02:00
Richard Carthon: So y’all have been hard at work building out some really cool things. Now I think all the things that Bitpay has has already created and things that are in the pipeline are really fascinating. But as we kind of like rap, always like to turn the conversation on his head and ask you a couple of questions. Just around now that you’ve been in this space, you’ve seen the peaks and valleys, you’ve seen bearish times, bullish times and have learned lessons along the way. Back when you were first getting started into the space.
00:17:02:02 – 00:17:07:26
Merrick Theobald: If you could give yourselves give yourself 2 to 3 pieces of wisdom, what would you tell yourself when you first got started?
00:17:08:25 – 00:17:39:06
Merrick Theobald: Oh, my gosh. There’s so much I can say to that one. Let’s see. When I first started at Bitpay, Bitcoin was at $7,000 and I thought that was a lot back then, right? So I wish, you know, I could predict the future and knew that it was going to get to 69,000 would have bought more at 7000. So, you know, like with anything in life, there’s going to be ups and downs, right? If you buy stocks, it’s going to go up. It’s going to go down. Same thing with with cryptocurrency. If you buy Bitcoin, it’s going to go up. It’s going to go down.
00:17:39:08 – 00:18:10:00
Merrick Theobald: But if you’re in it for the long term, you’re always going to get your money back and possibly make money. So I know we’re in a we’re a down environment right now with the price of Bitcoin. But the past tells us every time we set a high, we do drop down, but then we recover and we set another all time high. So if our all time high last time was 69,000 or today 69,000, we’ve dropped back down. We have we have the halving happening in 2024. So that’s also going to drive the price of Bitcoin back up.
00:18:10:02 – 00:18:42:23
Merrick Theobald: So even at 27, 28, $30,000 right now, which seems a lot for some people, again, start investing a little bit if you don’t know a lot about it, but don’t miss out on the next run because it will get back up there. Some people say it’ll get get 100,000 will be the next high. So that sounds, you know, quite appealing when it’s at 28,000 today. Um, I’ll also say that, you know, I did get started and I used a custody wallet until I understood everything about cryptocurrency.
00:18:42:25 – 00:19:18:29
Merrick Theobald: But now I have a self-custody wallet and the Self-custody wallet is. It’s your keys, it’s your crypto, your keys. I also understand if I lose the keys to my wallet, I lost everything in my wallet. But it’s so private, it’s so secure. I don’t have to worry about any exchange going under or any wallet going under. It’s always going to be there in my wallet. So that’s important. So again, if you’re just getting started in cryptocurrency, maybe you start with the custody wallet. But as you get more and more comfortable with it, look into self-custody wallets because they are the more private, more secure wallets that you can have.
00:19:19:21 – 00:19:53:16
Richard Carthon: Definitely. I think those are three great lessons. And. Protect yourself if 2022. Taught us anything, it is that as great as companies can climb up to the top, they can fall very hard to. And the best way you can protect yourself is by cutting. Now, of course, there’s always a reason to be able to not self-custody or to have money in a hot wallet, to be able to do transactions, to be able to do day to day stuff before your longer term types of investments that you want to hodl on to looking to self-custody.
00:19:53:18 – 00:20:02:26
Richard Carthon: So I think that is a great lesson, but you’ve given us a lot of great information, awesome things happening over at Bitpay. What is a final thought that you want to leave with all the listeners?
00:20:03:22 – 00:20:36:25
Merrick Theobald: So there’s probably a couple. I mean, the blockchain is the future. Blockchain payments is the future. You see Visa, you see MasterCard, you see all the exchange or credit card companies getting involved in blockchain payments. So it is the future. It’s not going away. So if you are a business, why not consider crypto payments today? There’s really no reason why not to consider it. You’re going to get additional revenue. You’re going to attract new customers you don’t have to have or deal with the fluctuation of Bitcoin. When you partner with a company like Bitpay, you’ll get settled in US dollar or other Fiat.
00:20:37:09 – 00:21:09:18
Merrick Theobald: If you’re a consumer, again, you might have not figured it out and said it’s just going to go away. It’s not going away. Right. It’s been around for a decade or longer now. It’ll be here for the next decade. So slowly start to acclimate yourself to it, understand it, but also do your research. You know, look for companies that have been around for a long time, like Bitpay 2011. You know, look for companies that are based in the United States or other strong countries that have good regulatory requirements and laws in place.
00:21:09:20 – 00:21:45:18
Merrick Theobald: So you want to make sure that you do that. And one more thing from the Bitpay wallet side. You mentioned we mentioned Self-custody and custody. We actually have a integration with Coinbase. So you can actually integrate your custodial wallet from Coinbase into your self-custody wallet of Bitpay and use those funds directly in our wallet. So you get the best of both worlds. You get Self-custody Bitpay wallet, but you have your custodial wallet integrated in there. So there are some really cool things that are happening. Get involved, do your research and again have have fun with it.
00:21:45:20 – 00:21:52:10
Merrick Theobald: Mean blockchain is meant to be fun and there are going to be a lot of new advancements coming out in the coming months and coming year two.
00:21:52:28 – 00:22:11:17
Richard Carthon: Definitely. And I think those are three solid final thoughts. If you’re listening, go back about 30 seconds. Listen to it again, some really cool stuff on the way. Merrick, Y’all are doing amazing things over at Bitpay. For everyone listening, you can go to Bitpay. But what are some other ways that people can connect with you and learn more about what’s going on in Bitpay?
00:22:12:10 – 00:22:27:27
Merrick Theobald: Yeah. Bitpay Bitpay is by far our best way. We have our website there, but we also do a lot with social media. So Twitter at Bitpay is our largest gathering and followers, but we’re also on LinkedIn. So look for us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram as well.
00:22:28:21 – 00:22:47:05
Richard Carthon: Awesome. Well, again, thank you so much for your time today. Awesome conversation. And I’m going to personally go look into more of the amazing things that Bitpay is doing. But of course, to all of our listeners out there, out there, make sure you continue to stay Cryptocurrency. Thank you for joining us for another episode of cryptocurrency.
00:22:47:12 – 00:23:08:12
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