Highlights from Peter De Caluwe’s interview with The Paypers
Thunes recently completed a $72 million Series C funding round with the backing of high-profile investors. It’s a significant milestone in the company’s history, made possible by the ever-increasing need to make cross-border payments less costly and more efficient. Furthermore, with the growth of digital wallets and the broader digital economy, money needs to move in real-time and directly, without delay or unnecessary intermediaries.
Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe sat down with Mélisande Mual, Managing Director of The Paypers, to discuss these subjects in detail. The wide-ranging interview touched on the history of Thunes, its growth plans, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and why the future of payments is centred on digital wallets.
Read highlights from the video below.
Solving payment efficiencies
Thunes originated from the idea that there is a better way to send money across borders. Many challenges add cost and latency to these payments, preventing people and businesses from knowing the upfront cost of a wire transfer or when the recipient will receive funds. Furthermore, there isn’t any confirmation once the money has been credited to the recipient.
The impact of these problems is massive, slowing the growth of businesses and economies, and in the case of remittances, reducing the amount of money people can send home.
This situation has gotten even more complex with the arrival of digital wallets. There are 3.5 billion individuals using digital wallets worldwide, in many cases, instead of bank accounts. This makes the cross-border payment landscape even more fragmented.
Thunes’ growth is directly related to better linking and optimising this network. Peter says, “We solve these inefficiencies and are building a network of infrastructure to interconnect countries, consumers and SMEs with the rest of the world.”
The ascendance of digital wallets
With more people using digital wallets, it becomes even more important to make them interoperable. The digital wallets all have their own providers, either telecom operators or e-Commerce businesses.
Peter described how transferring money to and from these consumers and small-to-medium-sized businesses via conventional banking networks such as SWIFT is challenging and, even at times, impossible. “There is no connectivity, leaving people and businesses excluded from the financial system.”
Thunes’ network connections to these digital wallets were a key factor for Visa’s investment in Thunes.
Peter explains, “The value to Visa is that we give them access with one single integration and partnership to all these hundreds of millions of wallets in one go.”
Digital currencies take centre stage
The discussion then shifted to cryptocurrencies, with Mélisande asking if Thunes was planning to support these types of payments. Peter responded that while cryptocurrencies are interesting, they represent just a small corner of the payments marketplace, and add compliance challenges.
“We believe in cryptocurrencies but focus on the inefficiencies of global fiat currency. And that’s a vast volume with more than $100 trillion going over correspondent banking networks via rails.”
Peter De Caluwe, CEO, Thunes
On the future of CBDCs (digital currencies launched by governments), the company is eagerly watching developments and innovations, standing ready to support alternative payment types.
Thunes is in a position in China to help test the digital yuan. Peter says, “trade between China and the rest of the world is massive. So there will be significant volumes of payments made with that digital currency.”
Thunes’ unique culture and drive
A key to Thunes’ success has been the diversity of employees, with 35 different nationalities spread across five continents. While sometimes this can present challenges, our “cultural differences give us a greater understanding of these markets, helping us to operate there.”
Thunes’ growth comes down to a shared sense of purpose. We “want to solve problems for four billion people in emerging markets, enabling them to pay and get paid as easily as sending a WhatsApp or WeChat message.”
“This purpose drives our people and motivates us. Our mindset is to go faster to solve this problem because the markets move quickly,” Peter said.
To learn more about Thunes’ solutions, contact us today.