Interview with Barry Hurley (Product Lead @Verso Finance)



Can you briefly explain your role within Verso Finance?

I am the Product Lead within Verso. My role is to design and build the integrations between Verso and various Wallet Providers on one side, and between Verso and Product Providers on the other side.


What got you interested in Blockchain in the first place? 

I live on the island of Malta. Some years ago, the government here declared that they would develop standards to push blockchain technology into the mainstream. They even coined the term ‘Blockchain Island’ when launching the world’s first holistic regulatory framework for distributed ledger technologies.

As with every new technology, this brought opportunities, and soon much of the wider blockchain community and industry were all bullish about doing business on this little island. At industry events and even socially I had the opportunity to engage with many of the big hitters in the industry.

In the end, the local regulatory regime didn’t take off as planned, but along the way blockchain became part of day-to-day conversations. DLT has in fact been used in many government functions here, such as the national business registry, and a digital identity wallet for residents.


What is your background?

Born and raised in Ireland, I am a classically trained engineer with a BE from University College Cork.

After education, I emerged into the workplace just at the beginning of the mobile phone revolution. We built networks and financial platforms to handle 24/7 mobile traffic in an accurate, complete, and timely manner.

At a time when we were billing millions of live transactions every day, the local banks were still shutting down platforms for at least an hour every day to run batch processes in an effort to keep up with much less traffic.

When I left the mobile industry I knew there would be an opportunity to bring banking platforms into the 21st century so as to enable the new generation of financial services.


As an expert on financial regulations, do you truly believe CeFi companies are open to discovering options to integrate with a DeFi marketplace such as Verso? Where do you see the main challenges?

I have no doubt that CeFi companies see the threat of DeFi and understand that they must be open to it if they are to continue their success.

We all remember what happened to traditional printed newspapers when the internet came along.

In that industry, it took ten years for newspapers to figure out how to do business in the new world. CeFi companies can’t afford to be late to the party, so they are already looking at their options.

One of the main challenges is the fact that CeFi businesses have strong regulatory commitments to customer experience, but unregulated DeFi projects do not. Before CeFi companies can offer DeFi products, they will need to be sure that those DeFi product providers actually deliver exactly what is advertised, each and every time, with no exceptions.

For example, CeFi customers can demand their money back if they don’t get what was advertised, which is currently not always the case in DeFi at the moment.

There may actually be more change required for DeFi partners to access CeFi customers, rather than the other way around. In reality, there will be work required on both sides to come together.


What has led you to the development of Verso Finance?

We are seeing a trend where product aggregators plug into wallet providers to offer new ways for wallet users to spend their funds while getting value for money.

There are already businesses offering this functionality for retail communities, food and beverage eco-systems, ride-hailing services, etc.

But nobody so far is offering a financial services marketplace.

The core team at Verso is well experienced in offering financial services from past projects, so the requirement and opportunities were obvious to us. 


What is the unique value proposition of Verso and what excites you the most about this project?

Leveraging the fact that wallet providers already hold KYC information about their users that could be used to target product marketing is a key differentiator for Verso and will be instrumental to success.


Many DeFi / blockchain projects have failed throughout the last few years. Why do you believe Verso is successful? 

Timing is everything.

The introduction of regulations around blockchain has led to changes in the industry already, and we believe that much of the industry will mature in a responsible manner in the coming years.

The idea of fully regulated DeFi service providers was only a pipe-dream just a few years ago.

Many of the failed projects you mention had no interest in implementing standards to protect consumer interests or making products clear and simple to use and understand.

Our core team has the industry contacts as well as the skills and experience to do it now.


Where do you see Verso a year from now? Why do you believe our community should be excited about the future of verso?

I believe that the product which will eventually be seen as the ultimate use case for Verso probably doesn’t exist right now, and hasn’t even been thought of.

By this time next year, Verso should be starting to mature, and the tools which Verso will offer to financial service providers will begin to be used in ways we didn’t anticipate.

That’s something I am very excited about because that’s when we will start to see real innovation and a change in the paradigm.


Anything else you would like to tell our community? 

I like to take every opportunity I can to thank everyone in the Verso community for their support and encouragement.

The speed with which Verso has come from just an idea to something rapidly becoming tangible and real has been simply phenomenal, and that is very much thanks to our many loyal supporters in the community around us.

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