Agility and innovation: the role of digital wallets in the expansion of the game – Tech & innovation
“Digital wallets are one of the greatest innovations in the world.” As consumer adoption of digital wallets has increased since 2020, AstroPay Managing Director Mikael Lijtenstein tells iGB how this feature is paving the way for emerging markets in the gaming industry.
Mikael is the CEO of AstroPay, a pioneer in payment solutions for consumers who want to make online purchases on international sites. With an engineering background and experience delivering cross-border payments as well as connecting global merchants to emerging markets, Mikael combines a unique blend of technical expertise and hands-on experience to drive innovation and solutions. of payment.
The igaming industry in Latin America is poised for explosive growth. Colombia is operational, with strong momentum in Brazil, Argentina and Chile which should further expand the addressable market. As always, technology is evolving at a faster rate than regulation, potentially creating obstacles such as legal restrictions, limits on transactions in a specific currency, and even cultural differences that limit card usage.
Digital wallets avoid these problems through centralized currency, minimizing conversion rate costs, increasing convenience and speed when playing online, and improving security for both operator and player.
New data from US financial services giant FIS reveals that 32% of the world’s population uses mobile wallets (up from 21% in 2020). The simplicity and speed of e-wallets, combined with increased security measures, have made them a key asset in newly regulated markets. .
Digital payments specialist AstroPay was an early mover in the field of digital wallets, launching its first solution in 2009. This meant that when the pandemic shifted transactions from cash to cashless, it had over a decade of experience.
“We found a niche in 2009, where some people wanted a bank account and didn’t have access to credit and debit cards,” says Mikael Lijtenstein, CEO of AstroPay. “So it was essential to understand the needs of users at that time to start building the company. We have now had this product for 13 years.
After starting in Brazil with the AstroPay card, the company then began to expand into other markets in Latin America, allowing customers to access funds in any currency. It is now one of the largest payment providers in Latin America and Asia, and is rapidly expanding its global reach in Europe and Africa.
“We are in Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Exploring other markets and understanding their needs helped us realize that the gaming industry in those jurisdictions needed payment methods in each market. It was essential for us to cover a range of regions,” says Litjtenstein.
AstroPay now has access to over 5 million users, 1,000 merchants and over 200 payment services. With global data collected since the launch of their e-wallet, they can now operate in a range of emerging markets with an improved user experience.
Major vendors and organizations have upgraded their payment solutions to adapt to the digitized landscape, introducing cashless payments at gaming machines and service kiosks with QR codes and token wallet transactions to improve convenience. user experience.
Regardless of whether online payments are set to become the mainstream form of payment, they are established as a key transaction option for igaming.
Lijtenstein says AstroPay aims to remain a leader by maintaining a customer-centric approach, regularly collecting customer information. This, he adds, allows the company to innovate faster than its peers.
“After receiving feedback, we made the decision to upgrade our product to One Touch integration, the digital wallet solution.
“What makes us strong is our agility – we are an adaptable company thanks to years of very rapid evolution. Digital wallets are one of the greatest innovations in the world.
Lijtenstein says having teams in every jurisdiction is important to AstroPay’s success by giving them a threshold above their competitors. “We deal in Brazil, India, Europe and Africa – having dedicated teams in each market helps us bring users the best performing product.”
From fiat to crypto
This focus on agility and innovation has led AstroPay to integrate cryptocurrency payments into its offering. These digital currencies are gaining popularity, especially among younger generations.
“We recently launched our crypto offering and now offer 6 cryptocurrencies,” says Lijtenstein.
“Cryptography has been a trending topic for many years. As a company, we’ve discussed building dedicated teams to understand what we can do for our users – we want to give users the trends.
But this creates new risks. Cybersecurity has become more important than ever. Lijtenstein claims that protecting their customers is their main goal and that their digital wallets are designed with the aim of creating additional layers of authentication.
“We have our own risk prevention system. By using our own devices, we have a better understanding and this allows us to maintain a simple and fast service.
What’s next for AstroPay?
Lijtenstein says that as a business, the lessons they learned in Latin America and other emerging markets prepared them for Europe. “Lessons learned in these regions help us improve our technology and our offering,” he says.
“Europe is a huge market. We decided to start from three countries, the UK, Spain and Portugal, with the UK being one of the biggest markets in Europe.
“There are a lot of competitors in Europe but there is always room for a new one. For another. We want to be localized in terms of communication and culture, so we can understand what the user needs and wants. »