Investment in cryptocurrencies has been growing strong over the past few years. No longer a niche type of generating wealth, crypto has become a big part of many seasoned and beginner investors’ portfolios.
According to a CNBC survey, one in ten people currently invest in cryptocurrencies because of how easy it has become to trade with digital assets - 65% of whom had started investing in crypto in the past year, suggesting that something has fueled this recent trend.
Apps like Robinhood and E*TRADE have made it easier than ever for people to start investing in crypto, which has increased interest and demand for similar solutions. With more fintech companies looking to get involved in crypto, it could lead to a more open and accessible market. As a result, other fintech companies are looking to jump on this trend. With more solutions on offer, the crypto market is more open, accessible, and easier to invest in.
One company that’s making waves in Germany is Nuri, a bank that has blended a personal banking account with a crypto trading platform. Unlike trading-only apps, Nuri allows you to open a personal banking and savings account alongside its trading capabilities. Nuri lets you benefit from an all-round wealth-building solution – right in your pocket.
We invited Nuri’s Senior Engineering Manager, Inácio Schweller, to Disruption Talks to hear more about what it takes to build a modern bank with crypto investment capabilities and why that’s a growing demand in today’s market. We hear about what it’s like to be an engineering manager and how Inácio and his team overcome the challenges of building a platform like Nuri.
Inácio has 12 years of experience as a detail-oriented software engineer and a passion for delivering effective and user-friendly solutions. With a background in design as well as software engineering, Inácio has a unique perspective on how Nuri has been built to meet customer needs.
The challenges of being an engineering manager
Inácio is someone who started off in design and moved into software engineering, and one of the biggest parts of the latter role is learning how to solve problems efficiently . In Inácio’s eyes, the key to that is team building.
However, before you can rely on your team, you need a hiring strategy to find the best talent. In Germany, where Nuri is based, competition for talent is high, and you need to get creative with what you can offer as an incentive to join your team.
One part of that is accepting that remote hiring is a must these days. By hiring remote, you get a wider selection of people to choose from. You can hire the best of the best, no matter where in the world they’re based.
Connecting traditional finance to the decentralized finance world
Since Inácio joined Nuri, there have been changes in focus and mindset, especially on the engineering and product development side.
While Nuri doesn’t work with blockchain, the intention is to head in that direction.
The aim is to combine traditional finance with the decentralized finance world – all while making things easier for regular banking customers.
Inácio highlights that the traditional banking world is still stuck in its ways regarding technology:
“The traditional banking world is still stuck in the old ways of APIs and traditional setups in technology. Banking has had to reinvent itself as an industry a lot.”
As the banking industry has had to reinvent itself to keep up with customer demand and changing technology, this poses a big challenge for companies to catch up with.
Bringing good UX design to decentralized finance
One of the main difficulties for businesses entering the decentralized finance or DeFi space is ensuring that solutions are still very usable.
Inácio’s background in design plays a role in helping the team create a better user experience, but he also credits Nuri’s design department.
Inácio believes that while there’s a space for product engineering, a lot of product engineers are basically software engineers as well. Arguably, there’s a greater separation in the industry between product and platform engineering right now, but Nuri wants to bring product engineering into the limelight.
How Nuri stands out in a busy market
While there are plenty of neobanks on the market offering simpler ways to manage money and spending, Nuri wanted to focus on building wealth.
Not only can you use your debit card and save money, you can also trade in Bitcoin and Ethereum as well through Nuri.
This is what Nuri wanted to focus on the most after its rebrand – saving and trading as a way to build wealth and weather the storm of inflation at the same time.
Educating future crypto investors
Another thing that sets Nuri apart from competitors is that it places a lot of importance on education. Not many people are knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, or DeFi, but Nuri has a solution.
“We have a very nice knowledgebase for crypto. We go from beginner content to more advanced content, so you can choose how far you go,”
– Inácio shared. “We have this available on the app and on our website.”
This helps to level the playing field for those who want to get involved in crypto, including regular banking customers who wouldn’t have otherwise considered it.
Nuri’s plans to help customers spend crypto
Investing in crypto is one thing, but Nuri has set its sights on allowing customers to spend crypto on regular purchases through your debit card.
While this isn’t available yet, the team at Nuri is brainstorming ways to make this a possibility. Inácio says that being one of the few companies trying this means they can get really innovative and creative as they explore the world of decentralization.
Regulation and the decentralized economy
Regulations have been seen as a major roadblock in the decentralized world, but Inácio has a more positive outlook on it. He believes that regulation “is the path because it will actually nurture adoption.”
In his view, without regulation, adoption of the decentralized economy will never take off on a global scale.
Bitcoin and DeFi are part of a growing ecosystem, and regulation will simply have to catch up, even if it is a long, complicated process.
That’s why Nuri likes to watch trends in the fintech world and decentralized economy very closely. Inácio believes it’s important to be part of the discussion on regulations, transaction monitoring, compliance, securities, and user research, to reduce risks associated with getting involved in new markets such as crypto and DeFi.
This discussion is part of our Disruption Talks recordings, where we invite experts to share their insights on winning innovation strategies, the next generation of disruptors, and scaling digital products. To get unlimited access to this interview and more insights from industry experts, sign up here.