Daniele Servadei is only 20-years-old, but he’s also the mastermind behind Sellix, a two-year-old e-commerce platform that helps businesses around the globe streamline the process of accepting cryptocurrency payments.

Launched by Servadei from his home in Reggio Emilia, Italy in November 2021, Sellix supports payments made using traditional fiat and more than 25 cryptocurrencies. It has processed more than $100 million in payments worldwide to date, by Servadei’s estimates, for more than 3,000 clients in about three dozen countries.

Cointelegraph spoke with Servadei — who is also currently attending the University of Parma for a degree in computer science — to ask about his work and his views on the future of the industry. “Building a company is 1,000 times more difficult than working with cryptocurrency,” Servadei noted. “Trying to balance my life, my company, going to school at the time — it has not been easy.”

1) Tell us about your company.

Basically, we are trying to do what Stripe is doing for fiat — we’re trying to do it for cryptocurrencies. It’s a centralized payment platform. Anybody can sign up and get started accepting cryptocurrency payments immediately, and we handle it for them.

2) From decentralized applications (dApps) to nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi), we have seen many “killer apps” for crypto, but none have really taken off yet. What will stick?

The main issue the crypto industry has is that there are way too many solutions to problems that do not exist. That’s the first thing. The other thing is that those solutions are not taking a consumer-first approach. They’re building projects that might be amazing, but they don’t care about their consumers.

NFTs are going to stay here — And I can see them having many good uses in the future. The ability to have a public blockchain and to have people — gamer, traders — trade game items easely is one of the main use cases for NFTs that I see.

And at Sellix, we are seeing an increase in payments in cryptocurrencies. More than 40% of payments that we process online are in crypto rather than fiat. We see that increasing just because of how few fees you have in cryptocurrency payments. If someone pays in PayPal, 6-7% goes to fees. With crypto, you have nothing other than standard blockchain fees.

3) What’s been the toughest challenge you’ve faced in this industry?

The most difficult part for Sellix has been that we work with more than 25 cryptocurrencies, and each one of them is different. Each one is very difficult to implement compared to the others. That’s the only thing that’s been an issue for us. How to implement them and so on — that was not the most difficult part. The difficult part was how they differ.

Daniele Servadei
Daniele Servadei speaking at Plug & Play Italy Summit in 2023, where he spoke to a crowd of VCs about how cryptocurrency is reshaping the payments industry. Photo credit: Daniele Servadei

From a personal standpoint, when I created Sellix, I was 18 and still going through high school. The amount of issues involved with building a company is insane. Anywhere from getting a bank account — there was one month where we were almost out of business because banks in Italy are, shall we say, not great. I’ve had calls with lawyers while I was in school pretty much in the bathrooms. So many things have happened, and also because this was the first company I’ve built, there have been so many new things for me. Basically everything I do is new. So I’m learning through the issues that we have. Building a company is 1,000 times more difficult than working with cryptocurrency. Trying to balance my life, my company, going to school at the time — it has not been easy.

4) What do you see becoming the biggest trend in blockchain over the next 12 months?

I think what’s really going to happen is going to be increased adoption in traditional finance. It’s going to be interesting to see whether ETFs are improved, and if they do, everyone working with the ETFs now is pretty much against cryptocurrencies. I think we’re going to see NFTs go beyond art — gaming and so on.

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An ETF approval is a game-changer, because once you bring the institutional players into cryptocurrency, regulation will follow. And that’s what this industry needs — clear guidelines. You can’t build a great program if you don’t know what you can or cannot do. A regulatory environment will bring more and better crypto companies.

5) Which countries do you believe are doing the most to support blockchain?

Europe and Saudi Arabia are doing the most. Europe because their new and final regulations will go live this year in June. We’ll have guidance on everything crypto-related.

The Middle East is doing so many different projects and different things for cryptocurrencies as well. Other countries — El Salvador, Argentina and so on — are adopting Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender, but I don’t see them having as much impact as the Middle East and Europe.

6) What top Twitter accounts do you follow?

Tether, the stablecoin. Blockstream and its founder Adam Back. And another is Tiero, a member of the board of Liquid, a sidechain of Bitcoin. He’s working with us at Sellix on a couple of things.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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