A Glimpse From the Future of Finance: Insights Into Interoperability

Today your value is locked in rails that don’t know how to talk to each other and is stored in assets that can’t be easily swapped for one another. We’re building a much different (better) future.

6 min readJan 13, 2021

A store of value and a medium of exchange — this is what conventionally we have all learned to treat money as. You hold on to your dollars and spend them when you need something. It’s been ingrained in all of us since we were children wanting to get candy from a gas station or ice cream from the ice cream truck. But if the behavior of federal banks has shown us anything in 2020, it’s that our medium of exchange might not be our best store of value.

Source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M1

Or, in the eloquent words of Ray Dalio, “Cash is Trash.”

Stemming from this perspective, Bitcoiners, Ethereans, Celsians, Altcoiners, and even the gold bugs have come to understand something that really guides the way many of us operate our financial lives: your store of value doesn’t have to be your medium of exchange.

If this is the case, then how do we make it so that we can “spend” our store of value if it is not the conventional medium of exchange. Or in other words, how the hell do I spend my bitcoin!? I can go spend my American credit card in Europe, so why isn’t my crypto treated the same way!?

The word of the day here is interoperability. In computer science, this word usually refers to the exchange of information across many networks. In the cryptoverse, it means moving seamlessly between value stores and mediums of exchanges without any friction. Dollars to bitcoin, bitcoin to euros, euros to ethereum, ethereum to ice cream, points back to CEL token… this is interoperability. This is the goal.

But let’s talk about why this matters and how we are approaching this problem at Celsius.

We break the problem of interoperability down into three overarching categories:

  1. Crypto to Crypto
  2. Fiat to Crypto
  3. Crypto to Fiat

Crypto to Crypto is one that a lot of people with experience on exchanges and with uniswap are very familiar with. At Celsius, we simply refer to this as “swaps.” Seamlessly move from any crypto asset instantly with no fees at the best prices. If you’re keeping up with Celsius, you’ve probably heard us talk about this on the AMAs and seen a lot of buzz about this on social media. Keep an eye out; we’ll be announcing alpha launch dates and who will be getting access soon (another great reason to be a platinum user).

Fiat to Crypto is often referred to as an “onramp.” It’s the answer to “How do I buy Bitcoin?” or “how do I buy CEL?” Today we enable users in Europe and the United States to purchase crypto in the app with our partners, but we generally see a lot of our users transferring crypto from other exchanges or wallets. For now, this kind of behavior makes sense for the state of the User Experience that crypto is in, but none of us have to “onramp” into dollars when we get our paychecks, so why should this be any different? We should all be able to receive our value in whatever form we choose. (Russ already figured this out)

So once we’ve been able to store our value in the forms that we are comfortable with, how do we spend it? We got bills to pay, we got mouths to feed, ain’t nothing in this world is free — which brings us to…

Crypto to Fiat is what enables us to “spend our bitcoin.” When looking at the problem of Crypto to Fiat, we identified a few subproblems that we would want to optimize for:

  • Fiat rails generally differ across countries unless using credit/debit rails
  • Tax implications
  • Debt reduction and savings promotion (HODL!)

So now the question becomes how to integrate with the right rails, how to enable crypto interoperability with these rails, how to facilitate the reduction of tax burden, and how to encourage our users to save.

As you might imagine, the fact that we’re writing about this now likely means we have established solutions across these three categories of interoperability. You’ll start to learn more as we launch alphas across 2021.

But before we close, I just want to quickly give you a glance into how all of these pieces work together and the future that we are heading towards with an example of how I plan to run my finances. Here’s a little glimpse from the future:

I’m a strong believer in the future of CEL, Bitcoin and Ethereum. I believe that these assets are infinitely superior forms of value stores than the dollar, so I chose to earn my paycheck directly into 20% CEL, 30% ETH, 20% BTC and 30% stable coins. Every time I get a paycheck, it’s immediately credited to my Celsius wallet broken down into the assets that I’ve selected. The stable coins are generally enough to cover my living expenses, and the CEL, ETH, and BTC are where I really store my value.

When I want to make a purchase on my Celsius card, I simply swipe my Celsius card and the merchant can receive their fiat. However, sometimes I need to make a big purchase and my stable coin balance isn’t enough to cover the payment. (I try not to hold many stable coins anyway!) But that’s not a problem because when I swipe my card, a loan against my crypto is immediately allocated and I’m able to make the purchase. Over time, I pay off the loan with my paycheck coming into my Celsius wallet and the compounding rewards I’m earning, all while I never end up in debt and instead end up actually building equity!

I get to choose how I store my value, I get to still spend and function in the “old world” and I don’t end up spending more than I have because the system is designed to help me HODL, earn, save.

This is the future we’re building. I hope it gets you as excited as we are.

About Waseem

Waseem is an entrepreneurial builder and employee #17 at Celsius. With a cross-disciplinary background and having been with the company from its early days, he has worn many hats from API program PM to Celsius redesign PM and many things in-between. Today, Waseem leads the Celsius strategy team’s interoperability initiatives leveraging his deep understanding of Celsius and the ecosystem at large. Prior to Celsius, Waseem worked in traditional fintech with Modopayments, built and ran a software development agency as Creative Director, and owned a co-living operation in Boston, Massachusetts. He has a Bachelors of Science in Business from Babson College, concentrating in Economics and Global management.

For Waseem, his work at Celsius is much more than a job. He sees the introduction of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) by Satoshi as the most important innovation of his generation and understands the profound impact it can have on society’s social systems.

About Celsius

Celsius is a democratized reward-earning and crypto lending platform accessible via a mobile app. Built on the belief that financial services should only do what is in the best interests of the community, Celsius is a modern platform where membership provides access to curated financial services that are not available through traditional financial institutions. Crypto holders can earn rewards by transferring their coins to their Celsius Wallet and can borrow USD or stablecoins against their crypto collateral at interest rates as low as 1% APR.

Download the Celsius app and start earning rewards on your crypto today!

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Celsius was a global cryptocurrency platform and a leader in Bitcoin mining. For more, please visit http://cases.stretto.com/celsius.