Last week, the world-known blockchain project DASH (DASH/USD), announced that it'll be the exclusive cryptocurrency payment option at all Church’s Chicken Venezuela locations. Church’s Chicken Venezuela becomes the first major franchise group to accept Dash and joins a growing list of over 2,200 merchants in Venezuela that now take Dash at the point of sale.
iHodl spoke exclusively with Bradley Zastrow, Director of Global Business Development at Dash Core, to find out how far DASH is about to expand its services and why there's so much noise about Venezuela.
Zastrow joined Dash from American Express where he has spent the last 17+ years in a variety of partnership and finance roles across the globe. Most of his career, he led a regional team in sourcing, negotiating, and managing strategic partnerships for the benefit of American Express Centurion and Platinum card products and customers.
iHodl: Today, you are the known member of the DASH community. You have achieved these results not only due to your management skills but also due to your extensive experience at American Express. Having 17+ years of experience at Amex, why did you change your scope in favor of such a young industry?
Bradley Zastrow: I loved my time with American Express, but for me, moving to Dash Core Group was about having a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of an exciting industry. I believe in the impact that cryptocurrency offers, particularly in the disruptive potential it has upon the way money is used today. In that sense, I’m still within the payments business; I’ve simply moved from a more traditional payments company to one focused on new technology.
iHodl: DASH has achieved significant progress since the integration of Singapore’s Dash virtual wallet with Visa and Apple Pay. Today, as if pouring oil on the fire [in a good sense], there are various reports regarding the global expansion of DASH in Venezuela. One thing is certain — DASH will be the exclusive cryptocurrency payment option at all Church's Chicken Venezuela locations. However, could you please clarify the situation with other DASH partnerships on the territory of Venezuela?
Bradley Zastrow: Dash Core Group, with whom I am employed, is one entity serving Dash’s interests in Venezuela. However, we have several additional organizations on the ground who are driving every day adoption, and are also funded by the Dash network. Dash Venezuela and Dash merchant are two of the largest organizations in the country, but there are almost 30 community organizations in total, who are involved with building awareness, driving merchant adoption and providing help desk support for Dash users. This is a major reason why we’re growing the way we are within the market, and why our merchant adoption in particular has been so strong. As a result, we now have over 2,400 merchants accepting Dash in Venezuela.
iHodl: Given the partnership between Church's Chicken and DASH, it seems you are about to make a significant progress in favor of the cryptocurrency adoption. Why did you choose Venezuela?
Bradley Zastrow: Venezuela is important because of the current economic situation. We provide payment solutions, and in markets where hyperinflation exists, every payment type is broken because the national fiat is not working. We saw the market as the one having the greatest need, and though we’re focused on business opportunities in four additional areas, we have prioritised Venezuela as a result.
iHodl: Do you think Venezuela has any chances to be among the other "blockchain paradises" like Malta, South Korea, and Switzerland despite the fact that the United States does not encourage the idea of the Venezuelan national cryptocurrency?
Bradley Zastrow: It’s hard to say what the future holds for Venezuela, as you touch upon with the US restrictions, there is a political as well as an economic component to the situation. It certainly is a market that has potential for mainstream adoption to grow faster than perhaps other markets globally. For example, volatility with cryptocurrency prices makes it a disincentive to spend in most markets, however this paradigm is flipped in Venezuela because the Bolivar is more volatile. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention and since the greatest need is in Venezuela, I think we’ll find some incredible ingenuity and solutions come out of the market – they’re living a very different situation over there and have a different need from the average cryptocurrency user.
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