Daniel Gusev, managing partner and founder at Gauss Ventures, answers: what’s happening for fintech in Russia? His analysis is done solely to, as objectively as possible, overview repercussions from war and imposed sanctions on Russian economy, payments, fintech.
Among his key points are:
- NSPK (National Payment Card System) will carry the flag of supporting local payment switch – but card importance in terms of payments will cede before faster payments integrated to support in-app payment and QR payments for offline. Merchants will be required to accept QR (lowering the cost of acceptance). Several competing standards might appear – promoted by big acquirers.
- Cashless drive will suffer a hit, also due to lowering of interchange that would lead to lower cash-back. Marketing budgets from OEMs will also disappear, time will be required to build local champions whom users would trust.
- Merchants will lead the evolution of payments, mirroring Chinese / SEA model, where banks become plumbing: several who maintain prowess in acquiring will invest in checkout experiences as well as improved QR payments – as Android smartphones are extremely popular.
- The state, concerned about the cash cost, promotes development of CBDC and stablecoins / digital cash analogs to alleviate the problem.
- It all comes to ability to retain talent able to execute the management adjustment and implement technological programs that the country relied for many years on international partners – as well as capital for that.
- Here, western sanctions provide a (unintended) silver lining: while morally castigating Russia to oblivion, sanctions provide the country with capital – effectively solving the capital flight problem – as well as securing professional middle class help.