MenaPay, one of the first blockchain mobile based payment system in the MENA based on Stellar blockchain platform aims to support digital transformation and become one of the most commonly used applications in the region. MenaPay is a safe and transparent payment network for any user and every aspect of everyday life. MenaPay uses stablecoin MenaCash which is equivalent to one US dollar.
UNLOCK interviewed Cagla Gül Şenkardeş, Chief Executive Officer of MENAPAY and one of the first women in the MENA region to participate in the expansion and growth of Blockchain in Turkey as well as MENA region as a whole. Cagla is a high achiever with more than one degree under her belt. She also holds a PHD as well as an MBA in Business Administration includes her BS as a mechanical engineer. In addition she has a wealth of experience working in various industries including automotive, education, and blockchain.
Her passion for blockchain and its use cases is contagious. Cagla is a strong believer that Blockchain can be used to assist the unbanked population across the MENA region to make payments simply, transparently, and cost effectively. According to Cagla, “We built MenaPay using a stablecoin MenaCash which is equivalent to 1 dollar in an effort to digitize cash for the unbanked population which makes up 80% of the population in the MENA region. The utilization of peer to peer transactions as well as the onboarding of merchants from across the region will help to develop the usage of stablecoins in the economy.”
Cagla explained how MenaPay from the very beginning opened offices in the UAE in Dubai. Cagla stated, “The UAE was a starting point for us given their strong support for blockchain and we have various investors, advisors and board members from the region as well.”
Users can gain access to MenaCash both offline through MenaPay resellers network of brick and mortar establishments or online. MenaPay allows users to transfer money within daily life in a secure, fast and decentralized way. Focusing on 18 countries and 441 Million people as a starting point, MenaPay carries the mission of becoming the largest non-bank payment solution by using blockchain technology while generating significant returns for its investors.
In an effort to work seamlessly in the MENA region, MenaPay is Shariaa compliant. According to Cagla, “MenaPay is fully compliant with Islamic Finance rules which are very important specifically in MENA region to provide a convenient and trustworthy digital payment solution. Users who most probably care about Islamic finance will see that blockchain technology meets the requirements of Islamic finance rules about money transactions between parties and earnings from the investments. Any P2P transaction should be witnessed by 2 parties in order to comply with Islamic jurisprudence. The nature of blockchain and the MenaPay revenue structure perfectly meets Islamic tenets. That is why on MENAPAY, our enterprise blockchain structure at least 3 parties confirm the transaction. This cannot be deleted or rearranged by any individual or a central authority after a transaction has been confirmed.”
Thus MenaPay focuses on building a large community of consumers and merchants who will utilize MenaPay as their primary method of payment for any digital business such as ecommerce, and any online/offline or traditional P2P transaction for each and P2P cross border transactions. MenaPay can be used in various places, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, gas stations, vending machines; shortly in every possible money transaction activity.
MENA Pay in 2019
Starting from mid-2019, MenaPay listed its MPAY token on 12 global exchanges. As Cagla explained, “We created a system of green mining our token without using energy as we collect. MPay token is a utility token and we have only issued 400 million where 64% of the tokens will be owned by the public. It will be used for Peer to merchant transaction in MenPay payment application as well as for token staking. Today we are proud to have over 40,000 resellers’ points in the region.”
Cagla proudly stated, “In 2019 MenaPay was listed in the “Emerging 50” in KPMG’s annual Fintech100 report. In the report prepared by KPMG and H2 Ventures, MenaPay was evaluated positively in areas such as average annual investment, ratio of final investment to total investment, geographical and sectorial diversity, and product, service and business model innovation. MenaPay was the only UAE-headquartered company to be included in the “Emerging50” list of rapidly growing companies with innovative solutions.”
MenaPay last year as well became available in Huawei Application Gallery. AppGallery, one of the biggest parts of the operating system developed by Chinese Huawei, serves as the official application distribution platform of Huawei. It is used to search, download, manage, and share applications on their Huawei mobile devices.
The growth of MenaPay has been steady and positive. According to Cagla, “In mid-2019 we had started to upload products on the stores and today have over 35,000 users with more than 100 merchants. 80% of our users and merchants are from Turkey but we also have many from China Korea and USA. Our users are also very much interested in the gaming industry and we saw a jump in users with our integration with Razor and with Twitch. Twitch is a platform that is being used to watch games in real-time, enables access to major tournaments, e-sports matches, individual games and chats on games maintaining a partner program with publishers.”
MenaPay is also working with big crypto exchanges that are increasingly opening offices in Turkey as crypto trading increases in the country. As Cagla explains, “Usually Turkish crypto traders have to buy USD and then send the USD to Huobi for example, MenaPay has an advantage as crypto-traders can use Turkish liras to purchase MenaCash and then convert it to Huobi or Binance account.”
MenaPay in 2020
According to Cagla MenaPay has many acitivites in 2020. She explains, “We are seeking high see funding in a Pre A Series round of $8.2 million which we will use for marketing and business development across the GCC and MENA region to include UAE, Bahrain and 18 MENA countries in total.” In addition MenaPay also plans to enter the Bahrain Central Bank Sandbox and as Cagla adds, “ We have plans to open an office in Bahrain as such.”