Dear Ted Hover, thanks for taking the time to join me in this interview to educate our community on CurPay. Can you give us a brief introduction to you? What is your story, dating back as far as you wish?
Stefan, thanks for having me. I grew up in Elmira, NY and ever since I was young, I have been interested in Tech; at 13, I built my first computer, “A Sinclar ZX80 ‘’ and started teaching myself BASIC programming. My journey carried me to college at LIU Southampton for Marine Biology, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, so I joined the AirForce, serving four years primarily on AWACS Planes (Airborne Warning and Control System Aircraft)
It was during my time in the military that I bought my first pre-built computer, “A Packard Bell 286,” and dove deeper into programming. This continued knowledge allowed me to create a concept and design an electric vehicle.
With this fantastic idea in mind, I started my first company AEV, which stood for Automated Electric Vehicles. Unfortunately, I could not raise any money to pursue that dream, and everybody thought I was crazy.
After four years with the military, I joined the private contracting sector, where I headed up a small software division for a government contracting firm. I worked on some cool projects that included RFID for the 1996 Olympics and facial recognition commonly used in airports today.
It was around this time where I found my passion for day trading. These were the beginning days of E*TRADE and Ameritrade, both allowed me to learn the ins and outs of stock trading.
A small company in the Caribbean brought me to the island of Curacao to save a project where I met my best friend and business partner, Chris Curtin. Shortly after starting that project, I was hired by the parent company to stay in Curacao Full Time.
While doing internal development for the company, I had discovered a pattern in the Random Number Generator that was being used in the Casino; not being one of the original developers on that project, the team found it hard to believe what I had found, so needless to say the only way to prove it was to exploit the pattern!
On a Sunday, when everyone was off, I created an application that would play just Roulette; it would wager 5 cents on a single number per spin. But once it saw the pattern, it would up the wager to the Max Wager of 500.00 on the number, knowing it came up from the pattern per spin. I made over $10 million in less than 10 minutes. Since that kind of massive win would get people’s attention, I knew the developers would finally have to admit the Random Number Generator was faulty and fix it.
After the Casino project was completed, I saw another new and upcoming development scenario and created software that allowed people to wager on frags in any FPS (First Person Shooter) video game. The name matched the methodology and was called Pay-Per-Frag. We used my AI for player matching so that the same skilled players would be put into the exact match with each other.
THIS is where the AI that is currently used in CurPay was born.
Once my roles had been completed, I left and went to work for Pinnacle Sports. I was offered a deal that they would fund my Video Game wagering concept if I would produce a casino for them. That is where MyGameRoom was launched, the same concept as Pay-Per-Frag but more community-related. During this time, I even published a magazine called ProGam3r that focused on the professional gaming side of video games. At the height of MyGameRooms’ popularity, we had the two most popular battlefield servers in the world. The MyGameRoom software would eventually be sold to a Danish company that partnered with MTV Nordic to re-brand as The Frag Arcade.
With my time at Pinnacle complete, I left to start my own company with my now long-time business partner Chris Curtin. In 2008 we built a completely automated wagering platform from signup to placing wagers. We have been leasing it to operators since 2009 as whole systems, modules, and APIs.
In 2016 I discovered cryptocurrencies. I began mining them in 2017 and trading shortly after that. I found that it wasn’t the same as the stock day trading; it was much better; it had massive volatility that I quickly capitalized on.
Much like the Casino years back, I noticed patterns, and that was when I dove into XRP trading after figuring out a pattern that happened early in the morning every day. I knew that there had to be more patterns in other coins as well. So I took the AI that was built for player matching in Pay-Per-Frag and later used it to auto-update line moves in the sports wager software, and I modified it to learn patterns based on market conditions regardless of the trading pair. At first, I used just MACD and some EMAs but later added more EMAs and Market indicators. It has become so flexible that it can successfully trade any Trading Pair, Cryptocurrency or not.
Why did you get involved in the cryptocurrency industry, and where do you think the industry will be in 5–10 years? Also, in your view, how do people protect themselves from volatility and corrections in the crypto-verse?
My cryptocurrency journey started in 2016 when I bought some BTC and LTC. I was very interested in the power of decentralized currencies and the power they could bring to everyday life. I saw a great need for it in gaming since it was so hard to get legitimate merchant services in that industry. Still, I knew this technology was the future of finance because of its availability for every person. Wallets were popping up for any coin you wanted, and most of them were simple phone apps. To be able to send your friend an litecoin in minutes was genuinely remarkable for me.
2017 was when I began trading. I had been following many coins on exchanges like Polinex, Coinbase, and Kraken but hardly traded. This goes with my mentioning XRP and its patterns every morning around 2 am; the price would go up a few pennies, then by 6 am, it would settle back down, so I started trading it. The theory for the price changes was due to South Koreans massively trading at that time, but when they were done for the day, the price would go back. After being profitable on that system, I figured there had to be a way to automate it.
Through conversation with other traders and merchants; everyone I talked to was petrified of the volatility. From my trading experience and what I learned from my XRP trading, I knew there was a way to protect holders from volatility and capitalize on it.
That’s amazing. Now can you give us an introduction to CurPay and its history?
Early in 2019, CurPay was created as a crypto Merchant Processor. It got its name from my love for Curacao and Pay for well Payments. Though the Cur is from Currencies, it comes from Curacao. The logo has a double meaning, meaning that it is like waves in an ocean, but also signifies the up and down of the price of any Cryptocurrency. As we developed CurPay for Merchants, we found that many merchants didn’t want to accept crypto due to Volatility, and that is a valid concern. Today BTC is worth $60k, so I can buy a car with one BTC; if the price drops to 40k tomorrow, well, then that seller just lost a ton of loot. So, we came up with a way that as soon as the Merchant receives a payment, it converts it to a FIAT of their choice. But some Merchants suffer from “FOMO,” so we added the ability to do partial transfers to FIAT. One Merchant may want 100% of the payment converted to FIAT but another maybe 50% and HODL the rest. But then it occurred to me that these conversions to FIAT were not always happening at the correct time according to market conditions. If there could be a way to develop that the conversion to FIAT was timed correctly, we could squeak a percent or two for the merchant out of the deposited crypto. I had a Machine Learning AI that I used for years that would work perfectly in this case. It was already using it for trading. So, it would work perfectly for merchants.
So how did you get started with CurPay, and why? Early on, did you see an opportunity to fill a void in the market?
After inco July 2021rporating the AI into our CurPay Merchant services and with the success that I was having using the AI to trade personally, we decided to shift the focus of CurPay from a merchant provider to volatility protection and trading assistant. We tied into many exchanges, including CoinBase Pro, Kraken, Bitso, Blockchain.io, and Coinsquare, and created a client website to start beta testing. Soon after we migrated the entire CurPay system to the cloud and started taking more beta testers. In July 2021 we launched our subscription-based site to the public. Since the number one fear of potential and new crypto users is the fear of volatility and losing their money, what a great way to help the crypto-verse and give value to people than to offer Automated Volatility Protection or what we call AVP. Fantastic!
What have been the biggest challenges for you and CurPay since you started the project?
Oh! There have been a lot of challenges with this project. AI uses a lot of computer power, adding in the amount of big data that is processed with every decision (this is double the headache); that is why we moved to the cloud; to get that power on demand that we needed. Where we see a minor but amenable challenge is the expense per user, depending on how many trading pairs the user is trading, the cost of processing power increases. If you look at it as every time a user adds a trading pair to their account, it births a new separate AI, which keeps all customers and trading pairs separated. Therefore we decided on a subscription-based model and limited the number of trading pairs depending on what subscription the user purchases.
Community Trust is also one of the major challenges. Unfortunately, there have been so many fraudulent projects associated with Crypto; they give the space a bad name when most of the people in the Crypto community are cool and trustworthy. So, the community is everything. Building up a reputation is a must and offering the best service possible is our goal.
What makes CurPay unique compared to your competitors? And could you give us a breakdown of bot trading vs.AI trading to understand the difference?
It is easy to see the difference between CurPay and our competitors.
One thing that stands out the most is the number of supported Trading Pairs. CurPay offers clients any trading pair that the user’s exchange supports. (Currently 632 over all exchanges). Another advantage is the settings available to every user in our system. An example is the “Simulate Trade Only” setting.
This is enabled by default when the user adds a trading pair to their account. It allows the AI to learn a trading pair, even requesting trades, but the trades are blocked before going to the exchange. Every decision the AI makes is evaluated on a success ranking, and this facilitates the learning process. So, no matter what the AI is trading and even if a strategy were successful in the past, it would learn from its decisions in the current market.
Competitors want you to run the past years for the market through their system, but what good does that do when you are trading in a market that is so volatile and ever evolving as the crypto market.
Most competitors are still using BOTS to trade, either BOTS or, even worse, copying other people’s trades. I often wonder what it must be like writing software to determine what stage their contributors are in the Investor
Psychology Cycle. BOTS are easy to put together, and the code is freely available online. But if you are going to use something you find online, there is a great chance it is already too old. No one will share their magic until it is too old. Since a bot is programmed for a specific trading pair with specific market conditions, it will work ok until those market conditions change; then, it becomes less reliable. A BOT cannot learn from its mistakes, so it needs the programmer to vary it depending on how the market is trending. When it comes to programming a BOT, how much does that programmer understand trading indicators or even trading?
CurPay also gives the users various settings and money market strategies to adjust the AI to react and trade if they feel it is best to meet their goals. A key feature which BOTS are unable to account for is that our AI can even analyze the user’s manual trades. Along with what trades were successful, what trades were not, and why, the AI takes that info as just other decisions to include in its learning. Most BOTS have limited abilities and will only allow the user to set a stop loss or take profits order price while CurPay has 35 possible settings that the user can adjust — which is proof that there are so many advantages to using AI.
Understood. What has been your most outstanding achievement thus far, and what has been the biggest failure or setback personally or in the company’s history?
My most outstanding achievement for CurPay is undoubtedly the adaptation of the AI to include machine learning capabilities. This is what put us way ahead of our competition. The fact that we can successfully make money for users and protect them from volatility for any trading pair is light years ahead of anyone else. We do not require reprogramming for every pair when market conditions change. The AI handles all of that. And market conditions can vary from one hour to the next. If you think about it, who could keep up with that? You hear the stories all the time; they always go something like, “I was making great money with this BOT then lost it all in a night.”
The most significant setback was when we had to remove many of the exchanges we tied into initially. What benefit is an exchange doesn’t have enough volume for the AI to work with, or even worse, BOTS are manipulating the prices, then the CurPay AI just isn’t going to be effective. We continually evaluate current exchanges and look for the best fit for our customers.
What is the next step for CurPay in the next 1–2 years?
We have some exciting developments in the works. Currently we are rolling out our telegram signals channels. We already offer free BTC-USD and SHIB signals. These signals give the users sharp and concise data and the chance to profit from the volatility of the trading pair.
But probably the most significant step for CurPay is our long-term trading AI. Currently, the CurPay AI acts as a day trader. This is a good start, but some users have more of a HODL mentality. Day trading isn’t really what they are looking for. They want the protection of AVP, so if the price drops dramatically, then they are covered, but they also are in it for the long haul. They want to get into and out of the market not based on up-to-the-minute prices but on the long- term outlook. It is a massive undertaking, but we will help many more users achieve their goals.
Where can people support your business? Other than that, thank you for your time — any final words?
Stefan Thank you very much for having me; it has been my pleasure to offer some of the backstories as to how we came to be CurPay.
If someone is interested in finding out more info about how they can protect themselves from the volatility in the crypto-verse, they can visit our trader website at https://www.curpaytrader.com.