Christophe Lassuyt Request Network Request Finance Geneva Web3 finance payroll CFO YCombinator REQ

GRTiQ Podcast: 103 Christophe Lassuyt

Today I am speaking with Christophe Lassuyt, Co-Founder of Request Network, and Co-Founder and CEO at Request Finance, an all-in-one finance solution for Web3 businesses. If you’ve spent any time working in Web3, then you are likely already a user of Request Finance as it’s the premier invoicing and payroll solution in the crypto industry.

During this interview, you’ll hear about Chris’ strong background in finance, including an impressive CFO role in a start-up in Geneva, and then how his interest in international payments and processing led him to launch Request Finance. As you will hear, Chris is another great example of the quintessential entrepreneur pursuing incredible opportunities in the Web3 space.

Chris and I talk about his entrepreneurial journey, the differences between Request Network and Request Finance, what Request Finance is and who its target users are, and he also talks about how Request uses The Graph. And as you will hear, there are a few incredible moments during this interview when Chris talks about how crypto and blockchain will disrupt conventional approaches to finance, accounting, and audits, along with his vision for the future of DeFi.

The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]). We do not authorized anyone to copy any portion of the podcast content or to use the GRTiQ or GRTiQ Podcast name, image, or likeness, for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books or audiobooks, book summaries or synopses, or on any commercial websites or social media sites that either offers or promotes your products or services, or anyone else’s products or services. The content of GRTiQ Podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice.



We use software and some light editing to transcribe podcast episodes.  Any errors, typos, or other mistakes in the show transcripts are the responsibility of GRTiQ Podcast and not our guest(s). We review and update show notes regularly, and we appreciate suggested edits – email: iQ at GRTiQ dot COM. The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]).

The following podcast is for informational purposes only. The contents of this podcast do not constitute tax, legal or investment advice. Take responsibility for your own decisions, consult with the proper professionals, and do your own research.

Christophe Lassuyt (00:00:19):

And we initially had our own solutions and then we switched to The Graph, because it’s more powerful in terms of payment detection. And we basically added The Graph as a key component of our tech stack.

Nick (00:01:03):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today I’m speaking with Christophe Lassuyt, co-founder of Request Network and co-founder and CEO at Request Finance, an all-in-one financial solution for web3 businesses. If you spent any time working in web3, then you’re already likely a user of Request Finance as it’s the premier invoicing and payroll solution in the crypto industry.


During this interview, you’ll hear about Chris’s strong background in finance, including an impressive CFO role in a startup in Geneva, and then how his interest in international payments and processing led him to launch Request Finance.


And as you’ll hear, Chris is another great example of the quintessential entrepreneur pursuing incredible opportunities in the web3 space. Chris and I talk about his entrepreneurial journey, the differences between Request Network and Request Finance, what Request Finance is and who its target users are. And he also talks about how Request uses The Graph.


And as you’ll find, there are a few incredible moments during this interview when Chris also talks about how crypto and blockchain will disrupt conventional approaches to finance, accounting, and audits along with sharing his vision for the future of De-Fi. As always, we started the conversation by talking about Chris’s professional and educational background.

Christophe Lassuyt (00:02:19):

In a few words, I did the French business school and then after that my first job was as a CFO in Geneva. I had this experience in Switzerland as a CFO and in China, actually, for four or five years before I launched my first company in 2014. That company at the end of 2014 was doing money transfers, so international money transfers, but with Bitcoin as a backbone so we were using the technology.


And then after this project we basically launched Request Network that you know today linked to the Rectocoum, it’s a payment Request protocol. While a bit more than two years ago, we launched Request Finance. That is basically the best line for CFOs making payments in crypto.

Nick (00:03:10):

Well Chris, you’re from France but you’re currently joining me from Singapore. I’d be curious to know what took you to Singapore.

Christophe Lassuyt (00:03:16):

Yeah, it’s funny actually, we were a few digital nomad entrepreneurs, so co-founders, friends in the same team and we decided to change country every six months. Because basically when we started in 2014, I was in Switzerland, my colleague was in Paris and I said I would never go to Paris. He said he would never go to Switzerland.


So we decided to change every six months from basically starting in Amsterdam, then Mexico, Lisbon, San Francisco, Berlin, and then we arrived in Singapore. But when we arrived in Singapore, I felt like home. So I did not want to leave after six months. And one day they almost all left, but I had a son here in Singapore and that the city where I’ve spent the most time. So it’s been five years now. I just love it here.

Nick (00:04:04):

That’s a lot of places you’ve lived and visited. I’m curious for listeners that like to travel, what’s the place they’ve got to go see? You’ve spent time in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco. Is there any particular city or something people should go see?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:04:21):

So, basically when I was in these countries I was mostly working, having a little bit of fun, but not behaving like a tourist. Whoever the life, like the city life in Amsterdam or Lisbon, there’s a charm to it, even in Berlin as well. So the three cities I would think about first there’s really a special atmosphere there.

Nick (00:04:45):

When I’ve had the opportunity to speak with guests of the podcast that have traveled the world like you have, I always like to ask them this question about what perspective have they gained about humanity, about people by virtue of traveling all around the world? What have you learned about people as a result of what you’ve done?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:05:03):

I guess, personally, the more I travel, the more I feel different than the people I was born with in my small village of 500 inhabitants. So it’s a lot about tolerance, understanding, open-mindedness. I think you get to understand many new perspectives.


So I encourage everyone to travel, even if it’s not with a plane, even if basically just by train or by car, or by bike anywhere. Basically traveling and seeing all their perspectives is really helping.

Nick (00:05:35):

That’s incredible. You went from a small village in France of 500 inhabitants to living all across the world and moving to a new city every six months?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:05:44):


Nick (00:05:46):

It’s incredible. What has that been like for you? I mean that’s remarkable, right? Does anyone from this village go on and do this type of a thing?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:05:52):

No, no. Almost no one did this. But the thing is I always dreamt when I was younger I always dreamt that I was flying. So, I guess that’s what I’m doing now. I’m flying a lot, just very clear I wanted to travel.


So, as I said, it helps a lot personally, professionally, and you learn a lot basically. So I would just encourage anyone to do that if they have the opportunity.

Nick (00:06:20):

It seems to me that Singapore is emerging as one of these modern crypto-friendly cities and there’s a few, and I’ve learned about them by virtue of doing this podcast, but Argentina is top of mind. Lisbon, of course, is top of mind and Singapore seems to come up on occasion. Is that true? And how would you describe the atmosphere there in Singapore towards crypto?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:06:42):

So, legally it is probably the city in the world where the most crypto companies get created. So, it’s basically where the legal headquarters here for many companies. But still, yes, of course there is a many crypto founders in Singapore. Even literally, but [inaudible 00:07:03] Eren lives in Singapore.


The thing is, what is probably attracting is that the rules here are clear. So, you know basically what are the rules. You just have to respect them regarding crypto companies, crypto foundations, crypto taxes, everything.


But I would say that there are a few ecosystems which are a bit more open, where you can meet many more people probably in Lisbon and Dubai. Anyway, Singapore is very, very qualitative. So as I said, it’s many founders of crypto projects.


So of course, even if there are probably fewer events, there are very interesting people.

Nick (00:07:41):

Well, I want to go back to a little bit more about your career and it’s going to lead nicely to what you’re doing today and why we’re speaking. I’m interested in what attracted you to the field of finance.


You mentioned you’re from a small village of 500 inhabitants. Finance is something that I typically associate with big industry, big corporations. What pulled you into that industry and sparked your interest?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:08:02):

Yeah, so basically I’ve been working in corporate finance and my first job was actually in a big pharma industry. And I hated it. So, basically then I understood that I prefer to be in a startup or scaler.


But the way I see is corporate finance and especially the CFOs. So chief financial officers, they are the only ones in the company with a clear overview of 100% of the company with a special perspective that is a perspective with the figures. Basically they see the different numbers, but they still see 100% of the company.


And that’s the reason why many CFOs are key in a company and are basically sometimes becoming even CEOs. But what I really wanted is I wanted to be an entrepreneur and to be an entrepreneur I need to understand about the administrative and financial processes.


I also needed to understand 100% of companies so that this overview that I love and I really think that the CFOs and finance people more generally are key, especially if they stop just listening to the KPIs and just acting based on the KPIs, but understand some concepts like opportunity costs.


So, for example, do we need to go to this event? This event cost $20,000 and the CFO is going to say, no, we need to save money this month. But in the case it’s a bad CFO because he needs to understand that if we go, how much are we going to earn? Right?


If we earn more than 20K in less than one or X month, then it’s worth it. And so basically, you need smart CFOs. And what we see in web3 is we have the smartest CFOs. We have CFOs of companies who are building profit center rather than cost center. So they are not a support function anymore. Now they are key and strategic, and financially key for the future of the company.

Nick (00:10:03):

Well, I want to double click on that a little bit there. So, you’re saying in web3 we’re seeing a brighter light shined on the importance of that CFO role and in fact perhaps within this industry CFOs are more important. Did I understand that correctly?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:10:20):

Yes, I think so because if you look at web2, web2, the trends is the FinTech trend where companies like Uber or Starbucks become banks or at least financial institution. They’re able to provide cards. So it’s becoming very similar to a bank.


In the web3, it’s even more important because by default the company has got token many times, or is dealing with a lot of money. So basically, and there are many more options to deal with money and to work on treasury, but there are also many risks. So we need to be careful about the risks.


And last but not least, the web3 industry is basically attractive in terms of a set package. So, they managed to get people coming from really great web2 scale ups or great web2 companies. Those web2 CFOs need to learn about web3 that we’re Request Finance helps. And they are building the next generation of financerized companies.


So, basically companies where every company has got funds and finance is key for this company.

Nick (00:11:35):

I want to go back to that early experience you had working as a CFO for a fast-growing startup in Switzerland. What did this firm do and what did you learn about startups by virtue of having that experience?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:11:48):

So, this is an IT and management consulting startup that was growing really fast from a few hundred people to a few thousand people in a few year. I probably learned that the CFOs can really speed up business. So, basically I was a bit frustrated because I saw the CFO position as something that is a support function while I had this mindset as an entrepreneur.


So I started as a CFO. After a few months I became the manager of few CFOs in the companies. So basically, there were 15 subsidiaries that CFOs were managing and I was managing the CFOs. What was really interesting is that we were driving business. Why? Because every time that a salesperson was talking with a client, he would say, yeah, of course we’ve got an entity in Dubai. Of course we’ve got consultants in Dubai, we got exactly the right ones. And that was totally fake.


So that one hour later they would call us and would say, “Hey, we need an entity team in Dubai next week and we also need consultants.” So basically, they would talk with the hiring team, talk with the finance and administrative team, and we had to work day and night to be ready for the week after.


And this is basically an opportunistic behavior that is really helping to scale, and you could not scale without a support function that are really business-minded. So I learned a lot about it where if you can put everyone on the same team, whether they are support function or not, then it’s basically it’s business.


So yeah, I would say opportunitics behaviors, and this experience at a scale up is key. And especially when you behave as a team.

Nick (00:13:33):

Well, you mentioned in 2014 you quit that job and started your first startup. What was it that you went to work on? And what was that experience like stepping out of a bigger company and doing something on your own?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:13:47):

So, yeah, I had a job at Seaco in Switzerland, so that was not an easy move. Basically I had a good package and I decided to have nothing and start a company with a French. We did not have much savings, so we basically took many risks. So it felt like we were free falling and did not have a solution. Right? So we did this for a long time.


But basically, the original idea came from the fact that I had lived in different countries already and I had this experience of international money transfers, especially when basically, the bank does not allow you to transfer money. And we thought we need to add freedom in this space.


So we need to allow people, for example, in China to transfer money out of China. We need to allow people in Mexico to transfer money out of Mexico. And we knew that Bitcoin was a solution, so we were basically connecting to exchanges in the different countries.


So, if you wanted to send money from Mexico to Germany for example, we would make you send money to an exchange in Mexico, then we would buy Bitcoin, send Bitcoin to Germany in the Kraken account for example, and withdraw in Euros in Germany. That worked. But people needed a lot of transparency.


And we learned to chew things. That is, there’s a big difference between what the customer says and what the customer needs. So basically what they say is they say they don’t trust banks. They say that they want something that is as cheap as possible, but what they really needed is they want to transfer that way that were as fast as possible, whatever the costs.


Because they don’t trust the money transfer operation at all. They need it to happen in one second. The way they feel super stressed, they don’t sleep at night. And that’s something we had to learn, especially when we had thousands of users a month.


It was very stressful, of course, but my guess we were okay with stress. Just that when the team grew, we understood that not everyone could bear such a level of stress, especially when people have got this stress and they transfer it to the team members.


With this company we also went through the Y Combinator. In the Y Combinator, we learned so many recipes of success. So basically, we learned how to make it happen, but then it’s up to us to follow the recipes. And there are many entrepreneurs who have their ego and they won’t follow a recipe even if they trust Y Combinator. Right?


So I think you need to follow the recipes when it’s the right one. And one of the recipes is hardworking, like being resilient and having some grit. So, those things are not easy to get. Either you have them or you need to work a lot on that. And it’s a marathon.


So basically, it’s been hard like a marathon, it’s not finished. It’s still the entrepreneurial journey for many years.

Nick (00:17:03):

I’m always curious what pushes somebody who has a great job and a growing company. You’re working in Switzerland, you’re growing that business, you have an important role, and you decide to partner up with a friend and go off and do your own thing with no safety net and like you said, very little savings.


Where does that conviction come from? Why did you decide to do something like that?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:17:25):

So, the way I see it is every time you do, you make a decision. You’ve got your pillars, right, that are intrinsically like values. And some values make your most make you tense.


And so basically, it’s when you feel an emotion, whether it’s a good one or a bad one, actually an emotion is not good or bad, but whether you are angry or you’re happy, it’s always because it’s either unaligned or aligned with the value that you have. Right?


So in my case, being an entrepreneur is driven a lot by freedom. That is important to me. So I needed freedom and if freedom means I’m alone or we just a few people building a company, then fine.


And the second thing is I needed integrity and it’s hard to have integrity if you are working for someone else. So I would say those two drivers had an impact on my choices all the time.

Nick (00:18:25):

A lot of my listeners have ambition of being an entrepreneur in the web3 space and maybe they’re sitting on an idea and they’re just waiting for the right time, or maybe they’re working on one and things are going well. But I’d be curious what your advice would be to them.


You’ve done it, you’ve started Request Network and you’ve also started other ventures that have been very successful. What’s your advice to entrepreneurs that are listening?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:18:46):

So, basically, what they’re going to do is they’re going to say, Hey, I want to build something. I’m going to build something someday.


So I would in this specific case, I would say if you really want to build something instead of talking about it for 20 years, instead of at 60 years old telling your grandchildren that you always wanted to be something but you never did, then two things that you can do.


The first thing is prepare the decision. So pre decide. So basically, you write down that when this and this happens, I stop working and I build my first project. So this is a first step that’s going to make you decide without having the emotional stress of like, do I do it? Do I not do it? And the second one is so pre-decision, very important.


The second one is look at yourself at 80 years old if you’re lucky to be 80 someday, and see yourself from this 80 years old today. So you imagine yourself, you are 80 and you’re looking at what you’re doing today and you’re like, yeah, come on. You don’t care, don’t distress. It’s just a podcast, right?

And same for starting a company. Don’t feel stress, it’s fine. Like start your company, try. Maybe it’s going to be a three months or three years adventure, maybe a 30 years adventure. Just try.

Nick (00:21:18):

Chris, when I speak with entrepreneurs, the question I always personally want to ask is about failure. Are you afraid of failure?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:21:25):

Yeah. So basically I probably need to learn a lot more about myself, but I’m not so sure. So basically yes, you know what they say, failure is learning. Right? So I’m afraid of wasting time of others.


So I wouldn’t be afraid of failure if I did not learn. But as long as we learn, a failure is going to be a good thing anyway, so probably not that afraid.

Nick (00:21:54):

So, we’ve outlined a few entrepreneurial stops before you launched Request in 2017. I want to ask, as you look back on that entrepreneurial journey, and I understand you’re still on one, but do you look back on your life and those early experiences as though they all kind of led to where you are today in founding Request Network?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:22:15):

Yeah, a good question. Whether it was, so of course it was not intentional to do the many things that I did. I mean from when I was 15 years old. But if you look at it, when I was very young, I just wanted to create a company, I wanted to be an entrepreneur.


And then the first choice that I did when I left business school, so during business school I was working in big pharma. After business school, so when I graduated I went to Geneva for this job as a CFO.


What I wanted at this time is I wanted to understand before creating my own company. So the first step has been understand and understand a lot about finance, administrative financial processes. The second step has been to create my own company.


But crypto for example, is something that I fell into without any intents. I was not really into technologies or encryption or anything, I just happened to know about it.


And so, I’d say there’s some choices that I made and chances that made me be here today. But it could be someone else doing the same thing. However, if I look at it, I think to build a protocol about payment Request that’s so useful for bookkeeping and auditing and to build a product like Request Panel that’s so useful for CFOs starting in web3.


Or even to build a community of web3 CFOs, the web3 CPO Club, it needed to be someone like me. So someone who has experience in tech, who has, experience in all of those jobs in corporate finance, like accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, finance and so on. So it feels like it’s made for me, but it was not intentional.

Nick (00:24:06):

Last question before I ask you about moving into crypto and launching Request Network, it’s this question about lessons in entrepreneurship. And I know you’ve learned a lot of things and you’ve had a lot of different experiences, but if there was one main lesson that you’ve learned about being an entrepreneur thus far in your career, what would you say that is?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:24:29):

Probably there’s a few. But okay there’s one that I’m thinking a lot is in web3 entrepreneurship you learn that competition as we know it in web2 does not exist. So, in my opinion, competition is a driver for many entrepreneurs, especially in web2. In web3, I think we’re going to see something more like cooperative competition or competitive cooperation where basically you need to work together in a way, you need to be interoperable in a way.


And so basically, this lesson is that we learned that competition does not really exist anymore, not in the same way as we’ve known.

Nick (00:25:15):

Well, let’s go back to when you first became interested in crypto. Do you remember when that was and what those first impressions were?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:25:22):

So, when I first heard about crypto, it was in 2012. I think we spoke for five minutes with the IT team where I was. So I was basically, I was a finance guy talking a lot with engineers. So I learned about it. I was like, nah, okay.


But then the first time I learned about it, then the first time I got really interested in it is when I thought about international money transfers together with this concept that I heard of cryptocurrency. And then I was like, okay, there’s something to do here.


Cryptocurrency as a technology is a solution to my problem here of international money transfers, and that got me excited.

Nick (00:26:09):

So, I imagine you must have a little bit of reservations when you hear in mainstream media or other people talking about the industry that there’s no real utility here to crypto, that it’s a giant Ponzi scheme or it’s just a bunch of people trying to create wealth out of nothing with intrinsic value.


I mean you must be critical of that having first seen or identify the utility of it?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:26:33):

So we are at war. It’s modest De-Fi versus CB business, or central banks. We might merge both, actually, but there’s really different interests.


And probably that this World Economic Forum and Central Bank, they want something that’s good for the world, maybe, right? And if I also want something that’s good for the world, so different jewels.


When we talk about crypto as a Ponzi, it’s not entirely untrue. There are many cryptos that are working this way and that have been profiting from the Ponzi schemes. But it’s basically critics that’s been made public to make the ecosystem less stable.


When the tax authorities in the US say that Ethereum might become Securities because Ethereum just moved to proof of stakes, it’s definitely to make sure that we don’t get too excited about Ethereum. So basically they want to limit adoption as much as they can.


Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know. But there’s still a difference between what crypto is and what the technology is. So crypto, if you look at it, you have a basket of 100 cryptocurrencies. In the basket of 100 cryptocurrencies there’s going to be Ponzi schemes.


However, the technology, there’s no doubt. Like blockchain technology is so useful. And of course, in this basket of 100 cryptocurrency, there’s also many projects that are really stable, honest and safe, or might become the currencies of the future. Like, if you look at the world in 30 years, maybe we’re all going to use, I don’t know 20 different currencies that are currency in these baskets.


But I think they should speak about technology. The media should understand. I don’t think many media understand the technology. They could just explain how magic the technology is without giving all the details, the technical details that people don’t really understand so that people understand that they own their funds.


Like, if the mainstream media just explain this, there would be much fewer problems in Argentina where people basically, people’s money disappears every month because of hyperinflation. Basically, owning your own funds is really a solution for many people in the world and it’s probably going to become a solution if other currencies collapse. I’m speaking about fiat currencies collapsing, not crypto ones.

Nick (00:29:12):

Chris, I wonder if you would take us back in time to the original ideas or the observations you had in 2017 that led to you launching Request Network.

Christophe Lassuyt (00:29:24):

Oh yeah. So again, Request Network is a protocol for payment Request. If I explain like this it’s not very easy to understand. But basically, let’s say it’s a way to have the invoices that are shared encrypted between anyone in the world.


So what we understood when we were in the international money transfer industry, that every time that someone needed to transfer money internationally, they actually had to pay an invoice that was in a different currency. And I was like, okay, so you are in the US, you have US dollars, and you have an invoice to pay in Filipino pesos.


And you’re like, okay, so how do I do? And you have to make a money transfers, interest money transfer. So you had to create a new bank account in the Philippines and create a money transfers to be able to pay in pesos at the end.


So, that’s crazy if you think about it. So I understood that there was a need for an invoicing and payment technology because I see a blockchain as a bookkeeping technology and also as a more or less banking technology, but where bookkeeping and banking are merging.


So, yes, that would make sense and that makes sense today, actually, to have invoices that you can pay in any currencies while the vendor receives the currency he wants. And in this case there’s basically just a smooth transaction, smooth business transaction that’s making everyone happy.


And in addition to that, that is very good for let’s say consumers and businesses. In addition to that, I knew about corporate finance and I knew about bookkeeping rules or auditing rules. I’m going to give two examples.


In bookkeeping rules, for example, the accountants or CPAs. We’re talking about thousands of thousands of people. Their job, among others, is to make sure that every invoice is immutable. So you cannot delete an invoice, it’s forbidden. Right? It’s a pdf but you cannot delete it.


And they say, okay, if you want to, then you need to create a credit not that is basically the same invoice in negative, right? You create a duplicate. You just put a minus on it and then it’s okay and then you create a new one.


It’s crazy if you think about it, but blockchain is immutable. So blockchain makes invoices immutable. So basically, CPAs are paid to make things immutable by asking people to not delete the pdf. Now blockchain is doing it just with a code. So that’s a great solution.


And other than that, the auditing process, if you look at it, I’m company A in Switzerland and I’ve got a general audit by the authorities or by the auditors like Ernst and Young or PWC.


And company B also has an audit. So, what they do with the auditors is they’re going to look at everything in company A and then they’re going to try to understand if company B that has been working with company A also has got the same thing. Right?


So you’ve got 100K of revenues in company A, you should have those 100K of charges in company B. And this process is very manual, so they spend basically dozens of hours.


Some crypto companies even pay more than $1 million in audit fees every year. Many companies pay, in total, it’s billions of dollars that are being paid in audit fees just for people to look at different pieces of paper. So they print, they look at the right, they look at the left and say, okay, it’s good.


Well with blockchain technology there’s this concept of triple entry accounting. So, with triple entry accounting you can just trust that the data is in both companies because they have the same source. And in our case, the Request Network protocal is the same source. So that makes things much simpler.


It’s going to take years or even decades to make things happen, but things could become much more smooth. Accounting could become and will become real time. Auditing will also become real time, not manual anymore, just automate it and it’s basically something that Requests is building.

Nick (00:33:29):

It happens every once in a while on this podcast that I interview a guest where I’m using the product or the project that they’re talking about. And in this particular case, I’ve used Request quite a bit and so I’m familiar with the interface.


And I’ve always kind of had this observation that this solution is a critical piece for the industry. It almost allows for a lot of this ethos of web3 about going to work in web3 and earning a living in web3. It almost facilitates that because of this invoicing mechanism. Is that the way you and the team see it, as well?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:34:05):

So, it’s the very first step. So, it’s just the beginning. Today the experience is really smooth. People save hours of sometimes up to 30 or 40 hours a month.


But basically, when I started in crypto, I struggled so much with payments and admin stuff that I wanted to find a solution. And the first solution is to have this proper invoicing application where it takes you a few clicks, takes the CFO of the paying company, just a few clicks, as well. And you can get paid in two different currencies where the payer pays in a few different currencies of his or her choice.


So, that’s basically a good first option, probably the best in the market at the moment. There’s going to be other solutions as well, but still we have plans for a much better experience. It’s just going to take a long time. We need the resilience.

Nick (00:35:03):

What can you tell us about the team that you work with and where they’re located?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:35:07):

So, today there’s more than 30 people in the Request Finance team and they are from 14 different countries. So, we’re quite proud of this diversity. We are fully remote so we have talents from all over the world.


More than half the people are engineers and they are contributors to decentralized protocols like Request Network, like The Graph or Near Protocol. So, it’s definitely a great team.

Nick (00:35:39):

And I know you mentioned this just a moment ago, but I wonder if we could just go back and for listeners that are still trying to wrap their minds around exactly what we’re talking about, what are some of the primary use cases that you see for Request Network?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:35:53):

So, the first use case is being able to issue an invoice and get paid in crypto. So, we have listed 50 actually, so I want to explain the 50 different use cases. But another one is being able to pay many different invoices and have a perfect reconciliation when you pay in the cryptocurrencies.


There is also this use case of having immutable invoices, so therefore reputation, so payment reputation. There’s also the invoice financing use case where you would basically be able to receive your funds within seconds after having issued the invoice based on an algorithm, based on the pool of liquidity.


And basically, those first use cases are today, they are represented by Request Finance. So Request.Finance that is the primary builder on top of the Request Network. Another builder on top of the Request Network is Huma Finance for the invoice financing part that I just mentioned.

Nick (00:37:04):

50 use cases, that’s an impressive list. How do you see that changing over time? I mean if you forecast out, do you see more use cases or do you see the product evolving in the market?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:37:17):

There’s going to be more use cases, not fewer, and the product is going to evolve. So basically, of course the product is going to evolve because we make it evolve based on customer feedback. So it depends on their needs and their needs are evolving depending on the state of the product.


And at the same time, if you look at it to today, Request Finance is to Request Network what Consensus were to Ethereum. So Request Finance is an entity based in France. And Request Network is a foundation based in Switzerland.


The foundation’s goal is to have as many use cases as possible that are live with adoption and the Request Finance goal, same as Consensus, it’s still business. So, this product is going to evolve with its path as a company where the foundation is going to evolve.


And if you look at it today, Consensus and Ephereum are both very, very successful. So, I can only imagine that there’s going to be similar with a technology that is a bit less mature because it’s about finance invoicing, it’s a bit less mature than Ethereum technology, of course, but the very promising as well.

Nick (00:38:38):

I know you said competition is different in web3 and that there were some other potential solutions in the market. I’m just curious how you would position Request against competitors. How is Request different?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:38:51):

Request is basically open-minded and cooperative. So, we work on interoperability. We don’t want, so I think even if they were really competitors, so for example a company building is actually the same thing as Request Finance exactly the same. So, they would exactly compete with 100% the same thing.


Then there’s two choices. We are in the niche web3 industry and there is a web2 industry that is huge. Right? If we fight each other what’s going to happen? It’s bad for web3. Right?


So working together is even better, at least for now, at least for the next few years. Make the web3 point get bigger. And then after that we might just agree on the fact that some of the users are going to prefer the Request Finance experience and some are going to prefer another experience.


And by the way, if those two competitor that are duplicates were plugged on the Request Network, they would be interoperable. So, it’s great for the user experience.


So basically you, Nick as a client, you would basically issue an invoice in Request Finance and your client, if he has got Request Finance application or the competitive application, he’s able to pay it anyway. Right? Which is absolutely not the case if you’ve got a bank account with a different bank than mine, you cannot have interoperability between each other.


So, I think there’s a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of promises if we work together even with our potential competitors. And the Request Finance today is one of the leaders with the best invoicing and payment experience. There’s still a room for improvement, of course. There’s many products that we have that are in beta, like the expenses products, mobile app for employees to get reimbursed for their expenses like the escrow or payment streaming.


But it looks great in terms of adoption. So, we might basically launch live products very soon.

Nick (00:41:09):

Adoption’s something I want to ask you about because like I said, I’ve been a user, I’ve had experience with Request for a long time. And I’ve seen it grow, I feel like in some ways I watched it. What can you share about metrics or what you’re seeing in terms of adoption?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:41:25):

Yeah, so we are lucky to be in the right industry with the right product and with the right team, also with the right clients. So in 2022, and despite this bear market that we experience, we’ve got a double-digit monthly growth. So that’s basically yearly.


In terms of crypto payments, it’s five X. So we multiplied by five the total volume. So today, we are close to 30,000 payments for a bit more than 270 million in total. It’s great, something we are proud of because it shows a lot, shows that people trust the product.


There are good reasons to trust the product. It’s been a very stable one. And we helped transfer more than 100 currencies every month. With Medley, the one that businesses prefer are stable coins. So stable coins like USDC, USDT or Die, but also a few other cryptocurrencies like the Cent token, GRT token, Rec token, especially for when it’s being used by ecosystems like the Sandbox, The Graph or other ecosystems.

Nick (00:43:16):

So Chris, naturally a lot of listeners will be interested in knowing how Request actually makes money. So, what can you explain about that side of the business?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:43:25):

Yes, so Request Finance is different from Request Network. It’s Request Network to which Rec token is associated. So let me explain about Request Finance first and Request Network after that.


So Request Finance as a company is making money by charging per transaction. So for every invoice payment there’s a $2 fee and basically there are also limited fees for some premium features. So Request Finance does not make much money as the product needs to improve.


Basically, the goal is to add value for the clients first and eventually make revenues later. But the value is important. For example, we want to allow, and we’re going to do this in Q1 actually. We want to help companies pay in crypto when the vendor receives fiat on his or her bank accounts. And that’s something that has got a cost, we’re going to have to charge for that, otherwise it would not make sense. But of course we want to have a great experience first.


Then Request Network also gains something there for every payment Request update. So whether a payment Request is created, updated, so can be canceled or just approved or anything. Then the Request for protocol charges a rec fee and this rec fee is worth around 10 cents per update.


It’s a fee that is taken in the rec tokens and those recto accounts. So the pool of fees intend being burned, which is decreasing the token supply and that makes the rec token a deflationary currency based on adoption. So that’s basically what Vitalik did with Etherium that he spoke about in 2017 or something. And that’s what we put in place for the rep token.

Nick (00:45:27):

Are there any news or updates coming down the road that you’re excited about that you can share with listeners?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:45:32):

Yeah, so there are many, but the best way would probably be to follow Request Finance or even read the web3 C four guide that we just released. But we, among the many features and product that we have in the roadmap, there’s payments streaming, there’s the mobile app for crypto expenses, the secure escrow payments or crypto fiat with shared payouts. We can already help people test it if they want.


So there’s private betas for those features and products. Of course there’s those, they are very promising ones and I can’t wait very impatient about this. Quite enthusiastic.


We’re building things that don’t exist. So I was talking earlier about invoice financing, so the ability for someone to issue an invoice and when the invoice is broadcasted, so basically it exists on the blockchain, can claim the money in advance provided that there’s a fee being paid to the financier of course is brand new because today to get invoice factoring you need the three months and most banks will never accept that.


So that’s something we’ll put in place with a specific algorithm and that’s going to make it instant. It’s a revolution in the invoice banking industry. I just can’t wait and I hope there’s many people going to be helped by such solutions.

Nick (00:47:00):

Well, it’s all very exciting things and as I said, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences of my own interacting with the product and it’s become something that I use quite a bit. You in your marketing and branding mentioned that Request is built with the experience and help of a community of contributors. What does that mean and what has it been like building with a community?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:47:25):

I think for a startup to get it to product market fits, it’s not necessary to have a community of contributors, but after product market fits, the community is basically making everything better, driving awareness, bringing a lot of knowledge, information, intelligence. So it’s basically a great assets.


We’ve got two communities, if you think about it. There’s a committee of CFOs that are basically very close to being users of the product and there’s the community of the protocol of frequency protocol that is a committee that is quite smart and helping with a broader overview.

Nick (00:48:12):

You’ve mentioned a couple times The Graph and I wanted to know when did you first become aware of The Graph and do you remember what you thought about the project at the time?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:48:22):

Yeah, so I knew about The Graph for a very long time. I was happy to hear that the engineers in our team decided to use The Graph. I think that’s when I decided to buy some tokens. I was like, okay, good product.


And I understood that it was protocol that still needed more decentralization, but that’s a key for our payment detection ability. And I also understand why it was a bit the way it’s been built because basically starting in a more centralized way to have something efficient to get product market fit or protocol market fit thought makes total sense.


And then switching to a more decentralized protocol, which is a case today also makes sense. So I’m glad that such products exist. I think it’s one of the pillars in the space.

Nick (00:49:13):

Well, you mentioned there that Request uses a graph, which is super interesting. How do you use it and how important is it for what you do?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:49:20):

Yeah, yeah. So it’s basically important for the payment detection. So, basically if you pay today 200 invoices in one click on the Request Finance you are able to pay 200 invoices to 200 different contractors who are based in many different countries. And those payments happen in many different currencies. You do that in one click, so there’s some magic in it.


But then when you pay all those invoices, how do you detect the payments? And we initially had our own solutions and then we switched to The Graph because it’s more powerful in terms of payment detection and we basically added The Graph as a key component of our textile.

Nick (00:50:03):

Well I appreciate you sharing that. And as you know, a lot of my listeners are enthusiastic about The Graph. It’ll be very interested to learn how Request incorporates it into what you are doing. I have just a couple questions left for you and then I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10.


You’ve talked a lot about innovation and disruption today, and you’re doing it in a way that prior guests never have done. First question is about your vision for the future of De-Fi. What do you see when you look out and forecast what De-Fi might do or mean for the world?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:50:38):

Well, when Elon Musk started with SpaceX to talk about going to Terraform, Mars being able to live there, I was like, okay, what financial system would you put in place in a new planet? And I would put in place De-Fi system.


So I think in the system of the future, but right now there is competition on earth. So on earth I think there’s competition between CBDCs and De-Fi that one of the things that is showing a lot of uncertainties, they seem to be opposed to each other, but at the same time they could run together.


I hope that people will have enough power to reject CBDCs because it’s basically going to grant control and a lot of control to central banks, at least partially rejecting CBDCs probably means using Defi, but there’s also this option where Defi is the financial system. And on the financial system, CBDCs are running smoothly.


So you could imagine that stable coin built by a central bank would be running on Defi, so still controlled by the central bank. And at the same time having all the advantages of Defi. I still hope that it won’t happen. I still think that CBDCs are not good for the world, but that’s basically where I see the future.


I see that the Defi is going to be, is going to have an incredible mainstream future, and I hope that CBDC is not going to be too heavy there. And if it was, I still hope that it’s going to run in Defi.

Nick (00:52:32):

The other question I want to ask you is about innovation and paradigm shifts. And the question goes back to something you said earlier about how important the CFO role is to speeding up the growth of a firm. And that was one of the lessons you learned while working in Switzerland. And my question is, do you kind of see Request being that for crypto, is it that CFO role, so to speak, in speeding up the growth of the crypto industry?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:53:08):

So Request is helping compliance businesses to adopt design. So basically any company, any startup, and of course it’s CFO wanting to make things in a compliant way, so in line with the local and international regulations can use Requests and it’s going to improve this site. So this is helping of course, the adoption and we play a big role for the adoption of Defi by the businesses and for the adoption that is compliant that basically the web2 authorities are okay with.


And that’s probably a very good way to show in the near future that Request, the usage of replacements or the usage of the Requested protocol are key to an even better compliance than what we have in WA two today. Because I was talking earlier as immutability with blockchain, there is immutability, but the thing is in web2, the ways to verify that invoice really exists would be time consuming and it would basically not be efficient.


However, in the web3, you would be able to do all of that automatically. So if you basically envision the future with the Request plans playing a big role, you’ve got a perfectly compliant ecosystem of a Defi where there is no, there’s still encryption and there’s no control.


So there’s potentially a zero proofs. So the auditors won’t even be able to know what is the identity or anything, but they will be able to know that everything is compliant so that the best future that we can envision with Request playing a huge role. I hope this is going to be understood by the authorities.

Nick (00:55:10):

And my last question would be about advice. If you could go back in time and visit that small village in France where there’s just 500 people, but you’re one of them and you’re a young man, then you could find yourself and give yourself advice about the journey you’re about to go on as an entrepreneur and eventually leading to working a crypto and founding Request. What would be the advice you’d like to give your younger self?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:55:40):

So probably don’t take yourself seriously, not too seriously in a way that, yes, whatever we do is super important but not that important. So we need to be humble and still have greeds and be audacious. So that’s how I would sum up the fact that we should not take ourself too seriously.

Nick (00:56:09):

Well, Chris, now I’m going to ask you the G R T I Q 10. These are 10 questions I ask every guest of the podcast listeners love it. It’s a way for listeners to learn something new, try something different, or achieve more when they hear the answers of each guest every week to the GRTiQ 10. So are you ready for these questions?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:56:28):

Yes, I’m ready.


What book or article has had the biggest impact on your life?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:56:45):

Probably the book’s name is changing on the Job. It’s a book that explains the different levels of maturity of a human being. It makes the readers on the past path to gain in maturity. So basically I understood that we can be this level of maturity or a higher level of maturity and we’ve basically a higher level of maturity for everyone. We would have fewer conflicts, a better planet, less suffering, less poverty. So that’s basically something that, a book that I don’t understand why it’s not that well known, but the name is Changing on the job with a fish in a advance, undercover.

Nick (00:57:29):

Is there a movie or a TV show that you think everybody should be required to watch?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:57:34):

Absolutely not.

Nick (00:57:35):

If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:57:41):

Same answer going to end up with silence anyway. If I have only one, so I’m listening to so many different things, so I would choose a silence.

Nick (00:57:52):

What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:57:55):

The advice was you have only one reputation. It’s probably not the best advice in the world, but it’s something that lightened my perspectives. When I received this advice, I was very young and I did not understood it before, so it really helped.

Nick (00:58:15):

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know quite yet?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:58:21):

It’s probably linked with the fact that I come from a small village. So from a very focused perspective to having open man more open. The fact that for every problem, for every situation, there’s probably an infinite number of perspectives. You can view things differently all the time, even yourself, just put yourself in the shoes of someone else. You’re going to view things in a different world.

Nick (00:58:49):

What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:58:52):

Five years ago I cut notifications and started to read books instead, and it drived me to read more than 100 books a year. So I think those notifications are really the biggest position on earth right now.

Nick (00:59:07):

Based on your own life experiences and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how people find success in life?

Christophe Lassuyt (00:59:17):

Great. I’d say it’s gr. So this determination that some people have even the best example is Airbnb funders. They basically, they needed to keep going for their project, but they had no money, so they decided to sell servers to people who would live at their place. It’s crazy how much they really wanted to do it, and at the same time, they did not take themselves seriously. So grid does need a you to not take yourself too seriously, I think.

Nick (00:59:48):

And then the final three questions of the GT IQ 10 are complete the sentence type questions. So the first one is, the thing that most excites me about Web three is.

Christophe Lassuyt (00:59:58):

What most excites me about Web three, the freedom that the new web3 payment phrase bring to the world. For example, freedom that many Argentinians have now if they use stable coins.

Nick (01:00:12):

And how about this one? If you’re on Twitter, then you should be following

Christophe Lassuyt (01:00:15):

Request Finance.

Nick (01:00:16):

And the last question, I’m happiest when

Christophe Lassuyt (01:00:21):

The team learns and improves. I really feel good when people around me learn and improve, including myself.

Nick (01:00:39):

If people want to learn more about you, follow the things you’re working on, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch?

Christophe Lassuyt (01:00:45):

One of the best ways is LinkedIn and also Twitter. LinkedIn and Twitter. I’m quite present there.


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