I don't think you fully realize the revolution that is currently taking place. I certainly didn't until recently, and when I did, I decided I had to be part of it.
This article serves 2 main purposes:
First, share some super-distilled insights about crypto (and, inevitably, blockchain) from being these past few months neck-deep into it, and from my work running open innovation programs at IXL Center for some of the world's top companies, where the subjects of crypto and blockchain were, without exception, always in contention-- independent of industry. While some of these insights may seem obvious to some people, particularly those involved in this space, I hope it sheds some light for many in my network. I'll start by sharing three main 'not-so-obvious' items and if people like it, I can add to that list in future posts.
Second, I'd like to talk about my project DoWallet, how it came about, how it stemmed from the aforementioned insights, and excite potential partners and collaborators to join the good fight. This section also serves as an explanation to all of you messaging me, inquiring about my recently changed profile. I'd still be happy to connect one on one to tell you more about it, but I thought this would cover the bulk of it ;)
3 Obvious, But Not-So-Obvious Insights
1. Crypto is not equal to Bitcoin:
Whenever I talk about cryptocurrency most people automatically equate it with Bitcoin and we end up spending a lot of time addressing some inevitable questions and concerns about Bitcoin specifically: "But isn't it a scam?" "How do you value it?" "The price is crashing" "It's for drug dealers in the deep web," etc. etc... While Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, it is just the first of many cryptocurrencies to have been created and adopted. Like most pioneer products, it is not without its flaws. As a matter of fact, many in the crypto community question whether it can scale sustainably, whether it can truly be used as a means of everyday payments, and whether people should be using it as a store of value. Based on these shortcomings, other coins were created to address gaps and weaknesses, like Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash to accelerate settlement time and transaction costs, Ripple and Stellar Lumens to create more efficient settlement between financial institutions, Tether and the newly-announced Gemini stable coins that are pegged to the US Dollar to remove price volatility, and many many more implementations, each with their own intent and technical adaptations. The most surprising thing is the speed at which these forks happen and these improvements are adopted. More innovation happens in a month in this space than in the payments industry over a period of 10 years. So if you have to equate cryptocurrency with something, don't equate it with uncertainty, equate it with progress.
2. Banks are (rightly) really, really worried:
Crypto isn't about anonymity, it's about disintermediation. This is really what is at the heart of the movement-- not the ability to buy guns anonymously on Tor. Consumers are increasingly frustrated with a barrage of banking fees (checking account- $15 per month, incoming wire-$30, outgoing wire- $30, international transfer-$30 plus F/X rate plus 3-5 business days). Merchants often suffer in having to pay for pricey POS equipment and up to 3% transaction fees to accept credit cards, only to receive their funds in 2 to 25 days, depending on their country. The early adopters of crypto see it as a means of taking ownership of their finances- a way to become their own bank! Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville from Goldman Sachs-backed Circle put it really elegantly on the Unchained podcast when they said that charging to transfer money from one party to another is a thing of the past, and their vision that this business will be completely commoditized. Another piece of banking that is under risk is the public offering of securities (IPOs), exchange of securities, and the overall custody of these securities. With ICOs (initial coin offerings) legitimate companies like Miami's own Kairos can raise money (more than $10MM so far) from public markets quickly and cheaply. The SEC has already stepped in to regulate ICOs after 2017's bonanza, but its intent is not to quash the framework-- just protect the American investor. Therefore, I would expect to see large, brand-name companies choosing to go public using this avenue in the next few years.
3. The Crypto Wallet is the next paradigm in asset ownership:
No longer do consumers need to pay intermediaries to hold, move, and access their capital and assets (bank accounts, company stock, bonds, etc.). No longer do businesses need to give payment processors a big share of their revenues and wait for days for their funds. Instead, consumers and businesses, alike, can have full control of their assets with a decentralized ledger where trust is built into the network (blockchain). Consumers will be able to seamlessly pick and choose financial products and services from various vendors from all over the world rather than being limited to a savings and checking account within their banks' limited ecosystems. From credit cards to loans to investments, disintermediation will help keep more money in people's pockets and give an opportunity for the unbanked to participate in a global economy. The client-side Crypto Wallet, where users have full control over their private keys, today is a repository for cryptocurrencies, security tokens (that represent real world securities or assets), and utility tokens (that enable specific digital interactions). The Crypto Wallet is also a mechanism to send and receive currencies of all kinds. Our vision is that the next generation Crypto Wallet will also focus on building the connectors to innovative digital financial products and real world services to help consumers and business truly use the blockchain as it was meant to be used-- to do more.
Lo and behold, DoWallet, my new venture. We see it as a borderless bank. A global tool that is as useful for the unbanked in Africa as it is for the 1st world consumer who wants to take ownership of his/her assets. It is a client-side crypto wallet that is global but also regionalized, connected to the services that are most relevant to you and compliant with your local regulations. We have built an incredible team so far in stealth mode in the heart of Miami, which we will announce soon in our soon-to-be activated site. Every day we are lining up new partnerships that enable exciting real world connections and we are planning to launch an invite-only Beta program in December 2018.
If you're interested in hearing more, collaborating, or signing up for the Beta, please message me here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org