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Magic Internet Money

One of bitcoin’s earliest promises was its potential use as an easy way to send money across borders. It promised to be ‘magic internet money’, and promised to do to value what the internet did to content and services.

Bitcoin is indeed a fast and easy way to transfer value, soaring untethered over boundaries of nation states and regulations, and the frictions imposed by rent seekers such as banks and other financial institutions. However the inherent volatility in the value of bitcoin when it hits terra firma and gets measured in terms of the dollar as a unit of account prevents its fullest expression as a means of remittance. The emergence of stablecoins provides an exciting alternative to traditional remittance mechanisms. As more and more stablecoin projects emerge, especially those denominated in non-USD currencies, we will see the money transfer industry get shaken up. In another ten years or so, like with some checking accounts, your money transfer service provider will have to incentivise you to use them and might even pay you a small amount, with increasing competition for monetisation opportunities around data overnight money markets and potentially with the emerging DeFi (distributed finance) crypto money markets.

In any event, our recently launched alpha of Fordex, the 0x-powered relayer, provides some nifty features. Among other things it is a crypto-powered (OK ‘blockchain’ powered) remittance engine that offers fast transaction confirmations in a low-cost manner. With more fiat-backed stablecoins likely to be launched in the next couple of years, the number of remittance corridors is only going to increase. Fordex currently supports USD to KRW (Korean Won) transfers through USDC, PAX, DAI and KRWb stablecoins. Fordex also provides fiat onramp from USD to USD stablecoins through the Wyre plug-in.

A sample USD to KRWb conversion might be as follows:

1.Use Wyre to convert fiat USD to DAI
2.Trade DAI for KRWb on ForDeX (we also provide markets for USDC/KRWb and PAX/KRWb)
3.Sell KRWb for Korean Won through fiat offramp on a Korean exchange

This is significantly better in terms of cost and time to other options that exist in this corridor, especially for transactions for smaller amounts.

Meanwhile in Crypto Wonderland….

“Opera Partners With Safello” Opera now lets Android users buy Ethereum’s Ether (ETH) cryptocurrency directly from its browser-based wallet. For the new service, Opera said it has partnered with regulated crypto brokerage Safello to provide the cash-to-crypto exchange. The feature allows payments with credit and debit cards, along with “trusted” payment networks including Swish in Sweden. At launch, ETH purchases are available only in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, however.

“Voyager Goes Public” Voyager, a cryptocurrency brokerage startup founded by veterans of Uber and E*Trade, is going public on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange through a reverse merger valued at $60 million. \New York-based Voyager Digital Holdings acquired UC Resources Ltd., a mineral exploration company that ceased operations in 2015, in an all-stock deal finalized earlier this week. The merged entity, renamed Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd., will begin trading on the TSX.

“Crypto Exchange Volume Lowest Since  2017” Trading volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges have dipped to new lows in January, according to an analysis published by Diar. Since the beginning of the year, digital currency exchanges have reportedly registered lower trading volumes, marking new lows that have not been recorded since 2017. Diar noted that it has turned out to be the worst period for Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, as its BTC/USD market reduced by more than 40 percent in comparison to December 2018.

“CZ on the New ETF Applications”During a live stream via Periscope, Changpeng (CZ) Zhao, CEO of Binance, said that he doesn’t think Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) “are core to our industry’s growth,”. CZ suggested that the cryptocurrency industry will grow with or without the launch of a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF. The CBOE’s, along with investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, has re-applied with the SEC for a rule change to list a Bitcoin ETF, after withdrawing their request the week before.

Crypto Twitter Pick

What We’re Reading / Listening To

Crypto bear market threatens to last as potential token supply weighs by Reuters

Simplifying Decentralized Exchanges featuring David Bleznak

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Ramani Ramachandran

Ramani Ramachandran (Ram) has close to two decades of experience across consulting, IT, product management, corporate development and investment banking across the US, Europe and Asia. Ram has a B.Tech from the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, a PGDM from the IIM Lucknow and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

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