Cryptocurrency, once an esoteric tech alien to everyone but the cypherpunks (aka crypto enthusiasts), is far entering into mainstream consciousness.
It stands to reason that cryptocurrency, and the blockchain tech that powers the whole ecosystem, have the ability to disrupt the modus operandi of many sectors and institutions.
One Singapore startup, Change, believes that the acceleration of blockchain will make banks obsolete — and it wants to lead the charge. Change wants to be the “Paypal of cryptocurrency”, meaning that in the future, consumers should be able to buy plane tickets or purchase coffee using cryptocurrency.
To accomplish this goal, it has launched an ICO campaign, which will end on October 16. To date, it has raised over US$15 million.
The Change team — consisting of primarily European entrepreneurs — is helmed by Kristjan Kangro, who is the former CFO of Southeast Asia-based VC Expara. Other members of the team include CTO Edgars Simanovski, and Artur , who is a partner at the company. Luhaäär is also the CEO and Co-founder of Singapore-based robo advisory platform Smartly,
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and interest in a truly transparent and crypto banking platform here in Asia. This is a clear message that there is an enormous appetite for a fintech player like Change Bank to help consumers bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ether, and conventional currencies like US dollars and Euros,” said Kangro.
e27 emailed Change to find out more about its tech, goals and plans.
Here is the edited excerpt:
Can you explain a bit more on the tech supporting the crypto wallet?
Change facilitates the storage of all major cryptocurrencies, easy management of crypto portfolios and the simple transfers of funds between peers. We’re also building a marketplace which will allow the addition of many other functionalities and services. We’ve designed a user experience which is clean, simple and secure.
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Security is absolutely paramount for us. Change’s crypto wallet is secured by applying the highest industry standards and works together with a leading wallet security provider to ensure the safety of funds. The funds are also secured by a combination of hot and cold storage solutions, which provides further layers of security. Cryptocurrencies held within the Change wallet and will only be converted into fiat currencies in real time at the point of payment.
Does Change only support bitcoin and Ether? Will it accept other cryptocurrencies as well? Will it accept real-world currencies too?
We believe that the bank of the future is one which is able to bring people together and facilitate payments, cross-border transactions, and access to financial services in any currency. We’re working hard to deliver a platform that supports both cryptocurrencies and conventional, fiat currencies such as US dollars and euros.
Change is launching in 2017 and will support major cryptocurrencies such as Ether and Bitcoin. In the near future, we will extend this to dozens of other currencies, and our very own Change Token (CAG).
What payment solution providers have you partnered up with?
We will announce these partnerships soon. We are certain that users will be able to make online and offline payments with Change Card anywhere in the world.
There is similar startup called TenX providing a similar solution. How do you differentiate yourself from them?
There are several projects out there with the goal of making cryptocurrencies spendable. Change goes one step further. We aim to replace the need for traditional banking institutions entirely.
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We make it easy to make payments and transfer funds in any currency. On top of that, we bundle the best financial services offered by top performing fintech companies globally, and the result is a sophisticated marketplace that simplifies payments, investing, credit, and insurance.
In which markets do you plan to roll this out? What is the timeline?
Change will be launched in December 2017, focusing on spending, managing, and transferring cryptocurrencies in an accessible way.
During the first quarter of 2018, we will roll out Change Marketplace to allow other FinTech partners to integrate their services with our platform. We are working with partners from all over the world to introduce the first fiat currencies in Change during 2018.
Are you able to disclose who the biggest investors are in this ICO?
One of our biggest investors and advocates is Roger Crook, a former CEO at DHL (currently CEO of Capital Springboard). Roger has been a key advisor, alongside NextMoney’s Rob Findlay, Indorse’s David Moskowitz, and several other names.
At the end of the day, the biggest investors are our community members. So far, over 5000 have contributed with a total of over US$15 million, and many of these are first-time investors of cryptocurrencies.
This highlights that there is a significant market for those who are new to cryptocurrencies and see the value in making finances easier, more transparent and accessible. We are extremely proud to have such a strong community supporting us and following our progress.
Image Credit: Change