Senior product designer / cryptocurrency investor
In the last few years, there have been many instances where Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have been accepted as a form of currency and payment.
In the past months, it's clear that global adoption is in play as proven by the plethora of applications and institutions that have embedded crypto assets as a new asset class and form of payment.
In particular, the financial industry has emerged as the most successful frontier for crypto adoption. This development is due to the growing suites of decentralized and centralized crypto banking solutions designed to enable innovative and cheap service delivery systems.
Owing to the explosiveness of crypto fintech, it has become clear that cryptocurrency will play a major role in the shaping of future monetary orders.
This argument takes into account the recurring struggles of the traditional financial system to resolve agelong issues. There is no guarantee that existing monetary and banking architectures are suitable for an increasingly digitized global economy. Instead, we need a suite of services that can penetrate even the most obscure regions and propel them to a level playing field along with established economies.
This crypto frenzy has spurred regulators across the globe to introduce laws and regulations to stay ahead of developments in this terrain. Therefore, financial institutions have begun to shed some of their skepticism regarding crypto’s viability and are actively looking to incorporate it in various ways. In fact, many of the centralized exchanges around the world are still searching for their strategies by these emerging new technologies and regulatory rules that never had the flexibility to address the adoption of newer technologies.
One of the companies that has keyed into this paradigm shift is iWave Advanced Research doing business as Global Trade Exchange or globatradex, a Philippine-based financial technology company focusing on integrating innovative tools for advanced and seamless trading and banking processes. According to an announcement released recently, the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), an ecozone located in the Philippines, has issued an exclusive license to iWave Advanced Research Group, Inc. (“iWave”), to operate a digital asset exchange. With this, iWave now has regulatory backing to manage a digital asset trading platform tailored for global investors. It can also accredit, access and participate in the operation of decentralized exchange platforms that will serve as the stepping stone to more mainstream exchange listing and participation.
The licensee states that iWave, through its operations as GTX, can help foreign investors issue digital assets, earn yields on their crypto holdings, and access funds through collateralized digital assets.
In light of this development, I sought more insight into the workings of iWave and the effects that its newly approved exchange would have on (FAB) and Asia at large. Below are excerpts of the interview I had with one of iWave’s co-founders Ramon C. Garcia who has over 25 years of experience bringing forward disruption models to the Capital Market, Government, and Financial Services space throughout the Philippines and Asia Pacific region. Ramon is also the Co-founder and Chairman of DFNN, a publicly traded financial services technology company at the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Edward Moon: Like 2020, the new year promises dynamic changes in consumer behavior and financial trends. Which trends would have significant impacts on proceedings in 2021?
Ramon C. Garcia: Amid the current economic, financial, and social uncertainties; exacerbated by the COVID pandemic; it is clear that the current geopolitical models have systemic vulnerabilities that are not built to deal with the growing global crisis.
Quantitative easing is causing the devaluation of global currencies. Policy restrictions within and between countries is causing large scale capital flight. Unemployment brought about by the pandemic is causing social unrest across nations. These are just a few examples of the problems we face today.
We need policies and systems that would offer better alternatives than the existing financial and capital markets have to offer as these problems are what contributed to the problem in the first place. Moreover, more nimble, not necessarily iWave solely, will continue to change the whole Financial Industry models.
The difference with iWave is our recognition servicing the current traditional Financial Institutions and thus gaining historical trust while forging ahead in disruptive technologies and regulatory environments which are backed by legitimate sovereign nations with large economies and geographically relevant to the largest growth economies of the world.
Edward Moon: Since you and your company focus on identifying financial paradigms and providing support for businesses and individuals to capitalize on them, how is iWave positioning itself to deliver services suitable for the fast-evolving global economy?
Ramon C. Garcia: Three events will occur. The first is the migration of tokenized value. The second is the custody and storage of value. And the third is the exchange of value. We are now in the first stage and GTX intends to facilitate this process under the mandate and protection of AFAB which is protected under the constitutional laws of a sovereign nation.
We believe that both decentralized and centralized systems can complement each other to achieve the above-mentioned. We can leverage each system’s strengths and weaknesses. That is what we at iWave intends to achieve - a marriage or synergy between the two and a bridge from the traditional to the cutting edge.
Edward Moon: From your viewpoint, is cryptocurrency a sustainable financial order?
Ramon C. Garcia: The question here is not if cryptocurrency is sustainable but if the current traditional systems are sustainable in the midst of the uncertainty and instability it has created throughout the world. Can we continue with the current system or do we embrace the unequivocal benefits of distributed ledger technology to adapt and evolve? This is still the industry that is controlled by the horse carriage makers prior to the advent of the Ford Model T or the launch platforms controlled by NASA, Russia, and China before the success of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and soon Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin.
Edward Moon: iWave is taking up a pivotal role in the ongoing crypto renaissance in Asia. Would you mind sharing with us the details of your newly licensed GTX exchange?
Ramon C. Garcia: Our value proposition is simple. GTx enables enterprises to raise capital and gain access to credit in a regulation light environment complemented by tax incentives to further strengthen any business. The trading of asset classes will also now slowly be centered in Asia itself which is the largest growth region in the globe as well as a large consumer across various asset classes and eager to leapfrog to the latest technologies. For example, the largest user and consumer of Commodities is Asia, and it’s hard to imagine why trades should be geographically done in London or Chicago.
Edward Moon: What is the suite of services you intend to offer to registered foreign investors in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB)?
Ramon C. Garcia: We have 3 basic services. The first has to do with those who wish to participate in our exchange as broker-dealers under the authority of AFAB. With this, our broker-dealer and exchange clients may operate under our license and extend such services to their respective client and investor base.
The second service is in the issuance of digital assets. Companies and projects may issue assets in our exchange to raise funds, which then may be held in liquidity pools to earn yield or actively traded in the open market by our investor base. This can be applied to traditional assets and with newer synthetic versions of it riding on distributed ledger technology.
The third service is availing of credit on these assets which is done through our yield platform and lending engine. Both will be available on decentralized and centralized versions.
I believe the most significant application of all of the above shall have real-life applications as you can conduct these activities in a zero or near-zero tax environment under the protection and privacy as being a registered entity of Iwave and possibly AFAB and be respected and protected under a sovereign nation soon to have a population of 150 million people allowing us to grow the talent pool as well as bring in the relevant talent needed via special long term investor visas which would even cover their families.
Edward Moon: How does this impact FAB as an economic zone?
Ramon C. Garcia: This impacts AFAB significantly as GTX represents a complement to AFAB’s ecozone benefits as it enables all registered operators to raise funds via our GTX asset digitization platform under the authority of AFAB. It also enables operators and projects to avail of credit on the assets that they hold and issue.
Imagine living in a tax-friendly and privacy-friendly environment where you can raise capital and avail of real-time credit. That is our simple value proposition with AFAB. We believe this simple message addresses the basic needs of everyone in this new normal.
Edward Moon: When should we expect GTX to go live and who will it serve?
Ramon C. Garcia: GTX goes live in the mid- 2021 for both its centralized and decentralized models exchanges and DeFi platforms. The platform shall serve foreign clients, excluding any Philippine company, individual or entity.
Edward Moon: Apart from this particular offering, what other way is iWave incorporating innovative technologies for improved banking and trading operations?
Ramon C. Garcia: One of the innovations we intend to launch is by enabling projects and companies to function as continuous organizations sourcing liquidity from a token bonding curve while being able to issue governance tokens that may be openly exchanged in the GTX platform.
In simple terms, this will allow customers to function as investors and to participate in providing credit and liquidity to all projects within GTX and its sister DeFi exchanges. In exchange, liquidity providers will receive yield in the form of governance and utility tokens as it relates to the project. This, of course, is just one among many ways by which we will be executing our mandate from AFAB.
Edward Moon: Are there plans to expand iWave beyond the Philippines in 2021?
Ramon C. Garcia: We are reaching other jurisdictions through broker-dealers and exchange partners. We are only issuing 200 trading rights of which most are spoken for already. We anticipate this to fill up quickly by the first quarter of 2021.
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