Innovation Analyst and Consultant
The crypto winter is among us. It’s freezing cold outside, but you’re getting cozy in your home, preparing for the holidays and getting comfortable with the idea, that the Bitcoin savings you’ve got last Christmas melted away.
Worry not, we got you covered with exciting interviews from Berlin, with SatoshiPay (German blockchain pioneers building on Stellar, joined Rent24 this year), Rent24 (Coworking space with its own cryptocurrency and a focus on the blockchain community) and MXC (IoT & blockchain startup who crashed it with their ICO in 2018).
Grab your hot chocolate and last year’s HO-HO-HODL sweater and enjoy the interview below.
Pavel: SatoshiPay is one of the pioneers in Berlin’s blockchain space. How do you perceive the recent crypto winter and the current state of the blockchain adoption?
Meinhard: First of all, I am not really surprised by it. The months leading up to December 2017 were built on hype and FOMO. People who did not understand a single thing about the value proposition of Blockchain suddenly invested large amounts of money. This is never a good thing.
However, the price inflation was important for the Blockchain space as a whole. Many projects were able to raise significant amounts of capital in that time, which allowed them to fund their operations up to today. I believe we wouldn’t have seen the amount of capital that we saw, been poured into Blockchain if only traditional financial actors had been at work.
In other words, the hype was essential to finance a lot of the fundamental research that has been going in the last year. Today, we’re very close to seeing the first large-scale applications built on Public Blockchains. I am thinking about our own company and the Stellar network of course, but I also look with a lot of excitement at what is happening in the Ethereum community.
Pavel: SatoshiPay is one of the most prominent use cases of the Stellar infrastructure. Which other Stellar projects should we look out for?
Meinhard: Stellar.org’s focus is very much on financial transactions. Stellar lets you create an account and send money anywhere in the world for virtually nothing and in a matter of seconds. Moreover, Stellar has built a Decentralized Exchange natively into the chain that allows anyone to submit orders and trade assets.
StellarX is one project that I like, that is essentially a user-friendly interface allowing end-users to interact with the DEX in order to buy and sell lumens, fiat, commodities and many other assets issued on the Stellar Network, at no cost. The potential is huge.
Obviously, these features are also very interesting for other financial actors like money remittance companies. Tempo, for instance, a french remittance company, is using the Stellar Network to streamline their back-office operations and save costs. Through Tempo’s website or branch network, anyone in Europe can send money to the Philippines without prior knowledge of Blockchain and at a fraction of the costs of traditional remittance companies.
To summarize, for the projects I just mentioned, Stellar is the best platform out there because it’s inexpensive, fast and technologically mature. There are currently tons of projects of this kind being developed on Stellar even by big corporates like IBM. For more sophisticated use cases, let’s say a decentralized version of Facebook, Ethereum or other Blockchains may be more appropriate.
Pavel: In July you dropped the news about the IPO plans on London Stock Exchange’s AIM. Why do you go for an IPO instead of an ICO?
Meinhard: I don’t think every Blockchain project needs its own token. In our case, we didn’t want the publishers using our micropayment solution to face price volatility and enforce a token on them that could only be used in our ecosystem.
In fact, we are even planning to switch from Lumens, Stellar’s native token, to fiat pegged tokens like the Euro-Token to take out the volatility risk for publishers and consumers. That means that the price of the “credits” readers buy to pay for publisher content will remain stable as will publisher revenues.
With the ICO option being off the table, we looked at traditional fundraising options and decided to go for an IPO.
Pavel: Ghadi, what excites you about the blockchain technology?
Ghadi: First of all, it offers transparency and a wide range of user-cases it can be adapted to. As rent24 is not just a coworking provider but also have a strong focus on technology. By using blockchain we can adapt it to all the other concepts we have in our ecosystem and give our members a more unique experience when using our facilities or collaborating with other members.
Pavel: This year you launched Primary, a business network with a native token. Who can use Primary, which value does your network provide and why do you need a token for this?
Ghadi: We have over 50 locations worldwide and more than 40.000 members. These members will be able to connect, interact and exchange knowledge and tasks. What makes it exciting is the fact that they can use the tokens earned both within and outside our ecosystem through our own payment system we have already started to roll out.
Pavel: With the crypto winter among us it’s harder than ever to succeed at ICO campaigns and community building. What is your advice for blockchain startups in 2019?
Ghadi: The community element is the most important focus point if you are to gain trust from both investors and future users. Focus on what you are good at and know that ICO is not always the way you need to go in order to succeed with blockchain or as a startup in this industry. A good use case which solves a problem is much more important and you can then have more options on how you want to raise your funds.
Pavel: Aaron, with MXC you’re offering an LPWAN based IoT solution for smart business. Which use cases of IoT in enterprise environments are the most tangible from your experience?
Aaron: IoT is still in its infancy. However, it offers wide spawning advantages for businesses, cities, and individuals. The term “IoT” has a lot of applications which of course then lead to general confusion on what IoT is and how it can benefit society as a whole.
At MXC our initial focus is on “Smart City” implementation of our “MXProtocol” and Global IoT Standard. Strategically we’re working hand in hand with Smart Cities, which is an area we feel we can have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time on the wider community.
Pavel: As the crypto markets were going down this year you smashed it with your ICO. What’s your secret?
Aaron: I think it’s fair to say that we witnessed a market change in relation to market speculators. However, this doesn’t undermine the technology we are working on. We’ve all witnessed similar reactions during the dot-com phase and look where we many of those powerful companies stand today.
MXC has always been solution oriented, determined to solve issues facing data transmissions, improving device-to-device communication. So, I’m not sure it’s a secret per se, I’d simply say, you must stand for a purpose, communicate this purpose to your investors and allow them to understand your vision. If your investors and supporters truly understand your vision it will see you thrive during times when others struggle.
Pavel: What do you think about the recent crypto winter? What are the most important trends to watch in blockchain in 2019?
Aaron: Put simply I believe 2019 will be all about implementation. I welcome the current market, it sorts out the projects with longevity and those who never had a chance of implementation. The next step for Blockchain is all about developing common Global “Standards” this is something we are focusing on in 2019. Delivering our MXProtocol and ensuring implementation delivers benefits to people and business alike. If you can’t gain Blockchain implementation in 2019 your days are already numbered!
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