Since the launch of bitcoin in 2009 it has become clear that blockchain technology offers significant advantages over existing value transfer systems. The power of this new technology is far-reaching, though it is still in its relative infancy and the many benefits have not yet been realised.
Bitshares, an established 2.0 cryptocurrency platform, is well positioned to disrupt traditional financial services. It features an open and resilient network, fast confirmation times, diverse core and third-party services and (unlike bitcoin) aligned incentives among stakeholders. The core of the Bitshares platform comprises of several layers:
• Secure network, robust against attack and with no single point of failure.
• Open ledger, transparent and auditable in real time by anyone.
• Virtual bank/stock exchange, with ultra-low entry barriers – the Uber of finance.
• User-Issued Assets, designed for crowd-funding or raising equity in return for a stake in a business.
• Means of governance. Changes and developments are decided democratically by Bitshares holders, with voting weighted according to stake.
• Self-sustaining economy. A proportion of transaction fees are set aside to fund further development based on proposals by the community.
The appeal to business
Numerous businesses have already been attracted by these diverse and powerful features. These include applications in the music, gambling and gaming industries, as well as marketing tools such as tip-bot company Sharebits and exchange tools like Electrons.io. Chief amongst the applications built on Bitshares is OpenLedger: a trustless and decentralised exchange that prioritises speed, security and user control as well as compliance. OpenLedger is the lynch-pin of many further initiatives and the de facto exchange for the Bitshares ecosystem, hosted at CCEDK, its Danish registrar.
OpenLedger and the debitcard
One of the potentially most powerful collaborations in the Bitshares ecosystem coming up in near future is OpenLedger’s integration with the special debitcard provided by the universal crypto service provider CoinsBank: a crypto-enabled debit card. Whilst OpenLedger provides the mechanisms for the transmission of digital money, the crypto debitcard provides the interface with the fiat money system, enabling cash withdrawal from ATMs, purchase at point-of-sale terminals and online.
Crypto holdings are withdrawn in real-time from the user’s OpenLedger account as they are spent. This approach combines the low fees on cross-border transfers, speed, security and convenience of cryptocurrency with the utility and acceptance of a regular debit card. This ability to ‘bank the unbanked’ has huge implications for the remittance industry.
It is possible already now to test this form of real-time user experience on CoinsBank platform itself, and is expected in the fall of 2016 or early 2017 to be implemented as a valuable added service to all the future users of OpenLedger, as well. It is expected in this way to be able to withdraw cash via ATM supported by the main SmartCoins of OpenLedger like BitUSD and BitEUR as well as the main user issued assets like OBITS, BTSR and ICOO, and ofcoure BitShares (BTS) itself.
The remittance market
The remittance industry is riven with problems. These disproportionately affect poorer people, and particularly migrant workers in emerging economies sending money home to their families in low-income countries. The problems can be summarised as follows:
• Middlemen. The current system forces users to trust various intermediaries, who often provide a poor service.
• High costs. Middlemen take a commission, but there are also bank charges to be paid. Flat fees can account for as much as 15% of the total amount of a low-value transfers. This could add up to a year’s worth of school fees, healthcare, or investment into infrastructure and other vital services.
• Untrusted agents. Users often have no recourse for delays, inefficiencies, loss or outright theft of their funds.
• Lack of documentation. Many migrant workers lack the documentation required to access official remittance channels.
• Infrastructure issues. Network coverage problems and access to banking facilities in the recipient country are further pain points.
Give its peer-to-peer nature, Bitshares can do for banking what torrents have done for sharing data. This has global implications, but especially for countries such as India as a typcal example, where the number of internet users is almost equal to the entire population of the US. Almost 200 million people use mobile internet.
Employing technology that can scale rapidly, OpenLedger and CCEDK are in a strong position to take a bite out of the $600 billion remittance market, and much else besides. They are already involved in a broad range of projects that span from finance to gaming, gambling to music.
Key target markets and opportunities for the immediate future include crowd-funding, freelancer payments and salary dispersal. In each case, there is much to be gained from the low-cost access to banking facilities offered by the Bitshares platform, as well as the fast payments and traceable and auditable nature of the blockchain. These offer an unprecedented ability to combat the fraud and inefficiencies inherent in existing systems.
The industry is ripe for disruption. Underpinned by Bitshares, CCEDK and OpenLedger who have built a solid foundation that can scale rapidly for a growing userbase, offering a sea-change in the way the world accesses banking facilities as well as significant returns for investors.
Good way to actively grow your investment in OpenLedger and any other of the ecosystems based on OpenLedger and BitShares:
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Or buy directly on the OpenLedger markets in BTS or BTC: