One of the biggest mainstream criticisms of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is the lack of everyday use cases. Recently, credit card companies have made it more challenging to buy and transact using cryptocurrencies. Despite these hurdles, innovative companies are creating technologies that will make everyday transactions possible. Some rely on special ecosystems and marketplaces. Others partner with companies that make transactions capable.
One company, Tip Blockchain, connects users over peer-to-peer networks and merchants with payment solutions, making it easier than ever to transact using cryptocurrency. Using a wallet interface, people will be able to communicate and transact with each other directly on the platform.
To learn more, Tip’s Chief Strategist, Garlam Won, gave us some insight into his background, practical advice and lessons in crypto, and Tip’s mission to make crypto easier.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started in blockchain?
My name is Garlam Won. Before blockchain, I was floating in different industries, including Investment Banking at JP Morgan and various different management consulting companies including Deloitte. I fell into the blockchain world when the current founder introduced me to Bitcoin. I put some money in and watching it grow made me more curious about what this was about.
On one of my vacations, I had this 25-hour long flight from Canada to Vietnam so I loaded up my iPad with a Blockchain book and after reading digital gold, and seeing how bitcoin got to where it is now, I became obsessed/fascinated by this communal way of creating value on the internet.
2. What was the inspiration behind Tip? How did it all start?
Our founder, John Warmann, had been in cryptocurrency for some time. He realized users had to overcome a steep learning curve to use crypto. This is something most users end up getting used to and take for granted. What people do not realize is that you are not going to get the average person sending “money” or something of value by copying and pasting a 40 character hexadecimal cryptographic hash. That concept is foreign to the average non-technical person, and that is a huge blocker to mainstream adoption. John saw this as a missing link and as a huge opportunity to solve some of the less talked about problems in the space.
I had this horrible experience of losing my ETH because I sent it to a wrong address. When John came to me with an idea to simplifying crypto use in the real world using mobile interface, I knew we were solving a problem that will eventually take crypto to the mainstream.
Blockchain is hard.
Think about this for a second. While you were typing Google.com on your address bar, when is the last time you thought about whether your network is IPv4 vs IPv6, or had to worry about whether LinkedIn’s API will accurately fetch your credentials from their database. Dating, taxi, and renting movies; these industries have been completely transformed in the last few years by companies like Tinder, Uber, and Netflix that blindingly simplified the user experience.
The blockchain space is currently littered with projects and functionalities that make it hard for the average user to understand, let alone use, the technology. Mainstream adoption will only be possible once people are free from checking their address 5 times, character by character before they can send money to themselves.
3. What is your competitive advantage?
Our competitive advantage is our focus. Our focus on real-world use cases and powering mainstream adoption by utilizing blockchain technology in ways that have not been done before.
A) Making real-life use of crypto easy – Right now we have this very complex and backward process of how we transfer crypto between people, let alone trying to use it in the real world (i.e. long addresses, nerve breaking checks and copy and pasting, going from my wallet to sending the address via chat medium to another person’s wallet). This process is not usable in day-to-day life and that’s why we decided to make this process simpler and painless for our users by dissolving it into something that people are familiar with and an intuitive way of sending and receiving value on the internet.
B) Integrating easy-to-use mobile payment with crypto – Mobile payment is going to be the way of life for everyone in the near future (just look at what WeChat has done in China, creating a totally cashless society). We thought mobile payment is the perfect partner and platform to go with a technology like cryptocurrency because it allows the currency to be global and liquid from the start. In a world where every asset including houses, land, and labor is being digitized, our project is trying to prepare ourselves so that eventually global transaction of every aspect of our lives can be accomplished with our currency via mobile payment (starting with ease of using it offline, of course).
C) Discovery of information, creating an information-rich network – Right now, blockchain is inherently a black box which means we can’t see the data that’s in there. All we have is a series of seemingly random addresses and transaction hashes flying about. There is no way to discern meaningful information from looking at data on today’s blockchain networks. This is the highlight of our competitive advantage. Our vision is to store relevant information alongside accounts and transactions, in a way that makes them discoverable, accessible, and actionable. For example, you will not only have an account as an address, but you could attach an identity to it. You will not only have a transaction hash but information like who is the payment from, what is it for? The possibilities are endless.
D) Mobile payment is perfect for the discovery of offline data because it is so much more than things like Apple Pay. Mobile payment is much richer than just having a card in your phone. It means you are able to easily send money from one person to another. It means businesses can directly interact with their customers in a timely and relevant manner using one platform. It means building an ecosystem where you can get creative with money and how it’s used like just-in-time promotions based on real-time purchase information or being able to interact with the relevant customers based on the target location, preference, and demographic information.
And this is what Tip is trying to accomplish: a comprehensive ecosystem built upon discovery where users can not only transact easily across international borders but also interact with other users and businesses in meaningful ways.
4. What is the biggest problem currently in the market?
Due to horrible user experience and lack of use cases of crypto, we are playing in a crypto trading bubble. We need to start integrating crypto with real-life use cases so that it can branch out into other applications in our world. This is also feeding the volatility because the value of it does not depend on anything else but people’s sentiment.
5. What does 2018 have in store for you guys?
2018 is a big year for us. It is the year we launch our token sale. It is the year we launch our first decentralized app, Kasakasa: A chat wallet app that will make using cryptocurrency in the real world a whole lot easier.
It is also the year where we spend significant effort in acquisition and building the community so people can start testing and using our product between peer to peer as well as experimenting it in real-world shops.
6. Is there anything else you would like the world to know?
Internet gave us the ability to share information with strangers, but we are not done yet. Our world runs on businesses and us being able to provide service to one another. Even though we can share information with strangers, we still can’t do businesses with them because we rely on our traditional method of building trust and having to like the person. This is very limiting because we are biologically limited to meet a certain number of people per week and build trust with them. Cryptocurrency will automate this trust phase of the business and we’ll be living in a world where we can do business not based on relationships but based on pure value.
This will create global hyper-liquidity world where everyone is trading everything globally, 24/7. We believe that by creating easy-to-use cryptocurrency built upon discovery of offline data of real world, we can become one of the main players in this world.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.