2017 was the year of BITCOIN, ETHEREUM and other Cryptocurrencies. Before 2017, cryptocurrencies and their knowledge had remained within the confines of a limited few geeks and a few tech forums on certain social media platforms. Last year Cryptocurrencies arrived on a bigger canvas with a bang and revealed its potential as an asset class capable of creating wealth for the common masses (The internet has exciting stories of many a BITCOIN millionaires). The exponential growth also brought sudden media attention triggering massive investment interest within people who don’t even necessarily understand the underlying block chain technology.
To put this in perspective — the total bitcoin trade in 2016 was 5.05 Billion USD and it jumped to 72.47 Billion USD in 2017. That’s exponential!
It also triggered a debate and divide in society, some believing cryptocurrencies are a bubble which is bound to burst one day while others believe that this asset class will only grow further now that the market correction is almost over. I personally belong to the category of believers. With a current combined market cap of USD 250 Billion, BITCOIN, ETHEREUM and other cryptocurrencies have proven beyond doubt that the they and the underlying block chain technology are here to stay.
Having said that now let’s come to the various platforms that are available today for a trader/investor to buy-sell cryptocurrencies. The most common method for traders/investors to trade is through centralized exchanges which in 2017 constituted 96.6% of the total BITCOIN trade globally. The other option is through peer to peer platforms. In the current form in which these platforms are available, both have their pros and cons. From the perspective of a trader/investor the current issues/concerns that act as a deterrent to trading of cryptocurrencies include :
1. Security Concerns: To be able to trade on centralized exchanges, one needs to either leave their cryptocurrencies on the exchanges which is a highly risky proposition (because the user is not in control of the private keys making the exchanges prone to hacking attacks) or one has to constantly keep transferring the coins back and forth from a secure wallet (thereby having to pay additional mining fee).
2. Regulatory Uncertainty: Many countries around the world still have regulatory uncertainty when it comes to trading of cryptocurrencies. In some countries governments have exhibited knee jerk reactions and shut down centralized fiat to crypto exchanges. In these countries the trade however continues to flourish either through P2P platforms or through localized social media platforms.
3. Complexity: Currently while the market has many crypto to crypto exchanges, there are very few Crypto to Fiat exchanges out there. And the ones available have a complex on-boarding process and user interface making the whole experience unfriendly and daunting.
As a trader or investor, one would by happy if everything could be done from the comfort of the wallet itself without having to shuffle around one’s digital assets from one exchange to another. How much it would simplify the life of the traders/investors! The good news is that BITFIA LABS is one such company which has thought through these challenges and is building its PINT product suite keeping in mind its core philosophy of bringing the block chain technology to the masses. In other words, they are working to bring the equivalent of UBER in the block chain/crypto space. Couple of months back BITFIA LABS had launched its multicurrency wallet PINT, which undoubtedly is among the best in class wallets in the market today. What strikes one about PINT is its simple and intuitive use interface.
The PINT team is now busy building PintP2P — the decentralized peer to peer marketplace which would be seamlessly integrated within the PINT wallet and make the life of traders/investors much easier than it is today. One will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies without first having to transfer them to another platform which is centralized (making your coins vulnerable to hacking). In PintP2P your coins stay secure in your PINT wallet (of which you have the private keys) till the trade is not initiated and confirmed by both parties. Based on insider information, the PintP2P should be launched by the first week of September this year. From the interaction with the team, I know for sure that PintP2P will take the crypto-users’ experience to the next level.
- DISCLAIMER: I am one of the Early Backers of BITFIA LABS the company behind PINT wallet and PintP2P.