Where We’ve Come and Where We’re Going - Universal Wallet to Fiat Gateway

Hey Ethos Fam!

Just a little over one year ago, Ethos, or Bitquence at the time, was a small project with just a few team members on an audacious mission to revolutionize the financial sector using the capabilities of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The company was founded on a single premise — that financial services should be made open, safe and fair for everyone.

One year later, the company has grown to over 60 team members spread across 8+ different countries and has released its first product, The Ethos Universal Wallet. The Universal Wallet was built 100% on Ethos Bedrock, a scalable, high-powered API set that has been engineered to make blockchain protocols as easy to use as internet protocols and provides the foundation for countless other sophisticated financial services applications including the Fiat Gateway.

The Universal Wallet has been extremely well received with over 40,000 users on the platform a few days after global iOS release and an average of over 1000 new users a day joining in the days following without any paid marketing spend. The architecture has been remarkably stable handling nearly 200,000 transactions with only minor scaling issues handled by the team and the app has been well received on the google play/app store with 4.7/4.8 stars respectively. The fundamentals of the Ethos platform have never been stronger.

A Return to the Roots of Crypto

The original vision of Bitcoin was to enable a currency that was decentralized, returning to people the fundamental right to hold and exchange their own currency.  This vision has the potential to blow open the doors of global commerce and drop international barriers, sowing the seeds for a new generation of abundance and prosperity.  At Ethos, we believe that a decentralized, safe and self-custodied digital vault is the backbone of this vision.  That is why we put an intense amount of effort into a scale architecture that could enable people to store and exchange a wide variety of digital assets.

But… When Fiat Gateway?

But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy with the Fiat Gateway! We’ve heard you loud and clear and we haven’t been idling around. A lot of work has being happening in the background to make this happen as the Fiat Gateway is one of the defining features of what we see as an inclusive financial services ecosystem and is a crucial piece of the second phase of the Ethos Platform.

That being said, the “Fiat Gateway” is not a single product, but a rolling set of features that will collectively create the BEST fiat solution we can for investing in crypto and traditional assets. We’ve divided these up into 5 separate stages that we will cover in detail.

The Skateboard Development Methodology

One trend that you will notice as we move through these stages is the concept of “Skateboard Development” by Henrik Kniberg that has been adopted by large, successful tech companies like Spotify.

 

Skateboard development is a methodology where you focus on fulfilling the core underlying need of the consumer. In the case of a car in the example above, the problem is “I need to get from point A to point B faster.”

For the Ethos Fiat Gateway that problem is, “Buying cryptocurrency is too hard.” Instead of trying to build the car from the get-go and failing to fulfill the user’s needs as you iterate through building a tire, then a driveshaft, then an engine-less car frame until eventually building the car, which is a practice all too common in the blockchain industry’s product development process, you start by building a skateboard which fulfills, to some extent, the user’s fundamental problems while you iterate towards a solution that actually can end up being better than the car that was originally designed.

Said another way, instead of trying to day trade your way to a lambo, start small and hodl your way to the lambo. (Not investment advice by the way)

In our 5 stages of the fiat gateway, we will start by fulfilling the basic fundamental needs of the consumer while we build out additional infrastructure, reduce fees, and add additional capabilities until we are providing the consumer with the best possible solution.

Stage 1: Basic Fiat Integration (The Skateboard)

Basic fiat integration is actually not as difficult as some may think, but still takes a few integrations. Using existing processors and liquidity providers and shaving off a few capabilities on the technical side, you can put together a fairly robust crypto purchase solution that is on par with the level of quality that is seen in the industry today. We will be taking this approach, partnering with an existing processor and liquidity provider that we are already in deep strategic discussions with to power this solution. Stephen and Vishal, with their Blackrock, State Street, UBS and Morgan Stanley connections and experience, have been invaluable partners, networkers and mentors in this effort.

This phase of development will also include “instant-exchange” between cryptocurrencies with a fiat onramp to provide users with the basic functionality that one would expect from a fiat gateway available internationally. All crypto sourced from this will be entirely self-custodied and held by each individual in a decentralized fashion providing a revolutionary amount of control, security and freedom when it comes to trading and managing your assets. We are fast tracking this solution and, by doing so, we are building much of the infrastructure required for the more advanced fiat integration solutions that we have on the roadmap.

Stage 2: Advanced Fiat Integration with Banking/Fiduciary Accounts (The Motorcycle)

Phase two of enhancing this capability will enable customers to purchase a wide-variety of cryptocurrencies with ACH wire deposits and withdrawals. In order to construct a robust fiat gateway with buying and selling capabilities for a wide-variety of coins, we are in advanced, strategic partnership discussions with some of the most-trusted and largest liquidity providers in the industry, along with one of the most-trusted providers in the banking space. Furthermore, Fusion Financial has signed a LOI with a major banking partner whose capabilities can be leveraged for consumer benefit.

An important note that we will continue to emphasize in all aspects of our model is that advanced fiat integration is achieved through a fiduciary structure that legally obliges Ethos, as the technology platform, to always act in the best interests of the end-user which ultimately results in a streamlined, cheap solution for the consumer. These lower fees and faster settlement experience will be immediately noticeable to consumers as they are providing what we hope to be the close to “at-market” prices for the end user less counterparty-originated fees.

Liquidity and counterparty risk issues will become a thing of the past in this model. Unlike centralized crypto-to-fiat entities that exist in the space now which may only keep 2% of their assets in hot storage, Ethos does not custody or legally take possession of any assets, crypto/fiat or otherwise. There is no risk of assets becoming inaccessible or frozen or having a “run on the bank” where large market swings cause trading systems to go down as has been experienced in the past.

We plan to combine this notion of decentralized, people-powered self-custody, and marry it with best-execution financial partners.  We have not seen any other crypto company taking this approach, and we believe it is in the best interest of consumers, financial institutions, Ethos and for cryptocurrency and financial Blockchains as a whole.

The self-custody technology model that we have designed and implemented in Bedrock enables this unique structure. Unlike a centralized custodian model, the decentralized self-custody model decreases liquidity, regulatory and counterparty risk for traditional financial ecosystem players. This is a rare and wonderful “win-win” for both consumers and financial institutions alike.

Stage 3: Discounted Fiat through Token Functionality (The Car)

ETHOS tokens at this point will provide additional benefits to the end consumer by further reducing fees while at the same time potentially exposing users to rewards similar to what you may see in a “cash-back” model in the traditional financial system. Functionality for ETHOS tokens to mitigate fees and provide additional incentives to the end user will be core to the way that the fiat gateway is structured in this stage.

Non-token holder fees will be some of the lowest in the space, but we see the possibility of providing the closest to “At-Market” fees of anywhere in the crypto space making functionalities like “Nuke” (liquidate all assets) and “Un-Nuke” (repurchase portfolio) viable and cost-effective options for users holding tokens. These cost savings and potential “cash-back” proceeds for token holders will directly originate from fees sourced by Ethos and other counterparties.

We again believe that this model is extremely unique in the crypto space which is only made possible through leveraging fiduciary accounts and similar financial structures.

Stage 4: Robo Wallet & Automated Trading (The Convertible)

Using the infrastructure provided by the self-directed offering, Ethos will leverage the research that has been conducted by Fusion, Vishal and the portfolio management team to build diversified crypto baskets — or “One-click diversification”.

Automated crypto will provide intelligent automated indices similar to “Synthetic ETF Structures” that was mentioned in the Ethos AMA on Ethfinex here: https://www.reddit.com/r/ethfinex/comments/8zqnv6/ama_w_shingo_lavine_ethos_founder_and_ceo_starts/e2msel6/

Robo Wallet functionality is building the “Skateboard” for Fusion which will ultimately incorporate traditional assets into “Fusion Portfolios” that blend crypto and traditional assets to provide advanced investment advice and intelligent portfolios for the crypto asset class.

Stage 5: Fusion Financial Advisors LLC & Blending Traditional Assets (The Lambo)

The final stage is the full blown Fusion Financial Advisors product which will take in information about a user’s financial profile and financial goals and build an automated portfolio that seamlessly blends crypto and traditional assets. This is the final stage of the fiat gateway which will be opened up as we expand the blended crypto/traditional fiduciary structure internationally.  Our intention is to bring this to market through a fully regulated infrastructure.

Building the Fiat Gateway One Piece at a Time

A full-blown financial services ecosystem is HARD to build, but we have taken many of the steps already towards building it. Our partnership with Payroc builds on existing structures that Ethos has to make crypto spendable and seamlessly accessible alongside other asset classes. Our relationship with Fusion, fiduciary-based structures and de-risking practices have opened up many of the doors that were required for a solution like this to exist.

We are excited for this and we hope you are too. Along with the fiat gateway, a lot of new features are at the top of our development list including:

  • Additional Coin Integrations (with some very close to completion already!)
  • Airdrops for Universal Wallet Users (with the first ones going to pre-reg users)
  • Referral Program for Users
  • Push Authorizations
  • “Lightning Transactions” (Instant feedback/confirmation for transactions)

Thanks for reaching the end of this article and taking the time to read through it. While this one was fairly dense, we will be unpacking the implications of what was disclosed in here. Join us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to stay on top of the news.

 

Until Next TIme,

Shingo Lavine
Founder & CEO
Ethos.io

 

P.S. Vote for ETHOS to be listed on Ethfinex & Bitfinex! Click here to learn how.