CoinPip has been in operation for nearly three years and we’ve definitely found a product market fit, and solved problems for our clients in a manner that makes them very satisfied. However, this is only one part of the story. CoinPip initially wanted to leverage on merchants as on-ramp points for remittance. But that side of the business is challenging both on the adoption and regulatory fronts. But as we got selected to be part of the 500 Startups batch 11, we HAD to make money and get something working! Hence our current business model.
But now, we want more…
Reason 1: Public blockchains not the solution to financial inclusion
Running CoinPip for three years felt like I ran the business for over a decade. Many lessons learnt along the way. CoinPip has successfully reduced the fees for many of our clients. Some praised us for having the “magical” ability to trace every single transfer. We definitely have the Blockchain technology to thank for that. Along with the great stuff, I also discovered new problems that the current public blockchains haven’t been able to solve. There are still a lot of things that blockchain hasn’t fixed yet.
Public blockchains will always be volatile
By design, public blockchains will always be volatile and it’s not a bad thing. Public blockchains like Bitcoin exhibit the most accurate picture of what the investment landscape is like. Unlike mainstream currencies, where all fiat currencies by definition are all government controlled. Hence, don’t give a very accurate picture of the investment landscape.
Having said that, public blockchains as assets/currencies in the users’ wallets may not be a viable option. One day, a Bitcoin may be worth US$2700. A month later, it can be US$2000. A normal consumer cannot take that kind of risk on a daily basis. Businesses are even more currency sensitive. Even for entities who say they “accept Bitcoin”, are still immediately converting back to their own currencies. That’s also the reason why CoinPip internally deals with the crypto conversions (and takes advantage of it), yet letting our clients have the peace of mind with a steady and competitive FX rate.
Cannot fully serve the unbanked
When the recipient of a CoinPip client has a bank account, we can serve them fully and get the funds to them with ease. But Blockchain’s promise isn’t just about solving the “international leg” of remittance, but to serve the unbanked and under-served aka Financial Inclusion. CoinPip’s current model doesn’t really support that and I’ve been seeking for a solution to solve the unbanked problem for a while but to no avail. Until recently.
We can continue to grow and serve the Fortune 500, but there’s a bigger market out there. There are still 2 billion people without bank accounts and this is a big market. And this is the promise of Blockchain.
Reason 2: The man himself – Roy Lai
I got to know Roy from the blockchain meetings that ACCESS (access-sg.org) held in 2016. He was a very humble person (and still is today). But there was this interesting drive that he had back then which I could not describe. But now after meeting with him, I finally understood. It’s his passion to serve the unbanked.
If you have used Singapore’s domestic bank transfer system, you’ll be amazed by its speed. To put in context, a domestic bank transfer in Hong Kong, China and the US, can take approximately 2-3 business days. The Europe SEPA Network takes 24 hours. The Singapore FAST domestic transfer system only takes one second! One click and you’re done. Roy was the project director behind the system, and getting 14 banks to work together wasn’t an easy task. I think all blockchain and FinTech startups know what I’m talking about. Now Infocorp aims to create a platform that can connect the unbanked to the banking world. With this pitch, I’m sold. Once the infrastructure is complete, CoinPip will be able to use Infocorp’s infrastructure to expand its business.
Reason 3: Cow tokens
You may ask what the heck is this? When I first heard Dr David Lee (professor at the Singapore University of Social Science), mention about cows and financial inclusion, I was literally laughing. But when Roy explained to me what David was talking about, I was shocked. There are many authors that write about financial inclusion on how they can solve the financial inclusion problem… theoretically. This one is actually executable. To learn more on cow tokens, read his white paper: http://cpip.me/cowtokens
Reason 4: Private blockchains to solve the last mile
In nearly every conference I go to, I always rebut the speakers that say public blockchains is the answer to financial inclusion. It is not. When you question them on the volatility issue, they change the subject (read my post private and public blockchains). To date, only Roy sees eye to eye with me that Private blockchains can solve the last mile. And now with the upcoming blockchain we’re working on, combining the pros and pros of public and private blockchains respectively, I think Infocorp finally have a doable solution.
Reason 5: The Voltron of Sorts (still remember?)
I had a coffee chat with Dr. David Lee in June, after we had a morning interview at the Chinese radio station in Singapore 958fm.
He was saying, Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem is full of hustlers. What if we work together like an ecosystem. Immediately I thought of this:
If you’re old enough, you’ll know what/who this is – Voltron! We have crypto exchanges, wallets, funds transfer companies, lending, insurance that all have elements of blockchain inbuilt! All great in itself, but nothing exceptional. But, combining all aspects will create a massively powerful solution! Definitely, we should combine. From that day onwards, the rest was history.
So now, please read about cow tokens: bit.ly/cowtokens. Have fun moo-ing around!