Editor's note: This column has been updated to disclose the writer's advocacy of blockchain technology--the underpinning of all crytocurrencies--and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning about these investments.
The cryptocurrency ICO market is getting more and more interesting every week. All sorts of ICOs are popping up that utilize blockchain, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency to solve big world problems. It should be noted here that I am an advocate of blockchain technology.
Not only are they getting funding, they are getting lots of funding. TenX did over $80 million, EOS is well over $400 million so far, Bancor did $250 million, the numbers are very large. This goes to show the power of the cryptocurrency world. People are hungry for the next hot ICO that they can potentially multiply their cryptocurrency on, or hold for the long term.
The best use for blockchain technology so far and the place of biggest disruption is in the banking industry. The banking system is outdated and slow. The fastest way to move money from Los Angeles to Paris using the traditional banking system, is to not actually use the system and to physically fly there with cash. That's not exactly an efficient system. Blockchain technology and blockchain startups are currently giving the banking system a well needed overhaul.
Editor's note: Bitcoin and digital currencies, as with any investment, may involve the risk of loss. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned that virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, carry "significant risk" to consumers.
A new Ethereum based ICO company in the banking space, Everex, is bringing banking services to over 2 billion people who do not have a bank account. Everex gives those people access to a mobile based Everex wallet that essentially serves as a bank account with all of the related services but with no fees for exchanging money. Then people can use the wallet to get micro-loans, and micro financing at rates that are affordable. And it's all backed by actual cryptocurrency.
Another huge issue in the massively outdated banking space is actually moving money around from person to person, or even to yourself. In fact, on a recent trip to Australia it took me over 5 business days to just physically move money to myself while traveling. From my own accounts. The burden and hassle on top of the long wait was extremely annoying, just to access my own money. Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and startups like Everex begin to solve these problems where you don't have a centralized power preventing you from accessing your own money.
Many people, especially migrant workers, want a way to send money back home. The problem is that the fees are outrageous and make it grossly unaffordable for the people that need it most. Everex allows you to send it fee free as well as exchange currency anywhere in the world without the astronomical percentage based pricing structures.
Traditionally, you could pay as high as 24% (in some cases even more) just to exchange currency and move it from one country to another.
Another pretty cool feature of Everex is cryptocurrency backed micro-loans and micro-credit. These are all 100% backed by Ethereum and Ethereum based cryptocurrencies. This concept disrupts the credit system and allows lending to happen all based and backed on cryptocurrency.
As of the time of writing Everex is already well into their ICO raising over $6 million worth of Ethereum so far the first day.