What is going to happen to fiat in the future? How will stablecoins contribute to the financial system? And what about the regulation? In an exclusive interview with Altcoin Buzz, the creator of USDD gave their insight into the matter.
Cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, specifically, have been in vogue for a while now. Multiple companies are exploring their perks. The new kid on the block, the Global Currency Organization (GCO), is no exception. Recently, it announced the launch of the USD Digital (“USDD”). It is a USD-pegged stablecoin. Altcoin Buzz has delved deeper into the matter and talked to Joe Vellanikaran, CEO of GCO.
Bitcoin disrupted the currency scene
Q: Joe, thank you for having this interview with me in the first place. Tell me what made you start this project? How did you manage to attract employees from such top-tier companies? That really caught my eye.
Joe: To begin with, I believe that over the next couple of decades we are going to see a transition: all of the world currencies will move to the blockchain. This is largely due to the success of Bitcoin and the subsequent rise of stablecoins, which started to apply this new technology. If governments want to take advantage of these benefits and not lose out, they will need to start issuing their own stablecoins that represent their national currencies. That’s really exciting for me and I want to help build this form of money for the new economy.
Now, in terms of hiring people, we set a very high bar from the outset. Hence, we hire less than 1% of candidates. The reason for this is that you need to look for certain qualities, like expertise, integrity, and passion. Once you find the right person, you have to treat them with respect and create the right environment for them to thrive. That’s what great leadership is all about.
Q: To that end, I’d like to ask you whether your colleagues share the notion that stablecoins will replace fiat?
Joe: Yes, we’re all working toward that vision. To clarify though, I believe stablecoins will become digital fiat currencies. These are fiat currencies built on the blockchain.
Q: Why do you think it will happen? Because of Bitcoin or some other factors as well?
Joe: I think cryptocurrencies present a superior form of money. They’re transparent, more efficient and more secure. One example I like to give is about students. Let’s say you’re a British student studying in the US and your parents, who are living in the U.K., want to send you some funds. The current option is for them to use their GBP-based bank accounts and send the funds to your American bank account. That’s subject to a lot of delays, fees, conversion rates.
Our alternative is to allow the parents, or anyone sending money overseas, to use two stablecoins: USDD and a GBP-pegged stablecoin. Practically, this means tokenizing GBP and subsequently converting the GBP-pegged stablecoin into USDD. Then, the student can cash out the funds by redeeming USDD. All of this is possible in a matter of minutes versus days with low to no fees.
At the same time, the most inefficient part of that process is actually converting fiat into stablecoins and vice versa. Over time that part will go away. However, that will happen when all the fiat currencies are on the blockchain.
Q: Do you think this will happen any time soon?
Joe: This will take a significant amount of time and work, but a lot of progress is being made. With the recent developments in China, we may see the timeline moving up as other countries get on board.
Q: And yet in the U.S. I don’t see any appetite whatsoever to create this form of the U.S. dollar.
Joe: That’s why it will take some time. For the change to happen, the governments need to be on board with that change to begin with. Technically, it’s not such a difficult thing to do. But in the end, it’s all about the readiness of the governments of the world to make that transition.
Stablecoins’ potential is huge
Q: Why stablecoin specifically? Why didn’t you opt for a different type of cryptocurrency? The one which is not exactly USD-pegged?
Joe: I think it goes back to what we just talked about. The fact is that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are more efficient, and sooner or later the entire traditional financial system will be revolutionized and moved onto the blockchain. The cornerstone of any financial institution are the currencies.
I believe that the strongest world currencies will still be there, they will just move to the blockchain. In that scenario, stablecoins are the most important ones. If you look at the stablecoin market, despite all the competition in the space from Tether, TUSD, Paxos, the Gemini dollar, it’s still a pretty nascent industry. There’s a lot of room for innovation and growth. There are less than 5 billion dollars’ worth of stablecoins right now. By comparison, I’ve seen estimates of fiat currencies in circulation as high as $80 trillion dollars. If you believe that all those currencies will move to the blockchain, 5 billion in stablecoins represent less than 1.0% adoption. It’s the biggest potential market in the cryptocurrency landscape.
Q: On a different note, you are a private company. Tell me how do you co-exist with the governmental structures out there? Specifically, I’m thinking of Libra and the government’s hostile attitude toward it.
Joe: This is the biggest challenge in the crypto space. The main thing is that we need to stay compliant with all the regulations, both in the U.S. and around the world, which we have focused on from day one. We need to stay in tune with regulators to help shape the future regulation in the industry.
I can’t predict what the governments are going to do, but we are building our project in a way that we can quickly shift and be prepared for anything that comes our way in the most compliant manner.
Q: Tell me about your project in general. How does it stand out?
Joe: GCO is launching a suite of institutional-grade stablecoins. Over the next 6-12 months, we will be launching 10-15 stablecoins, representing all of the world currencies.
Our stablecoins are transparent, secure, and the key defining feature of our company is that it offers revenue sharing to any institutional partners that use our products. All the coins are backed by fiat, and we receive monthly attestations from Cohen & Co.
Most importantly, we have an incredible team of experts, including ex-employees of TrustToken, IBM, and JP Morgan.
Inertia is our main competitor
Q: Revenue sharing. It’s quite a curious concept. Can you give me a specific example maybe?
Joe: The success of any stablecoin depends on the partner network that they’re building. We view our stablecoins as institutional products because our success is tied to the size of the network. This is why GCO decided to introduce revenue sharing to its business model. I believe it’s our competitive advantage.
We will be disclosing more information about our partner network in the future, but institutions can already apply on our site to join the network.
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong, so your first product is USDD. But you’re planning on introducing more stablecoins. Which countries are we talking about?
Joe: We’re still determining which ones exactly and in which order to launch them. But I think any major world currency is on the table.
Q: Something like Euro?
Joe: Yes, and other major currencies like the Japanese yen, the British pound etc.
Q: Who do you think is your major competitor out there?
Joe: I believe that our biggest competitor is inertia and resistance to innovation. The traditional finance and payments industries are really heavily regulated and have clarity on licensing and regulations that they need to comply with. This doesn’t exist yet for stablecoins, and this is the main thing that’s keeping us from driving forward adoption and launching products faster.
At the same time, I think that the U.S. regulators are pretty good at this. The regulation shouldn’t come too quickly and hinder innovation, causing projects to fold even before they fully get off the ground. I think they’re taking a very prudent approach, being patient and deciding what is the right regulation for stable coins and cryptocurrencies in general. This will help the industry grow and also protect investors.
Q: And yet the SEC is not very clear-cut in its approach.
Joe: I think they’re doing it deliberately. They want to be prudent. At the end of the day, I’d prefer them to get it right then just come out and give guidance very quickly.
Gearing up for an exchange listing
Q: And yet let me ask you one more: Who’s your main competitor on the market? The Gemini dollar maybe? Someone else?
Joe: As I mentioned before, it’s still a very nascent industry. I don’t really view anyone as someone we’re trying to go against.
I think we all share the same vision of moving forward the adoption of stablecoins. And moving fiat onto the blockchain.
Q: On a final note, tell me more about your future plans. What’s in-store?
Joe: As you know we recently launched the product. The next thing to look forward to is our listing on the exchanges. And the announcement of other partners that we’re working with. And as we already discussed we’re planning to launch other products over the next 6-12 months.
Q: Which exchanges are you considering? Or is it a secret?
Joe: We can’t disclose this yet. Once we launch, we’ll dedicate an announcement for that.
Q: Thank you for the interview. It’s been great.
Stay tuned as Altcoin Buzz covers the latest developments in the crypto realm.