BRAVO Pay Interview — Instant Secure Payments Powered by Blockchain
BRAVO Technologies (BRAVO Pay / BRAVO) is a USA based established FinTech company with a pipeline of products including a blockchain protocol. BRAVO has a beta App available in iOS and Android that works with USD/fiat currency which was featured in TechCrunch where they won the Audience Choice Award in 2015 and that was recently featured in ABC’s Shark Tank in November 2017 where they got a deal.
BRAVO has been working since January 2017 in developing a new blockchain technology and is on track to launch their patent submitted hybrid-blockchain protocol on early 2019 that will allow enhanced privacy on payments on-demand while being compliant with AML and KYC regulations. Beyond payments, BRAVO’s hybrid protocol has major implications and applicability to other industries where on-demand control of privacy is applicable and useful. You can learn more at bvo.trybravo.com
This version of BRAVO will help accelerate the adoption of crypto payments at a global level by introducing three main factors to the ecosystem: ease of use (no longer for tech savvy people), utility of crypto in our daily lives (for peer and micro-merchant payments), and trust (they are one of the very few teams in the world that actually have a product in the market and a blockchain platformed developed before launching their token).
It is my pleasure today to interview the CEO & Co-Founder of BRAVO, Maria Luna. Can you first begin by telling us the backstory of why you created BRAVO?
The birth of BRAVO came from when my Co-Founder Hector and I were on a hiking trip back in October 2013 and had already prepaid for the whole trip and then realized we didn’t have any cash to tip out our tour guide.
I knew first-hand the importance’s of living off of tips because of my mother working at a local café in Puerto Rico as a server and as a family we always depended on those tips to make ends meet.
At the time Hector and I knew that we found a niche market where cash was still the only solution and could make a difference in so many people’s lives, who are depending on those cash-only payments by creating an alternative way to pay or be paid without exchanging personal information. For us, it was paramount to bring a solution to the market that will bring ultimate on-demand control to the end users on their information while being compliant with all regulations. We embarked in a customer discovery phase after that realization and then launched our MVP for the initial proof of concept at the end of 2014.
What is BRAVO?
BRAVO is a USA based established technology company with a fiat version in the market that has organic traction and is ready to fuel the engines of growth. BRAVO possess a hybrid blockchain protocol with a broad spectrum applicability to other industries beyond payments. Our first DApp in the market, BRAVO Pay is a new generation of payment app that puts the user in control of their data and privacy. Built to facilitate peer to peer micro-payments for anyone, anywhere in the world.
The app has been highly successful, attracting some of the most notorious investors from Shark Tank. Why are you moving forward and integrating blockchain into your app?
We are launching our own cryptocurrency (BVO) that will help us achieve a higher level of privacy (while still being compliant with KYC and AML policies and practices), achieve very inexpensive transactions and makes sense in our platform given our established marketplace, real use case for micropayments and ability to expand globally faster.
BRAVO’s current Fiat version app is available for iOS -App Store and for Android in the Google Play store. It is a seamless mobile payments app to pay or get paid with enhanced privacy. Users connect by proximity (using GPS) and/or by search by username, employer or BRAVO code without exchange of private information.
The BRAVO Pay app was featured in TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco when it won the Audience Choice Award in 2015, Macworld and most recently, on ABC’s Shark Tank in November 2017 and we got a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.
However, BRAVO is beyond an app, we are a technology company with a great pipeline of products. BRAVO is now introducing cryptocurrency to the wallet, currently in private beta. BRAVO has been working on this since January 2017 and we are on track to launch our patent submitted hybrid-blockchain based platform early 2019 that will permit enhanced privacy on payments on demand while being compliant with AML and KYC regulations. You can learn more at bvo.trybravo.com
Over the past year we an emphasis on the adoption of blockchain. What will BRAVO do to speed up adoption for the every-day person?
This version of BRAVO will help accelerate the adoption of crypto payments at a global level because it introduces three main factors to the ecosystem:
Ease of use — no longer only for tech savvy people
Utility of crypto in our daily lives for peer and micro-merchant payments
Trust — We are one of the very few teams in the world that actually have a product in the market and a blockchain platformed developed before launching our token.
Conceptually, BRAVO was created as a simple tool for seamless tipping or payments to service professionals and artists without exchanging private information. However, the idea’s simplicity led to other rapidly-growing verticals and is now positioned to be the platform that powers day-to-day cryptocurrency micro-payments.
BRAVO brings utility to cryptocurrency to be used as a tender for any kind of purchase. Current and other growing potential verticals include:
The gratuity (tipping) industry
Valet attendants, bellhops, nail technicians, hairdressers, tour guides, caddies, bartenders, baristas, waiters, etc.
BRAVO has a strong presence in the current music industry around the US and continues to expand its presence through our influencer marketing and multimedia strategy at various events. BRAVO has recognized the opportunity to become a payment leader in facilitating transactions for tickets, beverages and merchandise sales, all on your mobile device. BRAVO is also an ideal way for streamers and creators to monetize on their content without having to exchange personal information with their fan/followers base and without having to share their income with third parties.
In a recent report from the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum, the value of micro-transactions processed globally is estimated at $34 trillion, of which $19 trillion are cash or check-based transactions. In U.S., the micro-merchant potential market size is estimated to be about 25 million users. Over 55% of those small businesses do not accept cards for several reasons, including cost and lack of trust creating a lost opportunity cost of $100m/yr. BRAVO aims to up-weight the importance of enabling small businesses to accept cryptocurrencies alongside traditional payments.
Peer to peer payments:
Friends and acquaintances need to settle debt on a daily basis and BRAVO provides a simple way to find and pay each other in a private way.
Global boundless payments
According to the International Monetary Fund, more than two billion people worldwide are without bank accounts, including about 7% of the U.S. population. BRAVO represents a seamless local and global cross platform payment alternative to traditional banks. Our team has already designed a solution for end users to effectively utilize their funds with and without institutional banking support.
BRAVO has the potential to assist the unbanked and underbanked by allowing them to create their own financial alternatives efficiently with an immutable trusted platform.
These unbanked individuals constitute a large market ready to adopt disruptive financial solutions outside of the traditional banking system. The BRAVO app provides a secure, scalable tool to serve and meet the needs of these individuals.
These are only a few of the current and potential verticals that BRAVO addresses. Whether it be helping transfer gratuity to a waiter, musician or facilitating your payment during the next sports game, BRAVO plans to aggressively pursue the position as market leader for micro-payments, globally.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the tech side — tell us about your exclusive BRAVO protocol!
Hybrid blockchain solution (FBA + PoS)
We are creating our own blockchain and BRAVO protocol. Our R&D started at the end of 2013 when the idea of BRAVO was conceived to achieve simplicity and privacy on demand on payments. We embarked in an extensive research that involved customer discovery phase, problem/solution fit, product/market fit and message/channel fit. Those years taught us many valuable lessons in terms of UX, perceptions and needs in the space we wanted to serve. In January 2017, we decided to embark in exploring and developing the ultimate privacy enhancement tool with the development of our own blockchain protocol
Our patent pending hybrid dual blockchain protocol platform meshes multiple blockchains together that interoperate in parallel allowing on-demand end-user control over transaction privacy, speed and cost. End-user moves from one protocol to another seamlessly as needed on the same platform
The BRAVO Blockchain API will support blockchain-speciﬁc operations including creating a BRAVO wallet for cryptocurrency, transfer of funds between wallets, retrieving the balance of wallets, and an execution method to support smart contracts. Beyond this, BRAVO will offer an API and SDK to retailers and 3rd party apps to provide payment using the BRAVO token so other 3rd party companies with multi-asset wallets can add support for the BVO Token.
Moreover, beyond payments, BRAVO is a technology company and BRAVO Pay is our first DApp. Our protocol has major implications and applicability to other industries where on-demand control of privacy is applicable and useful.
What privacy features will Bravo have?
With BRAVO Pay, the users are in control to share as little or as much as they want with the party they are paying or being paid. It starts even with your name. To onboard with BRAVO, and to meet all compliance regulations, you enter your real name and information and go through a KYC process. Once approved, you can choose to have a ¨username¨ that differs from your real one, keeping even your identity private.
To pay, you can choose between two different modes: public/traceable vs private/untraceable. The other level of privacy is that all payments are by default made private (meaning not shared automatically on social media). Moreover, you have the option to send a message with the payment and the option to stay connected via the app with the person that you paid or paid you or you can block the person to avoid future messages. This is what we mean full control of your privacy on demand.
• FBA & zerocoin: BRAVO is creating an innovative hybrid blockchain technology that consists of a public and private blockchain. The public blockchain is based on the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) consensus algorithm while BRAVO’s private, Incognito blockchain is based on an anonymizing Proof-of-Stake algorithm. The BRAVO blockchain integrates these two technologies together, which allows them to interoperate seamlessly, and gives the end-users control over transaction speed, privacy and cost.
- BVO-P: Since BVO-P is going to be used as a way to transfer funds and not used as an asset, Proof-of-Stake was chosen to support the needs of its users.
In terms of vulnerability, BRAVO’s main concern is to reduce the risk of a Sybil attack. In a Sybil attack, a malicious attacker creates multiple fake identities and get those identities accepted as peers. After they are accepted as peers, they then begin to corrupt the network and its transactions.
BRAVO will combat this by making the Incognito blockchain private and by only allowing vetted organizations to stake. The sole purpose of the BVO-P is to facilitate the private transmissions of BVO which would not require it to be public. BVO-P will not be on a public exchange, cannot be bought and cannot be speculated on. Its existence is entirely utilitarian. However, BRAVO will not wield absolute power over BVO-P since the select members who join the blockchain will aid in running the network while keeping everyone honest.
Why is privacy important?
We have been conducting an extensive first hand research for over 4 years now with our users and something that has been very prevalent is the need to have control over their data, transaction history and privacy. With our current Fiat version, we have achieved a certain level of privacy for our users and blockchain will allow us to take that to a higher level.
How will private transactions differ from public ones?
BRAVO private mode will anonymize transactions on the BVO-P PoS blockchain by utilizing the zerocoin protocol. The zerocoin protocol basically pools all BVO-P into predetermined denominations and sends sets of these denominations when a transfer is initiated.
For an analogy, let’s use water as a currency. Water is heavy, hard to transport and takes up space so instead of storing and transporting water on your own, you exchange your water for water tokens which have different tokens that represent cups, pints, quarts and gallons. You give 10.5 gallons of water to the water exchanger; the exchanger pours the water in a large pool and gives you newly minted tokens (2 gallon tokens and 2 quart tokens). If you want to send 2 gallons of water to a friend, you give the exchanger 2-gallon tokens and the address of the friend. The exchanger then delivers 2 gallons of water to your friend from the common pool.
Since this mode requires more computational power, the transactions processed on private mode will carry a higher fee.
What are the pros and cons of implementing blockchain into your platform?
Scalability — BRAVO’s API allows for the ongoing development and contribution to the bravo ecosystem, with ongoing support from the BRAVO consortium and a growing developer community.
Speed Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) — Due to the FBA Consensus algorithm, the BRAVO Consortium members act as vetted validators within the network for instant transactions.
Enhanced Privacy in Payments — Incognito Transfers using the Proof-of-Stake Zerocoin Protocol allows for on-demand anonymity in transfers.
Higher capital investment requirements upfront to do R&D; capital on hand was allocated to the development of our blockchain technology, but in the end will result in higher and faster scalability
Tell us a little about the ICO
Our private sale just started and we have in this phase up to 65% discount. Our ICO price is $0.10 per token. Details specified in the following table:
In the current state of the market, what are your thoughts on ICOs?
ICOs are the primary way in which many blockchain startups raise funds for their companies. One year ago, we saw an absolute excitement in the market over ICOs where many raised millions of dollars in minutes or days. This year (2018) started strong, but the crackdown of scams, illegal fundraising and the decrease in value of most cryptocurrencies brought a higher level of scrutiny in the market, which we absolutely welcome. Definitely, not all ICOs are created equal. Since in the ICO process, companies do not have to have a track record most ICOs have just a white paper. BRAVO is one of very few ICOs in the world that actually has an existing business and a solution developed. In contrast, less than 9% of the ICOs come from established businesses and almost half do not have a product developed before their ICO campaign began.
BRAVO’s ICO is different from many aspects
- BRAVO has a solution developed with proven traction and validation with our Fiat version available since 2015 in the USA market. In 2019 BRAVO will release an update to pay with our cryptocurrency (BVO Token) allowing for instant, secure and anonymous payments worldwide
- BRAVO is built and runs on its own blockchain platform. BRAVO is beyond an app, we are a technology company with a great pipeline of products. BRAVO has been working on our crypto wallet since early last year (currently on private beta) and we are on track to launch our patent submitted hybrid-blockchain based platform early 2019 that will allow enhanced privacy on payments on demand while being compliant with AML and KYC regulations.
- BRAVO has an established marketplace and is growing rapidly. BRAVO has a community of tens of thousands of active users in multiple verticals (gratuities, micro-merchant payments, friends settling debt and peer to peer general payments).
- Our Team: The BVO team is led by innovators in software development, marketing, entrepreneurship and blockchain engineers. All team members are identified and have public profiles with our careers lined up for anyone to scrutinize the level of experience and skills needed to continue to contribute to BRAVO’s success. We have demonstrated that we capable of building in a lean way a highly effective team to deliver results with limited resources and are now ready to fuel the engines of growth after a successful proof of concept, problem/solution fit and product to market fit.