The Via is a multi-currency token which tracks exchange rates and returns on fiat currencies using a novel interest rate mechanism. The Via is usable on any blockchain platform that supports contracts such as the ERC20 standard on Ethereum. The Via is designed to function as a payment token but also as a stable store of value on decentralized, digital finance (DeFi) applications.

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The API documentation for developers to integrate DeFi applications to the Via will be published publicly, along with institutional paying and custody related information for commercial partners that issue the Via for their native fiat currencies. …

What should digital currency operators consider before creating one?

While the discussion on stable coins and their design in the crypto community has been going on for the past couple of years, the public hearings and the huge interest around Libra are highlighting a number of issues that any digital currency will face in the real world if it has to hold up to mass adoption.

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I am summarising these issues and my views on future design directions for digital currencies and their designers and sponsors.


Considering the regulatory landscape and how a digital currency might fit into existing regulation is very important since most currencies and their designers/sponsors won’t generate the sort of hype that Libra has and no new regulation for a currency is likely to be drawn up. From a regulatory perspective, the sponsor/operator of the currency could possibly fall in three buckets — banking regulation, securities regulation, or payment systems regulation. Taking fiat deposits from the public and issuing them digital currency tokens with guarantees that they can be redeemed for the same value could possibly attract banking regulations and being a bank means getting a banking license, maintaining enough capital, etc and it is territory that one perhaps should not go into. Instead, if the digital currency operator mints tokens like Libra where they take in fiat and peg it to a basket of assets (which could be other currencies and securities), the currency operator could be seen as an asset/fund manager and the issue of currency tokens can be classified as an issue of securities. While Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) are popular in all major jurisdictions among fund managers, the transfer of the currency token from one person to another would attract capital gains taxes which could be substantial and render it absolutely useless. The most appropriate regulation for digital currencies could be for currency operators/sponsors to be regulated as payment institutions/e-money operators which means they would be able to issue e-money/digital tokens against fiat deposits that they keep as deposits with public/scheduled banks. Being a payment system also means lesser capital requirements (eg, ~EUR 100k for Authorised Payment Institution in EU), standard rules on managing customers and KYC/AML, and most importantly no ambiguity on taxes for both issuing (VAT/GST for selling) the currency and redeeming (withholding tax on gains in buying back) the currency. …

Thoughts on how securities and derivatives are an opportunity to integrate digital currencies to real world financial markets.

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Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are something most entrepreneurs have probably given up on. Investors most definitely have. Not all regulators have positively treated them. So, when it comes to a topic such as digital assets or digital currencies, it is probably not the flavour of the season.

However, broadly speaking, if we add up the financial assets we hold in digital form including shares and fixed deposits for consumers and many more financial products for businesses such as bonds, these financial assets held in digital form probably far exceed the value of physical assets we hold. If we add non-financial digital assets such as assets that are sold in digital form such as content and advertising and assets that provide digital access to utilities such as e-commerce, the numbers would be even bigger. …

What is it that cryptocurrencies can really do for cross border transactions ?

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A lot of talk around blockchains and cryptocurrencies being used for payments is based on the idea that it will cut costs of transactions. The correspondent banking model where a payment remitter’s bank and the beneficiary’s bank work with their correspondent banks to settle a payment is expensive as each party involved not only have their own fees but the process is prone to operational inefficiencies and errors.

Is Bitcoin a currency ?

Or for that matter, is any other cryptocurrency a currency ?

This is a question that is often asked. And the answer that is often given is that just like any other currency, they allow for the transfer and store of value. By using a shared ledger that is distributed among users of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, their creators ensured that any transaction can be recorded, and is verifiable without a central authority like a bank. …

The Venture Capital model is broken and needs to evolve with the times.

Venture capital has played a very important role in the setting up of some of today’s leaders in technology, media, communications and other industries. It has enabled access to little understood early stage businesses, fostered entrepreneurship and risk taking, and created large amounts of wealth for risk takers, both entrepreneurs and investors and VC fund managers.

However, venture capital’s business model has remained the same over time. Times have changed. More and more capital are chasing deals. Deal sizes are growing and most of it is going to later stage ventures. Promising seed funded ventures find it difficult to raise series A financing. Competition among start ups in every market segment has gone up. …

When do Angel investors turn into Demons that destroy startups and value they create ?

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Who you take money from is more important than the money itself.

Angel investors are a necessary part of a start up ecosystem. They often step in when no one else is willing to take the risk of investing in an entrepreneur and an idea. However, angel investors are also ‘investors’ and neither they nor entrepreneurs should forget that. In my more than 18 years as an entrepreneur, I have come across all sorts of ‘angels’ — from corporate professionals to high net worth families to successful first generation entrepreneurs. This is across the two countries I have worked — India and the United Kingdom. However, this post is more a summary of my thoughts from my India experience where angel investing is a fairly new phenomenon. …


Kallol Borah

Entrepreneur, Technologist, Explorer. Tweets@BorahKallol

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