An overview of how ARYZE started and where the inspiration came from to make cash digital.
As with any company, there is an origin story that gives the why and how behind it. We're taking this opportunity to inform upon the circumstances that eventually led to the creation of ARYZE. From playing around with a new cryptocurrency, to working towards developing a global platform for smarter and faster payments, the conception of ARYZE started with Bitcoin Jack.
Humble beginnings with digital currencies
Our CEO, Jack Nikogosian, started out in the space as a young man with a hunger for the latest technological innovations. If there was a new development in impactful tech, Jack had to have a piece of it. Whether it was smart lamps in his apartment, or the latest gadget for his wrist, he would dive into learning everything he could about it. Bitcoin was no exception, and would later prove to be one of his greatest passions.
The idea of a decentralized currency piqued his curiosity, but taking it a step further was the concept of programmable money. All of a sudden, many of the ingenious concepts that this young creative was dreaming of could be done in a cheaper and faster way, while ensuring that average people could monetize them.
In 2013, Jack entered into the employ of a company now known as Coinify, Denmark's largest Bitcoin broker. Jack and Coinify worked together to produce a PR campaign, focused on the adoption of Bitcoin, where Jack would pay all of his day-to-day expenses in Copenhagen, solely using Bitcoin. The result was a closely followed media adventure that led to Jack's reintroduction to the world as Bitcoin Jack.
Jack's creative soul, combined with the innovative ambition of Coinify, resulted in a promotion to the Head of Innovation at Coinify's innovation lab. Here, Jack could work with cryptocurrencies in a series of projects dedicated to exploring the possibilities with programmable digital assets.
Overall, the consensus was that cryptocurrencies could curiously be used for many things that regular "fiat" money could not. The complexity of the financial and banking infrastructures resulted in regular dollars and euros being too analog for simple, programmable operations. It was simply too expensive to send $10 to a solar cell in Africa, but with Bitcoin and Ethereum, it was not only cheaper to send, but also faster and smarter. This was among others, one of the innovative projects Jack worked on.
Finally, Jack started the Bitcoin Talk Denmark forum on Facebook for Danish crypto enthusiasts in 2013. By the end of 2018, the group was at approximately 14000 members. This was an effort to promote a growing interest for the technology that later would have an enormous impact on his professional career.
Fast forward to Copenhagen Business Academy, where Bitcoin Jack met his soon-to-be co-founder at ARYZE, Carl Jenster. Carl came from more of a traditional marketing background, having previously worked for KRISS and ISS in Switzerland and Taiwan, respectively. Carl's expertise lay primarily in copywriting and communications for online growth, and his exposure to cryptocurrencies spurred a passion in digital technologies that presented a welcome challenge in marketing.
Jack and Carl were enrolled in a study program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and quickly saw each other to be kindred spirits in the pursuit for nerdy gadgets and technological improvements. After having built use-cases for blockchain databases in all manners of everyday activities, like the safe storage of passport data and efficient copyright management for intellectual property, the two young entrepreneurs saw the ultimate use-case for blockchain technology: Digital Cash.
The first spark occurred during a study trip to Tel Aviv, Jack and Carl were on a rooftop overlooking the city, musing with the possibilities for a truly digital version of national currencies. The question they asked: "Why is our own national currency so analog, while cryptocurrencies are near-ephemeral and abstract?" At the time, the idea landed upon something they originally called "eKroner", which would be an electronic format of the Danish Kroner, existing on a blockchain.
It wasn't until they met Morten Nielsen that they were urged to think bigger.
Sharpening the edges
Morten Nielsen is a former JP Morgan and UBS investment banker where he held senior positions in London, Paris and Tokyo, working mostly with hedge funds, fixed income, derivative marketing and structured products. Having found a fascination for cryptocurrencies, it was a clear next step to see how "fiat" currencies could be improved upon by blockchain technology.
Morten and Jack met due to common interests and mutual acquaintances, and quickly fell into discussions regarding the strengths and weaknesses in crypto and the current monetary system. Whether it was how to take away the volatility from cryptocurrencies, or how to add the amazing benefit of programmability to fiat money, both could agree that there was work to be done.
Morten joined Jack and Carl, and quickly brought them up to speed on the realities of banking and financial systems, while highlighting the shortcomings that modern banking has. Together, the three laid the foundations for a project that had potential to give "money" a much needed facelift. Even in the early days, ARYZE set out to reform the way that we pay, bringing cash into the 21st century, and giving it all the benefits that modern technology can afford.
One topic that was close to heart throughout the early phases was the challenges with high fees for remittances. The founding team agreed that it was no longer necessary for developing countries to be subjected to some of the highest fees in the world for sending money home to struggling families. Not only did these present an attractive market for the firm going forward, it was also an opportunity to improve the lives and finances of individuals in these regions.
By November 2018, the ARYZE team had grown to 10 full-time employees and boasted a solid board of advisors, with professional backgrounds from Saxo Bank, Emerging Payments Association, Copenhagen Business School, LIQNET, University of Copenhagen, AmaZix, and more.
The team successfully reached their fundraising goals in a private token sale, as the first company registered in Denmark to do so. Furthermore, the company set itself apart from many others in the space by conducting a highly compliant token sale with previously unseen measures of corporate governance, as one of the first in the world.
Moving forward, the team is set on establishing itself as a trustworthy player in global remittances and payments, seeking partnerships with corporations and non-profit organizations. With an ambitious technical roadmap laid out, ARYZE aims to innovate within a space that has historically been traditional and quite static: money itself. By 2020, ARYZE plans on having a modular payments platform ready to go to market for remittances and payments worldwide, ushering in a new age of innovation for future financial products.