Announcing the BloomX Token Sale

It’s startling how far the cryptocurrency industry has come over these last four years. In roughly the same amount of time it takes a saguaro cactus to grow one centimeter, we went from an obscure technology promoted by wide-eyed cypherpunks to a new asset class traded on Wall Street.

When we first started teaching industry players about Bitcoin, it was all we could do to get them to remember the correct name of the technology, let alone to understand its implications on their businesses. Most of the media around crypto back then had to do with drugs, the Silk Road, and international money-laundering. And then of course Mt. Gox imploded, and much of the enthusiasm around Bitcoin evaporated along with nearly 90% of its value.

From a high of nearly $1,000 in January 2014, Bitcoin dropped to a low of $194 one year later and continued to flounder below $400 for much of the following 12 months. To put things into perspective, Bitcoin’s $2.6B market cap in January 2015 is not large enough to even get it into the top 15 cryptocurrencies in 2018. (Source: CoinMarketCap.com)

Israel and I founded Bloom in late 2015, during this dark period, and there were many moments when the floundering price and the immature ecosystem made it feel like even our most fervent efforts were all futile. But much of the groundwork for the industry we enjoy today was laid during the dithering days of 2016, and when the bounce finally came, it couldn’t have been more acute.

Seemingly overnight, everything changed.

Bloomberg and MSNBC were dedicating entire segments (and sometimes, entire shows) to Bitcoin and other cryptos. Banks and multinationals were signing up with blockchain providers by the dozens. Every payments conference was dedicating panels and keynotes to blockchains and cryptocurrencies. In June of 2017, I found myself handing a Remittance Technology innovation award to a crypto startup called Everex at the United Nations in New York.

And of course, Bitcoin broke the $10,000 price barrier for the first time.

The Double-Edged Sword of Progress

So now I wake up everyday to messages from everyone I’ve ever met over my entire life asking me how to invest in crypto. It’s both a good and a bad thing.

The 2017 bull market forced people to pay attention, and all the new money being poured into the industry caused the price to rise even further. None of this new money had any concept of what it took to get to this point, and were wholly unprepared for crypto’s arrhythmic volatility.

Bloom has been building practical crypto solutions for over two years now, and until very recently, we did it behind the scenes. We’ve worked with remittance businesses from Seoul to Sydney, reducing their cost of transfer using crypto-based settlement. This allowed them to be more competitive, passing those savings on to their customers. Predominantly, those customers are migrant workers in the service industry who were manning minimum wage jobs on temporary contracts.

And now, in the last half of 2017, those same migrants were attempting to make their first crypto investments. With little education or context, the results were just short of catastrophic.

Coverage on crypto scams, from just the last half of February 2018 (Source: Coindesk.com)

Not only were they being preyed upon by scammers, but they were making fundamental errors because they expected crypto to work like centralized mobile money. If they made a mistake and deposited funds to the wrong address, they thought you could call a hotline to have the transaction rolled back. If they mixed up Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash wallets, they hoped that there was a recovery process they could turn to have their funds returned.

Adding Signal to the Noise

Within this new paradigm, building a better solution becomes less of a commercial opportunity and more of a moral imperative. In a sea of scammers and ponzi schemes, adding to the short list of trustworthy retail channels becomes inordinately valuable.

But how?

We think that the answer here is not the traditional Silicon Valley solution. Building up a new customer-facing brand in the emerging world is a long and expensive road, especially in the heavily regulated financial sector, and what is needed are physical manifestations to bridge the gap between the paper bills in our pockets and the intangible digital assets in our crypto wallets.

So we’re leveraging the most obvious street-level manifestation of currency conversion: the neighborhood money changer.

A rendition of the storefronts of some of BloomX’s pilot partners

Many of the 100,000 licensed money changers in the ASEAN region have been operating for over a decade. Some of Bloom’s own partners have been in the business for 40 years. That’s the kind of trust and brand recognition that you can’t just replicate.

Our plan is simple. Bloom will create white-labeled point-of-sale and wallet tools for money changers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies over the counter.

The idea is to allow traditional players to easily participate in this new industry, opening them up to new profit channels. Most importantly, they can provide a safe and compliant bridge for new customers to convert their cash into crypto without fear of being scammed or hacked.

Money changers will be able to use BloomX’s teller app to power their crypto sales workflow. They’ll be able to monitor real-time prices, adjust their profit margins on a business-wide or branch-level basis, create and secure customer profiles and KYC info, and of course, buy and sell major cryptocurrencies.

The Philippines is our first launch market and we’re partnering with industry heavyweights like Perahub (PETNET) and Czarina Foreign Exchange to pilot this in 2018.

The BloomX retail workflow, from the perspective of the customer

But the retail platform is only half of the solution. Simply giving people access to crypto isn’t enough; you need to teach them how to use it too.

A Teaching Wallet

Enter our multi-crypto, white-label wallet app, which may be branded by any of our retail partners. The wallet will be the main education hub for the end-users, a place where some of those niggling crypto questions can be answered in their native language.

Sample screens from the BloomX white-label wallet app

Initially, the wallet will be available in English and Filipino, but our roadmap includes Bahasa, Siamese, Khmer, and other Southeast Asian languages. We believe that the only way for people to reliably avoid scams is to be better informed, and the wallet app should be the first place where you engage them.

Both the wallet and teller apps will be built on top of the Stellar blockchain. Bloom is an official partner and a grant recipient of the Stellar Development Foundation, and we’ve been working closely with both SDF and their enterprise arm, Lightyear, for over a year now.

How to Get Involved

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our network expansion strategy involves partner development across the entire Asian region and includes an open app store for money service businesses and non-bank financial institutions (launching in late 2019). For all of that and more, head on over to our official website, Bx8.io, where you’ll be able to request access to our exclusive investor packet, which includes our whitepaper, investor requirements, and token reservation form.

One of the page spreads from the BX8 whitepaper

Our whitepaper talks about our strategy, our network of partners, and our token economics, and is packed with infographics and illustrations. We’ve written it to be clear and concise about what we want to accomplish, instead of obfuscating our ideas behind technical jargon and math formulas. The BloomX whitepaper may be the most straightforward crypto read you’ll have all year.

Our private token sale will officially begin on the 29th of May, 2018, and we’ll be hosting a formal launch event in the heart of Makati’s central business district to kick things off. If you’d like an invitation, please contact us at hello@bx8.io.

We’ll be updating our official Medium blog with news on our token sale, market analysis and industry essays, and interviews with our growing network of partners and investors. Click the Follow button above to be notified whenever there’s new content!

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