On-Chain Wealth Management, NFTs, Creality and more, a word with Elitium Founder & CEO Raoul Milhado
Elitium is a blockchain-based wealth management ecosystem powering a host of luxury and fintech products. Earlier this year, Elitium’s participation in the DigitalBits Foundation Partner Program was announced, with plans to integrate the DigitalBits blockchain into Elitium’s NFT marketplace.
We were able to catch up with founder and CEO, Raoul Milhado, to learn more about Elitium and what’s to come.
Find the full interview below.
First and foremost, I am very pleased to have the CEO of Elitium, Raoul Milhado, here with me today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, Elitium, and what inspired the idea?
Thank you for hosting me. I’m so happy to be here!
So — let’s start with my background for some context.
I’ve been an entrepreneur from a young age, starting a digital marketing company at 19, before exiting my first venture at 23.
I went on to found several other businesses. But it was my role as the Managing Partner of Boatsters — an online platform focused on luxury yacht charters — that led me to blockchain technology.
In 2017, a year after I joined Boatsters, cryptocurrency was finding a more mainstream audience, so I put forward the idea to build a peer-to-peer wallet that would allow clients to pay for charters using Bitcoin, Ether, and several other tokens.
We launched the product in 2018, people jumped on-board, and I could see there was a clear, untapped interest in cryptocurrency within the luxury sector.
That’s when I set up Elitium.
At first, my intention was to build a blockchain-enabled app that would transform the luxury experience.
But as you know, blockchain technology has matured considerably in the last few years. And when we started to integrate investment products into the platform, we could see this was the direction to take.
We adjusted our strategy to focus on helping our high networth (HNW) client-base grow their wealth using cryptocurrency and DeFi.
And we’ve just released the first version of the Elitium wealth management platform, which enables anyone to invest in digital assets in a trusted, compliant, and secure way.
Elitium co-hosted NFT BAZL, a phenomenal event held at the auspicious Temple House. NFT BAZL was a unique combination of physical and digital art, and gave attendees a small taste of where the world of art is headed, alongside the synergies that exist between physical and digital realms.
What prompted the creation of NFT BAZL? And what does the future have in store for Elitium as it pertains to events like this?
We’ve always known that art is an attractive investment for HNW individuals, yet we couldn’t quite see a way to bring artworks to Elitium.
Then, Beeple sold one of his digital works as an NFT in early 2021, and we knew exactly what to do. We would build an NFT marketplace right into our platform, giving clients another great way to diversify their investment portfolio.
And we wanted to do something to celebrate what we saw as an important innovation in the sector, so we discussed ideas with our strategic partner, GDA Capital.
Ultimately, we decided to co-host an in-person exhibition that would bridge the worlds of art and blockchain, celebrating a new frontier for creators and investors alike.
That’s what led to NFT BAZL Miami in June 2021.
The event went so well that we’re already planning follow-ups, likely in Dubai later this year, before we head to New York in 2022, then who knows where else!
And this leads me on to an important point.
Elitium is here to do more than help people grow their wealth. We exist to educate investors about the power and potential of the blockchain.
Events like NFT BAZL are integral to this.
NFT BAZL played host to two pieces from the Floyd Mayweather NFT series, with 10% of the profits donated to the Elikia Hope Foundation.
I’d love to hear your perspective on having pieces like these at your event preceding his big fight — as well as the importance of charitable initiatives such as the Elikia Hope Foundation.
We were absolutely delighted to secure the pieces from Floyd Mayweather.
The reality is — there’s a lot going on in the world of blockchain. So when a prominent personality lends their support, it really shines a light on what you’re doing.
Equally, Floyd’s two NFTs were very popular, selling quickly — and for a premium. That process helped demonstrate the power of our NFT marketplace and the simplicity of buying a digital asset on the blockchain.
And yes, we wanted to give something back as part of the event. Which is why we partnered with the Elikia Hope Foundation.
As you say, we donated 10% of the profits from the Mayweather series to a charity that’s doing many great things for the global African community. The initiative is crucial to promoting diversity and inclusion worldwide.
And Elitium will continue to work hard to support the efforts of foundations like these.
In a recent Elitium video, you touched on the idea of ‘Creality.’
What is Creality? Why is it important? And how are you fostering this perspective within your organization?
Thank you for raising this point.
The concept plays a significant role in Elitium’s broader mission.
Creality alludes to the notion that we are living in a state of constant fear, largely because media organizations like to focus on what’s negative.
Add to this the fake news that cycles through social media, with influencers hyping the fear and other media channels doing little to stop it, and you end up in this really depressing headspace. We can’t even travel to escape this reality, so what can we do?
That’s where the notion of Creality comes in.
I invented the term to get my team to focus on ‘Creating their own Reality.’
Basically — I’m asking them to stop watching the news, to remove external negativity, to focus on what feels right for them.
It’s a mindset and philosophy we’re very much aligned to. As a group, we foster positivity and focus on creating prosperity. We don’t get distracted by the negative inputs that bombard us every day.
We work hard to build a new reality that the world can enjoy.
Elitium announced the integration of the DigitalBits blockchain into its platform. That means Elitium and DigitalBits users will soon be able to use XDB, as well as other DigitalBits-based assets, branded currencies, branded stablecoins, fan tokens, you name it, within the Elitium NFT Marketplace.
What do you see as the opportunities created here? And why is this so important?
We designed our platform to be compatible with any blockchain, so the niche approach from XDB and the partnership we’re building is really exciting.
It fits the diversified nature of the Elitium marketplace, helping us grow our portfolio of unique collectibles, memorabilia, and physical and digital art.
We also have every confidence that the DigitalBits Foundation can become one of the leading blockchain organizations in the world, so the opportunity to grow together is really compelling.
The Elitium platform is powered by your token, EUM? EUM appears to serve a number of functions within the platform: could you expand on those? And share your thoughts on why a blockchain-based asset is superior to traditional alternatives focusing on the same products?
EUM plays a dual role for Elitium.
On the one hand, it powers investment products like staking and masternodes, enabling clients to earn rewards in return for supporting the Elitium network.
On the other, it enables us to avoid charging fees on deposits, withdrawals, and in-platform transfers (and where a transaction does generate a fee — say, if you convert USDT to EUM — we can return this straight to the market, which refuels the ecosystem).
Better still, using EUM means we can process most transactions almost instantly, which you just can’t do if you use traditional alternatives.
Yes — EUM is an ERC-20. But we avoid gas fees by using an internal blockchain system to operate, and we use a fork of the PIVX protocol to run masternodes and power the PoS mechanism.
Elitium currently operates on the Ethereum network, correct? The platform as it stands today is feeless and powers instant operations: how do you guys go about this? And why is this so important to your users?
Yes — we’re using Ethereum.
As I mentioned earlier, our native currency and internal blockchain means we can offer instant transfers at negligible fees, which is crucial for two reasons.
Perhaps most importantly, given that our clients are making sizable investments, they want to avoid paying high-percentage fees on each one. Elitium enables that, saving clients a lot of money and allowing them to rebalance their portfolio as often as they like.
At the same time, clients want to be able to move funds quickly and seamlessly. Waiting hours — days, even — to reallocate a portfolio is not a good client experience.
Moving funds from one investment to another in a matter of seconds is.
Elitium users are able to enjoy a certain level of anonymity. Coming fresh off the Bitcoin Conference: one of the first large-scale solutions to pseudonymous transfer of value, why is it important that we maintain our financial privacy? And to that point, privacy in general?
Privacy is super important but, at the same time, things are changing fast.
Regulators and governments are demanding more information from all sides, so we’ll have to wait and see how the situation plays out.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of privacy. The more decentralization, the better.
That said, I respect that we have to work within certain bounds. Which is why we enforce a rigorous KYC process — but at the same time, we let clients spend and invest somewhat anonymously, if that’s what they want.
Whether we’ll always be able to do this, well, let’s wait and see.
Credit cards are a staple in today’s society. They help people budget, grant a plethora of rewards, and arguably provide an extra layer of protection when it comes to consumers transacting.
Would you consider issuing an Elitium credit card in the future?
Elitium has been working on a credit card concept for some time now.
We’re making strides forward, and we have some exciting potential partnerships that could really move the needle.
I can’t share a great deal, but the main takeaway is — yes, I can certainly see Elitium issuing a credit card in the not-too-distant future. And it will include plenty of client perks, spanning reward methods, cashback in gold, and an easy way for clients to spend their yield.
In essence, we see the Elitium Card as a way for clients to get free spending money for as long as they hold funds on the platform.
It’s certainly an exciting time in crypto. Lot’s of things are happening, with great people doing great things, so let’s bring things to a close by looking at your future.
What’s next in the cards for Elitium?
Well, while we’ve covered a lot of ground in a short time, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we want Elitium to become.
Yes, our v1 wealth management platform includes some exciting new opportunities for HNW investors to grow their wealth and, as I’ve just mentioned, we’ve got an Elitium Card in the works.
But we now want to build out investment offerings to give clients even more ways to diversify their wealth.
Expect products like real estate investments, index investments, even tokenized funds — while we’ve set the wheels in motion to add retail banking-like services, which we intend to follow up with specialist blockchain-focused wealth advisory.
We love how blockchain is helping firms like ours return more value to clients by automating back-end processes, but unlike most companies, Elitium doesn’t intend to cut human interaction from our business model.
On the contrary, we want to preserve our client relationships, using technology to boost the value we offer.