Meet People Where They Are
TL;DR: Swarm’s issuance tech can be used to issue digital securities on Ethereum, Stellar, and now Tron. Swarm’s fundraising module supports over 50 cryptocurrencies and over 30 fiat currencies. Use what you want. And if none of that means anything to you, we’re working our way to meet you where you are.
Today we’re pleased to announce that we’re working with the team at Tron to bring security tokens to the Tron blockchain, and to expand the uses of their TRX and USDT-TRON cryptocurrencies to include being used to invest into security tokens. As A. A. Milne put it, “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Words of wisdom from Winnie The Pooh? That’s right. Sometimes in all the complexities of people, technology, and the intersection of the two, we can forget about the most basic building blocks of community.
At Swarm, we are builders of open financial infrastructure. It’s a not-so sexy job, but we think it can help democratize investing so we’re doing it. We’re building products and infrastructure, but we’re also building relationships. And by “relationships” I don’t mean we’re seeking to become the project with the most announced partnerships. Someone else can claim that title. I mean we’re working tirelessly to understand the people who might directly and indirectly use our infrastructure: who they are, what they care about, and how to deliver value to them.
One of the biggest things we learned over the course of our first year since going live with our platform was something that, in hindsight, is so obvious — just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. We built some of the first tech for the tokenization of real world assets. We did it on our own blockchain. We got over 40,000 (real) people to sign up for our platform. And yet, until late 2018, almost nobody actually used it to invest into anything.
We changed this when we worked to meet people where they are. For issuers, this meant finding a way to lower, if not eliminate, barriers to entering the space and charge no upfront fees. For investors, this meant flexibility on the currencies they can use to invest via our fiat gateway powered by MercuryFX (enabling investors to use over 30 different fiat currencies as they participate in fractional ownership). These changes led to the first successful STO on Swarm’s tech. TheArtToken has raised $16M+, and is still one of the only on-chain STO fundraising successes the world has seen. This doesn’t mean Swarm is winning. It means nobody is winning. The space is tiny and we all need to work to meet people where they are if we want to grow it.
For Swarm this means blockchain/DLT agnosticism, and focusing on our core strengths. We’ve moved away from our proprietary blockchain. It served us well, but added too much friction. Issuing on Ethereum made our integration with OpenFinance, among others, much more straightforward. And our focus is providing the infra for issuance and compliant transfer. The notion of an “end-to-end” platform is a myth. Nobody can do this by themselves. Since we announced our pivot earlier this year we’ve found that projects who once considered us competitors, and many who didn’t know what to consider us, now see opportunities to integrate and collaborate.
Oh, and in case you were wondering — underneath it all is the SWM token. SWM fuels the Swarm Masternodes, SWM is staked by all issuers (regardless of the blockchain on which their security tokens reside), and SWM is used to govern the future of Swarm. Some personalities entrenched in the bubble of CryptoTwitter™ may bristle at the notion of a token supported economy, insisting vehemently that this inevitably introduces friction for users, but the reality is that a well-designed token economy incentivizes all participants, while eliminating the need for the average user to interact with the utility token at all. When done right, it’s just there, largely unseen, doing its thing. The vast majority of use cases never need to interact directly with the SWM token unless they want to. While DIY expert mode is always an option, service solutions exist to handle whichever pieces you don’t care to understand or do yourself — custody, exchange, investor relations, whatever.
We believe that flexibility and choice are key to democratizing finance, and we believe that we’ll get much further, much faster, when we find ways to connect communities and build together.