COVID-19: How Is The Crypto And Blockchain Sector Faring?
Experts say that with the Facebook-Jio merger, there might be an upsurge in the growth of cryptocurrencies in India. Additionally, Reliance Jio Infocomm has pledged to develop the biggest blockchain network in the world.
As of now, we have seen only startups to be involved in cryptocurrencies and blockchain, however, experts believe that with Reliance and Facebook’s entry in the blockchain market, this could be a gamechanger.
Also, WhatsApp has been trying to enter the payments space in India, that has a user base of approximately 400 million. How is the blockchain market holding up amid this pandemic but? Also, do these rainy days involves being skeptical, or is there going to be an upsurge?
Express Computer’s Gairika Mitra strives to get answers to these questions from Nicolas Cary, Co-Founder & Vice Chairman at Blockchain.com.
How important is it for people to understand crypto? What is the unique approach taken by Blockchain.com?
Creating clarity in crypto is important to us. For many, Blockchain.com is the very first touchpoint into this new financial system. We think it’s really important that people understand what crypto is and the power of owning their own financial future.
Led by engineers and product people, Blockchain.com focuses on designing, building, testing, and shipping user-friendly products:
- Blockchain.com Explorer: Our first and original product is still the world’s most popular bitcoin website of all time. The Explorer allows users in a reliable manner to check the status of any transaction.
- Blockchain.com Wallet: Blockchain.com offers the world’s most widely used wallet for digital currencies. We build iOS, Android and web wallets for tens of millions of crypto enthusiasts globally. Our Wallet makes it simple and easy for anyone in the world to securely send, receive, and manage top cryptos like bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ether. In fact, Blockchain.com’s wallet is a software wallet that provides infrastructure to empower our users to be their own bank. We don’t hold users funds, or have access to them. With the USD Digital, a crypto pegged 1:1 with USD, many are able to now have access to a stable, digital dollar for the very first time.
- Indians can now ‘Borrow’ USD against crypto, directly from the Blockchain.com Wallet, for the first time ever. Users can now borrow USD Digital stablecoins against their Bitcoin, with support for Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Stellar coming soon. In doing so, Blockchain.com becomes the first major cryptocurrency platform to offer lending directly to everyday consumers. It is currently available to all users across 180+ countries with the exception of the UK and Canada. By offering the retail market access to the same liquidity pool as institutional investors, the firm aims at addressing the shortage of USD on both sides of the crypto market.
- Developer Platform: Blockchain provides the most built upon API in the ecosystem. Thousands of developers have used our APIs to build a huge array of products and decentralized applications. Blockchain.com recently released the Trading API so traders can build trading bots and program algorithmic trading 24/7.
- The Blockchain.com Exchange: It is the first microsecond-latency crypto exchange . The institutional-grade platform fills the void for a reliable, fast, and liquid marketplace where all investors can trade more for their money. After extensive R&D, the custom ‘Mercury’ matching engine delivers speeds a quantum faster than any other crypto exchange.
- The Exchange is available to users in over 180 countries, offers top trading pairs, leverages an expansive global banking network to facilitate deposits, withdrawals, and fiat-to-crypto trading in USD, EUR, GBP and TRY. Blockchain.com Exchange Pro has been built for institutions, corporates and traders in a customised manner.
These are difficult times. What makes the crypto sector bullish?
The crypto industry and its workforce has also been less impacted as it is primarily based around software development. Many crypto teams already worked remotely or are more easily able to do so. In fact our team originally started completely remote so in many ways, we’ve gone back to our roots. Crypto industry productivity and revenues have been relatively less impacted than other sectors of the economy.
Crypto prices were not immune to the mid-March economic fears surrounding Covid-19, when nearly every asset sold-off except global reserve assets like US dollars and Treasuries. Even traditional safe havens such as gold dropped in value, and the price performance of bitcoin in this type of acute liquidity crunch was expected.
The concerns over COVID-19 and the nearly certain prospect of future viruses will provide a secular boost to digital currency, crypto assets, and other uses of blockchain technology. Quarantines and prohibitions on using physical cash are further fueling declining use of banknotes and coins, and driving calls for increased use of digital and contactless payments. The virus is demonstrating the value of alternative and redundant-backup systems for critical infrastructure, such as storing and moving value. There is also a boost to the adoption of many non-currency uses of blockchain technology, such helping people navigate fake news, food supply chain tracking, and e-voting.
How does Blockchain.com bank on technology?
We utilize a variety of technology across our products and infrastructure. For example: we use JAVA on our backend but also use some clojure and node for smaller backend systems. Our frontend is AngularJS and our database is MySQL. The Blockchain Wallet is available on iOS, Android and Web. If you’re interested, here are the current frameworks we use:
iOS: Storyboards, JSBridgeWebView
Android: gradle, bitcoinJ, apache commons, Junit
Web: AngularJS, NPM, NodeJS, Travis, ES6, Jasmine (for tests), BitcoinJS, Bootstrap
Could you give us an insight into the milestones achieved by Blockchain.com so far?
The first few months of 2020 have already etched their place in the history books for Blockchain.com. While there’s a lot to say about what’s happening at a macro level, listed below are some of the key milestones achieved:
- Saw 2.413M wallets created, bringing the total number of wallets to 47M+
- Served nearly 70M pageviews on the Blockchain.com Explorer
- Successfully completed our second Airdrop with Blockstack, dispersing Stacks tokens to over 300k Wallets
- Weathered market volatility
- Rolled out a better crypto buying experience in the Wallet across 28 countries
- Enabled users to borrow cash against their crypto collateral
- Improved the UX across Web, iOS, and Android
- Launched new charts on the Explorer
- Created a ‘Market Signals’ section
How important do you think is it for people to rely on technology? Are there any major follies per se?
What makes technology so powerful is its ability to connect people across the world with products, services and people unlike ever before. In the case of the current financial system, online banking tools empower users to control their money right from their smartphones. It’s borderless, available 24/7 and easy to use. It’s always helpful to remember that technology is a tool to enhance your life and should be used appropriately.
What makes the Blockchain.com team unique?
Meaningful Impact: Team members at Blockchain.com are able to make a meaningful change in the lives of over a third of the world’s population who, at the moment, don’t have the luxury of a stable financial market, currency or access to financial services. Engineers have taken it one step further by not only pushing the gauge on Blockchain products but also working on open source projects that are benefiting the bitcoin ecosystem and community as a whole.
Pioneer new technology: Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the way value is exchanged. The team is at the forefront of that change. For engineers, in particular, that means an opportunity to work on the new internet and pioneering change globally.
Dissolving Boundaries: Far from being limited by one’s role, individuals at Blockchain.com are encouraged to pursue work in areas that are of interest and to evolve one’s skills set across a variety of projects.
Any word of advice to sail through the tough times?
If there’s anything that COVID-19 has shed light on in the recent month is that there are a multitude of problems that need to be solved. If you’re inspired and passionate then I encourage you to engage and participate! When you stay focused and true to yourself, you’ll succeed.