Cryptocurrency friendly startups, US-based Robinhood and UK-headquartered Revolut, both recently announced new products to increase their competition with legacy banks.
Revolut recently received a European banking license, which will enable them to rollout banking services to their 3+ million customers by early 2019. Robinhood will be offering zero-fee checking and saving services and an industry-leading 3 percent interest rate to their 6+ million customers. Robinhood was able to circumvent the banking charter process by offering services through a broker-dealer license and getting cash deposits insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $250,000.
Both of these startups are cryptocurrency friendly by offering in-app cryptocurrency exchanges to their users. Their apps, and their cryptocurrency offerings, are geared towards a younger audience that is looking for more modern and innovative ways to save, invest, and spend their wealth rather than the legacy banking system.
Innovating financial services
Overall, the financial and monetary system has not changed drastically over past few decades. There have been new derivatives created, new hedging methods, new monetary rules, changing interest rates, but overall it has been the same basic system. Cryptocurrencies provide an opportunity to radically upend that system by offering better returns, better services, changing the concept of what backs currency, combining the payment method with the currency itself, and giving more control back to individuals. These fintech startups are attempting to bring these goals to millennials that have expressed a deep dissatisfaction, and even anger, at the current financial and monetary system since the 2007/08 crisis.
However, while cryptocurrency minimizes infrastructure costs by focusing on digital technology, infrastructure is still required, nonetheless, in the form of merchant adoption, user interfaces, exchanges, and even legal structures. Very little current regulatory schemes are designed to handle cryptocurrency, which has contributed to uncertainty around the sector and even caused some individuals and bigger companies to avoid the sector. However, some lawmakers recognize the potential of the sector and the importance of letting it develop unimpeded, much like the policy framework that allowed permissionless innovation on the internet in its early life. Within the past year, Wyoming, USA has passed numerous cryptocurrency friendly bills and is currently considering even more pro-cryptocurrency bills, including bills the banking industry and other government officials oppose. One of those bills would define utility tokens as a new digital class of property, which would essentially make them tax-free. Caitlin Long, an industry leader and proponent of the bills, expressed enthusiasm that due to these bills, the “IRS can’t get anything out of the state of Wyoming”.
Dash helps achieve this revolution in finance and money
While Dash might not be included in either Robinhood’s or Revolut’s trading platform, yet, it is still finding significant success among individuals looking for an alternative to the current financial and monetary system. There are over 4,000 merchants that accept Dash worldwide and even more once one factors in the ability to buy gift cards with Dash, such as on Bitrefill, to patron merchants that do not directly accept cryptocurrency.
Not only focused on radical technological innovation, Dash is also fixated on making the adoption process as easy as possible since switching costs play a significant role in adopting new technology even if the technology is superior. Dash has countless online forums and chat groups to help individuals with using Dash, but so does every other cryptocurrency. Dash improves upon online help by having numerous in-person communities to bridge the gap between walk-in bank services and online cryptocurrencies. Dash Help, which primarily serves Latin America, but recently expanded to serve English speakers is one of these groups. Plus, Dash prides itself on making user friendly solutions such as the newly overhauled Dash Docs to provide a one stop solution center. Additionally, Dash plans to make a very user-friendly interface with the coming releases of Evolution. Much like heavily funded and praised startups, Dash is striving to offer alternatives to the current financial and monetary system, but is achieving real world usage and adoption in a decentralized manner.