Bitspark is a bankless money transfer company that helps you convert cash to cryptocurrency, globally.
The journey to the moon is long, dark, and cold. Many set out with ambition but failed to survive the cold reality of what it took to make it. However, there is hope for those still hanging on as the deep freeze of crypto winter is beginning to thaw.
Crypto winter is almost over
The crypto world has gone through many different phases of booms and busts as interest surged and waned. The euphoria of 2016 and 2017 definitely marked one of the highest points in the relatively short history of blockchain technology and the crypto industry.
Back then, it seemed anyone with a whitepaper could snap up millions of dollars in a matter of seconds. One of the most striking examples is still open-source web browser Brave, which raised $35 million in 30 seconds during their ICO in 2017. That was in the summertime, and the season soon changed after that.
In 2018, the hype around blockchain ventures slowly started to fade. With it, funding for investments dried up and speculators sold much of their crypto portfolio. Bitcoin tanked from $19,758 during its highpoint on 17 December 2017 to $3,254 exactly one year later. That’s a steep 80% drop. Similar trends were seen across most of the other top cryptocurrencies including ETH, XRP, LTC and so on.
The downward trend is referred to as crypto winter. Everyone went through it and only a few companies managed to survive. In fact, every emerging technology goes through the same cycle as the Gartner Hype Cycle explains. An explosion of hype is followed by disinterest, and if the technology finds real use cases, interest returns but then guided by different principles and attitudes – serious consideration, not frenzied spending.
That’s where we find ourselves now. Interest has returned and companies that survived crypto winter because they have a skilled team, real use case, and simply a great product or service, are there to reap the benefits of springtime.
Despite a major $41 million hack in May 2019 - the 6th biggest in crypto history - Binance is still going strong and remains the biggest centralised crypto exchange by trading volume. The crypto exchange has maintained its momentum during the crypto winter and the business continues to extend and diversify, with plans to launch its own blockchain and DEX.
Payment service provider Bitpay, one of the largest in the world, is still in the game. They now work with over 30 e-commerce and point of sale integrators to promote the use and acceptance of bitcoin. The company achieved record growth in 2017, remained profitable in 2018, and is looking forward to a bright 2019 as they continue to sign up new business that accept bitcoin payments.
One of the latest companies to accept cryptocurrency payments through a partnership with Bitpay is Avnet, one of the world’s largest distributors of electronic components and services.
While many crypto money transfer start-ups have entered the game in the past, today there aren’t many left standing. But the crypto winter was not enough to slow Bitspark down, and it has been a very busy time indeed. More than 100,000 cash out locations are connected to the global cash-in cash-out network. Plus, 2 new stablecoins have been launched and added to the list: peg.PHP tied to the Philippine Peso and Sparkdex.HKD pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar.
In partnership with Okra Solar, Bitspark’s PHP stablecoin is used by the communities of Palawan in the west of the Philippines to pay for their solar-powered electricity bills – in an area where it wasn’t easy for these communities to pay for commercial services such as power. They now have a way to pay for their bills using the peg.PHP stablecoin, which, together with other crypto and stablecoins, is also traded on Bitspark’s very own purpose-built decentralised exchange SparkDEX.
Despite the colder climate, crypto exchange Coinbase managed to secure another $300 million in Series E funding in 2018. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage service now has a market valuation up to $8 billion.
Even though it had to axe its project of building a new high-frequency trading platform – resulting in a multi-million dollar loss – Coinbase said it had made “enormous progress (20x)” scaling their existing matching engine, and the company is expanding into other countries. Reuters calculated the exchange brought in over $500 million in revenues in 2018.
Peer-to-peer payment network Circle also received a big investment – a $110 million Series E raise. According to the company’s CEO, the funding is part of a large reorganisation project within the firm, designed to make the service offering more complete.
Circle has always offered its consumer-focused payments app at the extreme consumer end of the spectrum, with its institutional investor OTC trading service on the very other end of the spectrum. To fill in the gap between the two, Circle teamed up with SeedInvest and moved into the tokenised assets space with its newly created retail investment product. As the CEO put it, this is not only about rebalancing a lopsided product offering, but also to create “a radically more open, global and inclusive financial world”.
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Bitspark is a bankless money transfer ecosystem that enables businesses and people to cash in and cash out cryptocurrencies across Asia and Africa.