Cryptocurrencies are starting to become mainstream. Headline-grabbers like Bitcoin and Ethereum, along with up-and-comers like Litecoin and Dash, are increasingly attractive to consumers of all ages.
Indeed, a recent survey showed that 5 percent of those under 35 already have cash invested in cryptocurrency, and a third of millennials will invest in cryptocurrency in 2018. That said, cryptocurrencies are still complicated and volatile, and they are potentially pricing themselves out of the small payments market due to high transaction fees.
Enter Jibrel, a decentralized protocol for storing and transacting traditional assets on the Ethereum blockchain. Today, the company has announced the launch of jCash, its first tokenized financial asset to provide fiat currencies in the form of ERC-20 tokens.
Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland — colloquially known as “Crypto Valley” — Jibrel Network had the last successful ICO of 2017, closing its hard cap a month ahead of schedule on December 27.
A one-to-one backed crypto-fiat alternative to the current cryptocurrency economy structure, jCash was announced at Jibrel’s Blockchain Revolution conference in Seoul. In the first instance, jCash will include U.S. dollars (USD) and South Korean Won (KRW).
Jibrel created jCash to help solve some of the problems plaguing regular cryptocurrencies — namely, fragmentation and poor accessibility. The company hopes that jCash will help create a more sustainable ecosystem as it rolls out globally.
Does this solve the current problem of Bitcoin and other high-value cryptocurrencies charging steep fees for small transactions?
“Yes, this is one of the problems Jibrel set out to solve,” Yazan Barghuthi, project lead at Jibrel Network, told me. “Cryptocurrencies have unlocked tremendous benefits in the form of low-cost, high-speed cross-border transfer of value. That being said, recent market changes, high fees, extreme volatility, and the lack of regulation and compliance has rendered them obsolete for this exact purpose.”
Fiat currencies, on the other hand, don’t suffer from the types of regulatory concerns that follow cryptocurrencies.
“We see fiat currencies being regulated, adopted, and safe to use,” Barghuthi said. “So clearly there is a middle ground and balance to be struck. We believe we got that balance just right with jCash.”
Many believe getting cryptocurrencies into the hands of regular consumers is the key to boosting real-world transactions. But Jibrel doesn’t think that is the right approach.
“Cryptocurrencies are already unknowingly in the hands of many consumers,” Barghuthi said. “If you use a remittance or payment application, odds are you or the entity you are using is leveraging blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to facilitate low-cost, high-speed global transfers. This is how the ecosystem will develop — using the ‘tokens as a back-end’ model, where the token system is used to deliver a service, but the consumer behavior side remains unchanged.”
That approach would mean minimal changes at the point of sale.
“Using this model, we can expect blockchain and cryptocurrencies to slowly but surely begin to permeate our everyday lives, similar to the internet build-out in the ’90s and ’00s,” Barghuthi said.
Jibrel is expecting to expand jCash across the globe. From a technical perspective, jCash is a CryptoDepository Receipt (CryDR), an asset-backed token representing real-world financial assets. CryDRs have smart regulation built-in.
“jCash will include jUSD and jKRW to start, but we are building out the infrastructure to add additional currencies, commodities, and bonds in the near term,” Barghuthi said. “For each new jurisdiction and asset class, real-world regulation is translated into Solidity code and deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. While decentralized, jCash tokens always remain fully KYC/AML-compliant, as well as adhering to any rules and regulations specific to a country, jurisdiction, or regulator.”
That isn’t something that can be achieved overnight, but Jibrel is confident its approach will help make the process as comfortable as possible.
“This is the time-consuming exercise,” Barghuthi said. “Anyone can tokenize an asset. The difficult part is ensuring these assets remain fully compliant, which is our core offering at the Jibrel Network.”