From consumer payments in BTC to a blockchain phone: here are 5 highly- anticipated crypto products launching in late 2019 to early 2020
As the crypto market matures, we’re seeing a fundamental shift from dubious ICOs to actual releases of crypto products that offer real value: from licensed payment services, regulated derivatives, secured loans, to smartphones that can host blockchain nodes – it seems like we’re finally at a point where digital assets can become as respectable as fiat money products. In this post, we’ll cover five of the most promising recent and upcoming releases.
1) Bakkt consumer payments app
Release: 1st half of 2020
You might know Bakkt as the crypto trading platform for institutional investors. Indeed, the company, which is presently valued at over $700 million, is the industry leader in Bitcoin futures trading. This is largely due to it being licensed with the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
However, institutional trading in derivatives isn’t Bakkt’s sole focus anymore. According to Chief Product Officer Mike Blandina, the firm will release a consumer app in Q1-2 2020. The app will enable crypto payments across a network of partner merchants. The press release stresses low transaction costs and fast settlement times. The first merchant to join is Starbucks, so it seems like soon you’ll be able to pay for your coffee in Bitcoin via the Bakkt app. You can already sign up for early access.
2) CoinsPaid Wallet
Release: Q4 2019
CoinsPaid is known as a leading crypto gateway service for the iGaming industry. In 2018, its processing service for crypto exchanges became the first in the industry to be successfully audited by Kaspersky Labs. CoinsPaid currently facilitates payments in 50+ digital currencies for over 200 online casinos and betting sites, processing almost $150 million worth of transactions last year.
The new CoinsPaid Wallet builds on the company’s expertise in payment processing. It features instant transactions, mass payments, and zero fees on all internal operations. Users will be able to convert between dozens of crypto currencies inside the wallet, with a large liquidity pool ensuring competitive conversion rates. Crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto exchange with 15 fiat currencies will be available for verified customers. Safe storage is guaranteed by a Kaspersky-audited security framework. In the first half of 2020, CoinsPaid plans to add a card acquiring services: wallet users will have the opportunity to buy crypto using their bank cards. The next step is issuing branded cards with linked individual accounts.
3) Iconic Bitcoin ETNs
Release: December 2019
While the SEC is still reluctant to approve Bitcoin ETFs (exchange-traded funds), there is an alternative way to introduce regulated crypto derivatives to traditional exchanges. Frankfurt-based startup Iconic is seeking an approval with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Luxembourg to list a Bitcoin ETN – exchange-traded notes.
Unlike ETFs, ETNs are fully backed by their issuers. If approved by the regulator, Iconic Bitcoin notes will trade on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Luxembourg. The ETNs will have their own International Securities Identification Number. All Bitcoins to back the notes will be bought through Coinbase.
If successful, BTC ETNs can serve as a stepping stone to true crypto ETFs. For now, it’s quite likely that European – and not American – stock exchanges will be the first to list crypto derivatives.
4) Dharma DeFi Smart Wallet
Released: October 2019
Dharma wallet allows users to earn an interest on their crypto deposits. The new DeFi (decentralized finance) app uses Compound Protocol – a blockchain framework that connects crypto borrowers and lenders. Compound already powers such community-built apps as Coinbase Wallet, Zerion, Huobi Wallet, and Argent.
At first, Dharma Smart Wallet will support USD Coin (USDC) and MakerDAO’s DAI tokens (also pegged to $1). Initially, Dharma was planning to include Ethereum, but later decided to focus on stablecoins for the time being. All USDC and DAI deposited in the Smart Wallet will be loaned out, with each loan being collateralized and secured by a smart contract. Deposits in DAI will earn users 6.9% in interest, while those in USDC will yield 4.3%. Over $1.5 million was already deposited during the beta phase.
5) HTC Exodus 1s cryptophone
Released: October 2019
HTC made headlines in 2018 with its first-ever blockchain smartphone, Exodus 1. However, the device was a bit pricey for many users, costing BTC 0.15 (though now it’s available for $700). In order to attract a wider audience, HTC has just launched Exodus 1s – a much more affordable gadget at circa $250.
The hardware specs aren’t that impressive, with only one rear camera and 4 GB of RAM, although the phone does have 64 GB of storage space. However, it’s the crypto-related features that make it stand out. The phone doubles as a hardware wallet and features the latest cryptography. Users can securely manage their dApp keys thanks to the Zion private vault, stored separately from the OS. Additionally, those willing to pay for an extra 400 GB microSD card can even store their own full Bitcoin node on the phone.
Even though Facebook’s Libra and Telegram’s TON are facing serious issues, the crypto industry as a whole is going full-throttle ahead. With major new products focusing on security and compliance, mass adoption could be closer than we think.