Startup tries to demystify blockchain technology for average users

World Today

At a recent technology expo in San Francisco, social trading company etoro convinced attendee after attendee to sign up for an account.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

This is a crowd comfortable with cryptocurrency, which is driven by the power of blockchain.

But at least 99% of the population has never made a cryptocurrency transaction. Here at the San Francisco startup Coinsource, which is trying to change that by introducing a machine that makes it simpler.

“This machine here, an ATM, we have at several hundred locations throughout the U.S. And everyday people can come up here to purchase their favorite cryptocurrency,” said Drew Rasumssen, CTO of Coinsource. “I can select which cryptocurrency I’d like to purchase. In this case I’m going to purchase Bitcoin. So I’m going to scan my wallet. I’m going to take $5 and insert the $5 into the machine.”

Typically within 15 to 30 minutes, customers are notified their cryptocurrency funds have successfully transferred.

“With a technology like Bitcoin or blockchain which is by its nature very technical, breaking down those barriers for people to utilize and bring it to them through mediums that they are used to such as an ATM, something that they’ve used all their life,” said Rasumssen.

Coinsource is working on remittance features that would ease the transfer of money between countries.
Cryptocurrency loans and bill payment features are also in the works.

“I think in five to ten years, 25% or so will be utilizing crypto in some form or fashion,” said Rasumssen. “Overall as the technical barriers to understanding and to utilizing it are broken down. It’ll become ubiquitous.”

Breaking down barriers in the online advertising world comes in the form of a blockchain-based browser called Brave.

“If we are doing our job, we don’t really have to say blockchain,” said Luke Mulks, Director of Business Development at Brave. “Look, you want a faster browser that has a cleaner experience, and you want to get something rewarded for attention, this is the browser for you.”

By using the Brave browser, users receive block-chain driven reward tokens – called BAT — for actually viewing advertisements.

Users can then use those tokens to tip content creators and charitable causes, or just plain cash out.

“If you look at what’s happened to the internet, you have Google and Facebook, kind of have a duopoly over advertising,” said Mulks. “What we are doing is saying look that publisher and that user have a very direct connection. It’s a first party to first party relationship. And what we are doing here is a building a platform where that first party to first-party relationship is honored.”

It’s unlikely one could make a living surfing on Brave, as normal viewing would result in about five dollars month.

But to Brave, that’s only one piece of the puzzle as it attempts to re-do the business model of the internet — all made possible by blockchain technology.