Despite the rapid proliferation of cryptocurrencies, the vast majority of global citizens still deal with hard cash. On a daily basis, we send money to family and friends all over the world. Yet all of us experience common shortcoming associated with the speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of everyday fiat transactions.
Many fintech experts would argue that the pace of innovation in the cash transfer industry has been in a state of dormancy for a number of years. Consumers have been adversely impacted, often enduring outrageous transaction costs of up to 20 percent, often on top of hidden exchange fees.
Questions abound as to why a person seeking to transfer $500.00 in cash to a friend in another country end up paying upwards of $100.00 right off the top? Why do money transfer companies in this high-tech age utilize such archaic models? Aren’t their cutting edge solutions that can boost the efficiency of these transfers?
What is needed is a fresh approach that bridges the new and old worlds of currencies - an easy-to-use system that provides millions with access to cash in their native countries. Enter Cashaa, a London-based company that capitalizes on the revolutionary power of blockchain technology to fuel a new normal in the cash transfer industry.
In this exclusive interview, CEO Kumar Guarav offers a look into his path to co-founding Cashaa, what the company is, and it’s game changing, blockchain-centric solution to global cash transfers.
First, a little about your journey to co-founding Cashaa.
It started when I decided to quit my job to explore the world and study management. I found myself amazed as to why companies charged so much for converting one form of money to another. The fact that consumers lose at least 10-12 percent each time made me a bit annoyed. It was around this time that I connected with some extreme believers in bitcoin, most of them are traders that were trying to price speculate and make money.
What did you discover from this experience?
I started using a P2P bank transfer system, which was a great idea in terms of lowering the huge fees associated with moving money from bank to bank account. It was through this experience that I realized how huge the cash to cash market segment is, the fact that it is worth at least $300 billion every year, yet still poorly serviced.
Most people are paying crazy service and exchange rate fees, and technology is not helping at all. So I decided to create a team to begin studying how to make the cash to cash market work more efficiently using the blockchain technology, all in a way that is mutually beneficial for both cash senders and cryptocurrency traders.
What makes Cashaa so unique and how does it work?
Cashaa is unique in many ways for those who engage with the Cashaa network. In short, Cashaa is a P2P marketplace powered by the Blockchain to transfer cash anywhere in the world. Cashaa's model is predicated on connecting individuals who wish to send and receive money anywhere in the world, with cryptocurrency traders and others in the network. The goal is to facilitate the transfer of physical cash from a sender in one location to a recipient in another location, through the sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies.
Can you discuss how the process works?
Money transfer requests are selected and matched through a live bidding process via a cryptocurrency trader. There is no fee charged to the cash sender or to the receiver and all transfers are based on real exchange rates, without any tricks or hidden fees. While our current beta version of Cashaa is powered by Bitcoin traders, the platform is cryptocurrency neutral and will eventually operate through whatever digital currency or token traders prefer, such as Ripple tokens or Ether.
And what is the foundational model that drives all of this?
Our model is like an Airbnb or Uber which does not own their own units. Similarly, we don’t own the traders, they are individuals joining with their own interests. Our traders are considered hosts who are accepting cash in exchange for their cryptocurrencies. Traders on our platform can get the best rate at their agreed price, make money through speculation and benefit from arbitrage.
Is Cashaa globally accessible?
Yes. It works in every country and with every currency, locally and internationally via our network. Money transfer can occur 24/7 with transparent exchange rates that are completely P2P without the use of any banks, FX exchanges or companies who have dominated this sector due to their huge cash portfolios. Cash deliveries are available anytime, anywhere and are completely free.
What countries have you seen the highest levels of interest and adoption?
We are seeing interest from all parts of the world and continue to receive partnership offers from countries like Mexico, Brazil, China, Nigeria and many others. To test our prototype we selected some of the high cash carrying markets in Asia like Indonesia and Philippines where we acquired more than 10,000 traders who exchanged more than $1.5 million for 2099 BTC during our beta test. For the moment Cashaa’s network is only opened for Bitcoin Traders (Btc2bid.com) who are making money through speculation. They will soon have access to the complete feature.
What sorts of emerging trends are you seeing with the overall blockchain landscape in the UK where Cashaa is headquartered?
The UK government is maybe the world’s most advanced in terms of the implementation of blockchain services. The recently launched blockchain platform-as-a-service - that resulted from a partnership with Credits - enables all levels of government to build their own blockchain-based services.
One of the broader trends that we’re seeing involves blockchain use cases in sectors with often a faster adoption than those found in fintech. Energy, insurance, and healthcare appear to be the most promising of these sectors.
What are your greatest hopes in terms of Cashaa's evolution over the next 12-18 months?
We are hoping to grow our business model and increase the reachability of our value proposition through a significant number of send money requests as well as interested traders who bid on and complete them. We are in the process of engaging a number of different partners to work on delivery methods whose uniqueness and cost-effectiveness will revolutionize the cash transfer industry.
We are also seeking ways to test our built-in system of uncompleted transactions settlements. Most importantly we are looking to expand our community of the number of people who are tired of losing money through high exchange rates and fees when they transfer money. That’s the essence of what we’re ultimately here for.