Using Crypto to Build a Real-World Service

Published on
November 19th, 2018
Duration
21 minutes

Using Crypto to Build a Real-World Service

The Expert View ·
Featuring Maxine Ryan

Published on: November 19th, 2018 • Duration: 21 minutes

Do crypto technologies have a purpose beyond investment? For Maxine Ryan, co-founder and COO of Spark, the answer is clear; she is using crypto to build a cross-border payments service. Ryan discusses her technology and her company, reflects on how they fit into the broader crypto space, and discusses why the recent drop in coin prices might actually be a good thing. Filmed on November 1, 2018 at World Crypto Con in Las Vegas.

Comments

  • st
    scott t.
    19 February 2019 @ 03:45
    Worldwide house in HK is a hangout for the domestic helpers that make HK work. They have been ripped off by WU and other transmitters for decades. Tho i do hope spark has a money transmission license of sorts. Regulators have along tail.
    • DR
      David R.
      3 April 2019 @ 19:19
      It's hong kong not the USSA...... There they have reasonable regulation and per heritage.org the most free market economy in the world by far (the US is only moderately free with Americans enjoying about half the freedom of people in hong kong, and paying a lot more tax for it).
    • DR
      David R.
      3 April 2019 @ 19:56
      And you're right, it's great for the foreign domestic helpers to pay pennies instead of 10%. Same for small business. Everyone, actually, Except the banks and traditional transmitters. Gotta love disruptive technology!
  • SS
    Sean S.
    24 November 2018 @ 01:21
    They wanna create 180 'stablecoins' which is supposed to be some sort of a mirror image of a national currency. The best example of this is Tether, which supposedly has physical USD sitting somewhere in a vault to back the Tether in circulation. Tether has been growing over the years and has now reached #8 in ranking at CoinMarketCap boasting a MC of 1.8B. I would bet this is a total fraud waiting to blow up since i don't believe there is even a fraction of $1.8B sitting in a vault. Subsequent 'stablecoins' like 'Gemini coin' are also boasting some sort of a peg to the US Dollar. My question is if for decades now we have seen countless attempts and failures by countries to peg themselves to another currency, what makes these crypto entities think they can pull it off?
  • TE
    Tim E.
    23 November 2018 @ 07:28
    "At no time are funds held in crypto." What am I missing? How can you transfer in BTC then? Does she mean they have a partner to whom they lay off all the crypto volatility risk?
    • RK
      Robert K.
      24 November 2018 @ 00:34
      I think she hinted they abandoned clearing with BTC because of scalability. To have minimum confirmation of a payment you need 10 mins on average and the transaction costs are prohibitive. So what I feel they did at the end is that they used the crypto hype to catch attention and them implemented some dumbed-down solution for fast clearing.
  • ph
    phil h.
    22 November 2018 @ 05:50
    I partly own a small business in Australia trading across the pacific islands. Sometimes payments are as little as US $100 a time. Banks kill us and our customers with sometimes 15% or more in charges. Setting up accounts in each country to reduce costs is a big thankless job. Others transaction reduction methods are also complex. Basically these economies are being squeezed and strangled by large financial institutions. So, when I see this excellent video that could one day solve these issues, l am extremely interested. I considered bitcoin a few years ago but it’s far too complex. Well done. A real economic benefit. I am researching further.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      24 November 2018 @ 00:33
      Phil, have you trying using PayPal as a business party? Imagine If Maxine has to go as compliant as PayPal and put the required effort to verify their customers. I am bringing PayPal as an example since they already have superior technology to enable seamless payments between parties without the unnecessary crypto mumbo jumbo. If you are selling illegal substances or avoid taxation then of course you need to go with Maxine
    • ph
      phil h.
      27 November 2018 @ 06:35
      Hi Robert K, thanks for your message. Yes, we use PayPal and banks depending on customers profile and our banking capability inside countries. It requires constant attention (cost). Still I would prefer to see fees down at under 2% or so, where PayPal is usually over 3.5% plus heavy exchange costs (and administration both sides). For most small customers this is the best alternative. As far as I know, currently un-achievable best for us would be a simple pay local currency, exchange then receive. I think the costs should be under 2% all up. There are companies providing better than this now for a limited range of countries and currencies, so it’s achievable. While I don’t care about the technology I expect crypto based could work, it could be automated, efficient, traceable and cut out exorbitant fees. We would like to offer to small and large customers. The company that provides this will grow quickly because it will be lower cost than PayPal for small transactions and enable medium/large sized customers to use the same platform, dramatically reducing administrative cost. Let’s face it, it’s going to happen and it’s going to be a volume business with considerable add on business. It could be PayPal, but they seem unwilling to take this on at this time, probably due to current platform weakness. So please help us you crypto entrepreneurs!
  • DC
    Darren C.
    22 November 2018 @ 03:29
    I generally avoid crypto articles/videos as all I know is that like railroad and car companies of the past the great majority will fail. It was useful to have someone on to explain how they have solved a real problem for those with no bank accounts. I vote yes to more interviews with problem solvers.
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    22 November 2018 @ 00:47
    Great to hear about a real world application in this space!
  • SD
    Sebastien D.
    20 November 2018 @ 15:19
    Looking at the comments I was a bit wortied about what I'll find, but this is pretty good. Something that is not US centric and serves a real purpose other than just making. Understanding their business reactions to Bitcoin stress test last year and the technologies they are using was good. The creation of 'trustless' stablecoin contracts for fiat without using that currency at all but backing it with BTC is quite interesting concept. A lot of insights in that one in fact.
    • SD
      Sebastien D.
      20 November 2018 @ 15:22
      *other than just making money.*
  • SR
    Steve R.
    20 November 2018 @ 09:04
    World Crypto "Con" - yep, you're right on that one!
    • IO
      Igor O.
      20 November 2018 @ 19:38
      Carry on with this attitude you'll miss the boat second time.
  • PN
    Paul N.
    20 November 2018 @ 04:28
    As far as trusted stablecoins go, I don't see how the regulations forcing banks to de-risk don't eventually apply to companies issuing them. All it will take is some high profile cases of money laundering with tether or something for regulators to hunt down these accounts. As far as trustless (algorithmic) stablecoins go, Preston Byrne wrote a 3 part series on why they are doomed to fail. Worth a read for a contrarian view to Maxine's: https://prestonbyrne.com/2017/12/10/stablecoins-are-doomed-to-fail/
  • AC
    Andrew C.
    20 November 2018 @ 02:07
    I needed to transfer Rm200 to Kuala Lumpur (US$50); Banks were trying to charge $47 to make the Swift transaction making it insane for me to do it. The recipient just gave up and ate the cost himself. With all the remittances from everywhere (Middle East in particular) back to Asia, there is a huge need. You Americans need to understand the rest of the world. Good luck, Maxine. See the problem, offer a solution!
  • dd
    david d.
    20 November 2018 @ 01:04
    Cryptos are dead. When will the movie be made?
  • GF
    Gordon F.
    19 November 2018 @ 23:03
    A great presentation, but again, please voice-over the questions, rather than just flashing them up on the screen. I much prefer to just listen to "The Expert View", but not knowing what question was just asked makes it harder to follow.
    • DR
      David R.
      21 November 2018 @ 15:00
      +1
  • CB
    C B.
    19 November 2018 @ 20:08
    Good Job Maxine. You're 10 years ahead of your time
  • RE
    Richard E. | Contributor
    19 November 2018 @ 19:42
    So 180 different stable coins that I can then transfer between. Sounds a lot to me like the existing FX market? So then this is just that Blockchain is better than Swift or that Spark is cheaper than Western Union? Doesn't sound that revolutionary to me
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:09
      Everybody wants to get rich no? I think if PayPal or Visa or MC come out with something all this mumbo-jumbo will be over. Wait they already have something. Damn.
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:21
      No, it's about making enabling people & organizations to make financial transactions without having/needing a bank account, especially out-of-country. That's an increasingly big problem nowadays as over-regulated financials stifled by suffocating Western socialism are rapidly refusing and even CLOSING bank accounts of non-residents. Especially for Americans abroad and American companies, which are usually unwelcome at banks overseas today. Due to terrible US legislative overreach (eg., FATCA) and other over-regulation. No wonder US companies are shrinking in numbers, with more business failures than startups in recent years (the opposite of fast-growth regions like eastern Asia where this impressive bright young lady grew up and plies her craft). Kudos! I see she made the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:42
      @David R. I am with you and all the libertarian ideas. My problem is that we already had a solution (Bitcoin) before all the con artists like Novogratz or the Vinkelvoss chimera bros bastardized it, trying to bring it to the mainstream (by definition impossible due to government opposition). Just think about the ideas they came up with like e.g. Bitcoin ETF - truly idiotic. Governments need to have transparency which physical persons are transacting with each other. This goes against the very nature of Bitcoin.
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 21:43
      @Robert. Ok I see your point. Seems valid to me. Except I question the need for gov't transparency, because I like my privacy and not because I'm illegal. Sadly, China is building the ultimate "monitor" and "control" society, and the US and the West seem to be edging in that direction too.
    • MC
      Matthew C.
      28 November 2018 @ 12:31
      It's revolutionary of you are one the 50+ million people working overseas and sending a few hundred dollars back to support their family each month and not having to pay ~10% of that in fees
  • SS
    Steve S.
    19 November 2018 @ 19:15
    Great sales pitch. Correct me if I'm wrong but is it time RV posted a disclaimer such as 'Sponsored by Spark' if this was indeed paid for, just so the viewers know.
    • M.
      Milton .. | Founder
      19 November 2018 @ 19:59
      Hey Steve We do not run sales pitches and if we'd ever do it, we'll definitely announce it first. The only reason we’re bringing you this interview is because we find it interesting that Maxine Ryan is trying to use blockchain technology to build an actual, useful business.
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:28
      Ok but I seriously doubt this small startup of 20 year olds in Hong Kong paid to be here on RV, lol.
    • SS
      Steve S.
      20 November 2018 @ 09:52
      Thanks for the clarification Milton. Glad you are going to be totally transparent.
  • RK
    Robert K.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:59
    BS. From crypto to klepto. Let's be honest. * The only reason you create your stable coins is to create "money" out of nothing and take you cut. * The only reason you have to use "crypto" is for marketing purposes. You are admitting this yourself and later you hint on centralization and private venues - things that go against the very promise of the technology. * You seem to have some success and the major factor is probably people in China trying to get their money out of the country. RV, once again please do not spend our money on crypto.
    • MM
      Michael M.
      19 November 2018 @ 19:47
      Don't watch
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 19:53
      No Robert, they're not even in China (if you listen or read). So this has nothing to do with what you suggest. Disclaimer: I have no connection (and never have) whatsoever with this company or person.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:02
      @David R. Hong Kong is "China enough" for me.
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 21:34
      @Robert. First, I'm a skeptic of crypto and buy the views about it by MacroVoices' Eric Townsend (who BTW is now also a HK permanent resident). But to your point, sorry your accusation that this startup's purpose is for mainland Chinese to money launder just doesn't wash, pardon my pun haha. First, how do they first get cash in size into HK now? Second, nobody launders that way anymore, like nobody jets out with a briefcase of gold bullion or bond/stock certificates now. Third, look at their small transaction limits. If you consider their alleged main purpose is to enable migrant workers to transfer their meager cash pay back to their homeland, and look at the list of countries they service (ie., countries that source poor migrant workers to HK and Singapore), their purported mission seems entirely consistent with the circumstances. She found a market need and filled the niche. Good on her. We need more of this entrepreneurial spirit. Smart, multilingual, multicultural, motivated, attractive, self-made. I envy her hubby Mr Ryan, lol. Seriously tho if you'd heard the following, I think you'd see her real passion, unlike you assumed, isn't for making a fast buck, unless she's just a convincing actress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgmBvtbusaw
    • SB
      Salvatore B.
      19 November 2018 @ 22:42
      RV, please continue to spend my money on crypto
    • RK
      Robert K.
      20 November 2018 @ 12:52
      @David, this is how it is done: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-11-02/china-s-money-exodus
    • TM
      The-First-James M.
      20 December 2018 @ 15:09
      "RV, once again please do not spend our money on crypto." Strongly disagree. There is an absolute ton of content on RV now. If you don't like Crypto, simply don't watch these interviews and presentations. It's your loss...
  • DH
    Dan H.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:40
    Bring on the hashgraph team
  • MW
    M W.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:21
    Please bring on Radko Albrecht, CEO of Bitbond in Berlin - doing some amazing stuff :) https://www.bitbond.com/statistics
  • MW
    M W.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:18
    Well done Realvision! Interesting interview...however I would not be surprised if Spark moves back to Bitcoin on Lightning & Liquid network in a few years.
    • MW
      M W.
      19 November 2018 @ 18:19
      Does the Spark use-case really need a blockchain-based cryptocurrency in the end? It could also run on a secure centralized database of a traditional banking consortium...
    • MW
      M W.
      19 November 2018 @ 18:19
      People are very impatient with Bitcoin, which as not the "Move fast & break things" approach from Silicon Valley, but rather the traditional, conservative "Get it right the first time" mindset in developing this infrastructure. The growth of bitcoin users is still amazing - despite the bear market - see here: https://www.blockchain.com/charts/my-wallet-n-users?timespan=all But it takes time to build momentum because the average person doesn't understand the technology of "Money" - so how should the person understand Bitcoin?
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:04
      Dude, https://www.blockchain.com/charts/my-wallet-n-users?timespan=all is meaningless as any drug dealer can tell you new addresses are typically created for every transaction (a good practice btw).
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 20:27
      Moritz, I think the whole point of the business model is to avoid anything bank related, as well as financially repressive regimes like the globally hated Swift system which is living on borrowed time as the US gov't has weaponized it. Most recently, even America's "ally" the EU has sworn off SWIFT asap, pursuant to the Europe's big disagreement & dispute with Mr Trump over the Iranian sanctions controversy and US threat to ban EU companies from SWIFT if they don't comply. Good work, Maxie!!! She rightly made the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
  • rs
    ross s.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:15
    Why not have someone from OSTK/Medici Ventures on. They are doing amazing things...
    • SB
      Salvatore B.
      19 November 2018 @ 22:43
      I second this. Patrick Byrne would be amazing
  • RS
    Rajesh S.
    19 November 2018 @ 18:12
    Liked her view point a lot i.e. use the best part crypto to provide a value added service.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 19:08
      is everybody high here?
  • DR
    David R.
    19 November 2018 @ 15:31
    My question is, why do this in USA which increasingly suppresses entrepreneurship, is a tax hellhole/nightmare, has a dim economic future, and is almost totally irrelevant in the crypto space compared to the real crypto hotspots of the world. Such a waste of talent. Emigrate!!
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 16:00
      @ 3:45 - 3:45 and 2:08 - 2:09 she is Hong Kong. So that explains it, it's not U.S. Also, she is on the list of Forbes 30 under 30, at age 26 and co-founder of bitSpark. How do I know this? Well, to quote her, "Where does she get all her knowledge and information? Google,” she says with a laugh. https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/people-events/special-reports/topics/xxiv-2017/article/2120698/how-maxine-ryan
  • TJ
    Terry J.
    19 November 2018 @ 14:36
    Wonderful to see entrepreneurs like Spark come up with alternative payment systems using cryptos. Capitalism is alive and well when allowed to flourish without regulatory and or monopoly controlling shackles.
  • PF
    P F.
    19 November 2018 @ 14:29
    This content is not good enough to be on RV.
    • AC
      Andrew C.
      19 November 2018 @ 15:44
      Please watch Raoul's comments from a few days ago. Peace, man.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 19:09
      Totally agree PF
    • EF
      Eric F.
      20 November 2018 @ 02:53
      Jesus, if you guys don't like the content don't watch it. What makes it worse is you're spending even more time bitching on it! Sound like haters to me.
  • CM
    Carlos M.
    19 November 2018 @ 13:16
    great idea ! def a win for crypto industry.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      19 November 2018 @ 19:09
      "industry" LOL
  • LP
    Lionel P.
    19 November 2018 @ 13:08
    got stressed after 3mn, she speaks too fast unfortunately
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 15:28
      She is obviously super-smart.
    • DR
      David R.
      19 November 2018 @ 15:28
      She is obviously super-smart.