Sebastián Serrano: South American Decentralized Credit Networks Comingbr>
Sebastian Serrano is the founder of Ripio, a cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer credit network. In this interview, he talks about the challenges of growing a business in Latin America, the importance of financial education, and about the first credits and mortgages in cryptocurrencies.
Cripto247: What’s new in Ripio for 2019?
Serrano: Continue expanding throughout the region, today we have operations in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, the largest countries, and we are about to launch in Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Chile, where we are already disembarking.
Cripto247: What are the main challenges of growing in a region that is not known to be economically developed?
Serrano: There are several edges. The infrastructure is much lower, most of the people are not banked and it involves developing mechanisms so that people can access to be able to buy or load their local currency wallet with creative ways.
In addition, so is the lack of financial education. We have the double challenge: not only generate the tools so that people can start to join the digital economy, infrastructure to work and exchange value with anyone in the world, but also there is a lot of work committed to education and the communication of this new technology.
Cripto247: How do you handle it?
Serrano: We have a team of eight people who are creating content all the time and studying how to make that journey of the users, to inform and educate themselves about how this technology can be used, which is a bigger and bigger universe.
That generates a challenge and is very changeable . We are working on a next version of the application and the web that will work a lot on this. We believe that it is the challenge to move from the niche that is today to mainstream. Today we are in 250,000 users, to reach two million, the educational challenge is many more.
Cripto247: Ripio recently started giving credits. How does that come?
Serrano: We are very happy with this, it is progressing a lot. It is not that we are giving credits in a traditional way, in which we use capital in the company or information, or financing through the banking system. What we are doing is the first decentralized credit network in which we use smart contracts on the ethereum blockchain to generate what are the first credit contracts using smart contracts that the world saw. This takes a lot of study because it was never done before. There are already four versions of the protocol in which we have been iterating and learning a lot about how to interact with the blockchain of what is needed. In August we launched a dapp ,a decentralized application so that lenders, or investors, from all over the world can capitalize these credits and that is working very well.
Now we are working on what is going to be the next version, much more flexible, and we believe that it will be possible to represent any type of credit with the engine we are building. One of those first things we could do is an integration with Decentraland , another project with a lot of presence in Buenos Aires, a virtual world that is completely registered on the Ethereum blockchain.
Crypto247: Tell us a little more about what this is about.
Serrano: It would be like a kind of Second Life, a virtual world where you can generate all kinds of content and market it.
Crypto247: It’s a game, right?
Serrano: It is a virtual reality game that experiments with transactions and real-life operations, especially the real estate market, only that the property within this game is registered as non-fungible tokens.
Crypto247: A non-fungible token has this feature that one does not look like the other. In the real world it happens many times, one field is not worth the same as another in a better location.
Serrano: Until now, we have been doing things that are fungible with blockchain technology. First with bitcoin, then ethereum, the tokens were all fungible. I give you a bitcoin, you give me back a bitcoin, and they are worth the same.
But when we want to start registering assets in the blockahain that are unique – pieces of art, collectible items or these plots of the virtual world – we speak of non-fungible tokens. They have a technological development that emerged this year and allows that registration in the blockchain of unique things.
In an integration that we made with Decentraland, it is a very special type of contract, it is the first virtual mortgage using intelligent contracts in which we connect Decentraland with RCN. We allowed to buy land in the virtual world making an advance of 10% of the total value and financing the rest through RCN, requesting a loan to the network. On the other hand, someone contributes the remaining 90% and that plot becomes the property of the intelligent contract. The smart contract gives the property to the person who is being financed. This person can create their virtual property, upload content, etc. If it enters into default, the smart contract is executed and automatically transfers the property to the person who contributed the capital. This is completely decentralized, without the need for intermediaries of any kind.
Today it works like a game, but it allows us to think and experience what a real estate operation would be like through intelligent contracts in the real world. Eventually we will reach a point where we will begin to register real and tangible assets in the blockchain since without doubt all the assets will have the possibility of being “tokenized”. * In this sense, this integration seems to us one of the most fascinating things we have done.
This story was originally published in Spanish at Cripto247