Amid the 2017 backdrop of in-fighting between rival crypto camps, exchange closures with allegations of insider trading, and the ever present government creep, there's a project that has until now gone largely unnoticed.
And it may just be the promised "disruption" of the banking industry that many crypto-proponents have long foretold.
Decentralized banking. What is it and can it possible work?
First check out their promo video to get a quick idea of what they're offering:
I spent some time doing due diligence via the whitepaper and intertubes to learn more about this exciting idea and am currently in a rabbit hole.
Who is Arise?
Founded in 2016 and currently headed up by Jared Rice, Arise bank is unusual in that it already has a working platform and suite of products, albeit in Beta.
Further, they're making big moves. In mid-December the Arise team announced they'd reached an agreement to acquire a century-old FDIC-insured bank. Let that sink in for a moment and you'll start to see that this could be the start of a really big deal.
With this acquisition, Arise Bank will be able to offer their customers aTM services, debit/credit cards, POS for merchants to accept any of about 700 Cryptocurrencies and even more.
But as gift with purchase, Arise Bank also acquired a decades-old Investment Bank in order to facilitate the creation of a global trading house. With that acquisition they will be able to offer products such as ai-guided automated trading accounts, low-to-free fee structures dependent upon activities, and again more.
To cement this stack, Arise made a decision to partner with Bitshares to enable them to leverage the power of the most efficient financial blockchain platform in the market.
And to get even a little more wild, they're building out their own hardware wallet.
This decentralized banking movement is making a strong play.
While we may not know much about Arise Bank now, you can be sure that they will be dominating headlines throughout 2018 with their first-of-a-kind offering.
So what are they offering exactly?
Because their catalogue of products is so vast, I'm going to cover it over a number of posts so that each product can get the attention it deserves. And so this post will serve as a general overview and starting point as I tumble down the Arise Bank Rabbit Hole.
At a high level, Arise bank offers two types of accounts:
- Fully decentralized: If you are interested in only trading crypto or converting it, this account will allow you to do so, purportedly without any KYC/AML.
- Semi-decentralized: To transact in any way with Fiat you will need to undergo some KYC/AML.
Important to note is that Arise is offering a product for secure and trustless identity verification that meets KYC/AML regulations named AriseID. I will do a deeper dive about AriseID in a subsequent post, but basically it is a blockchain-based verification service that happens mostly within your mobile so that even Arise does not know you, really.
This is the same process that you currently do to sign up to exchanges or services like bitpay, except in this case you get access to a variety of onramp/offramp fiat options and the ability to accept hundreds of different tokens in your business and have them convert upon deposit to their choice of value, whether that's USD, BTC, or Doge. Mmmm... Doge.
The AriseBank platform gives users the option to operate in a decentralized format
where only cryptocurrencies are used or in a semi-decentralized environment, if
fiat and the use of credit cards and bank accounts are needed. The choice is
ultimately up to the user but a user’s cryptocurrency balance is always in control
of the user on their computers or private servers, no matter the scenario.
The Current Offering includes:
- aBank: The name of the platform that enables the software.
- AriseID: A verification platform that allows AriseBank to comply with existing KYC/AML regulations without having to know who you are. Only needed for semi-decentralized accounts (i.e., merchants, fiat-to-crypto)
- aEx: The exchange platform where digital assets can be traded. Cash/credit/debit for crypto is also enabled here for semi-decentralized accounts.
- aiExchanger: An AI-based digital asset trader option! You will be able to use this option to trade on the volatility of the cryptoeconomy by leveraging the power of the algorithm they've developed. This is a fascinating option that I look forward to experimenting with.
- aTransfer: You can send value instantly to any other arise account for no fees. While that's already impressive, you'll also be able to instantly spend the digital assets you've received!
- aPay: An ecommerce solution that will allow websites and POS merchants to accept the top 700 currencies instantly. My questions here will revolve around the ability of the merchant to automate the conversion process to a preselected currency/currencies of their choice.
- Coinsecure: A fully integrated service that aims to protect your account from theft.
- AriseCard: Swipe anywhere VISA is accepted, with no fees. It's coupled with a virtual mobile card that can be used at NFC points.
This list can actually go on to include the available developer tools (it's a lot lot) and details about the token/s themselves, but the interesting structure they have developed deserves a deeper dive. But as a teaser: They have something called "expiring tokens" alongside their permanent tokens.
Can it work?
There is technically nothing preventing this from moving forward provided they continue to ensure all existing regulations keeps the government at bay.
Given the ongoing tax discussions and actions, I anticipate that AriseBank will generate a fair amount of controversy.
Arise made a smart decision by developing a platform that cannot prevent the creation of decentralized accounts. If the community support that seems to exist for AriseBank continues, crypto folk that prefer to remain anonymous in their crypto-to-crypto trading could have a very secure and decentralized platform to utilize.
And by also understanding the fiat needs of the people they may have stumbled onto a superior identity verification platform that will streamline the user experience across the products and services within the Arise ecosystem.
Will money be an issue?
With only a few days left until the end of the Presale the ICO has easily blown past the presale soft cap of $100M with $358M raised so far. This is more than halfway to their hard cap of $500M. Impressive, considering that the public sale has yet to start.
Ideally, Arise says they will need $1B in order to smoothly launch the bank and instantly begin offering these products. Judging by the way the pre-sale has gone, I don't imagine it will be difficult for them to reach their goal.
Americans are unfortunately unable to participate in this ICO, an ironic fact that only underlines how much a solution like AriseBank is needed. While I can't participate in the ICO I will still follow it (maybe I'll get lucky and get an invite for the beta, hint hint) because this is the direction that crypto was always taking us, we just never imagined what it would look like exactly.
As a first-mover I anticipate that AriseBank has a great chance to become a foundational pillar in the new age of banking. Even better, their success is sure to spawn other decentralized banking institutions that will allow this budding industry to self-regulate and innovate through healthy competition that enriches all.
Of course any new venture must pass the sniff test, as scams are just a reality in this industry. When I researched any controversies that might exist in relation to AriseBank I definitely saw a lot that created doubt.
I think it is important to do your own research in this space so please understand that this opinion is just my own.
I do not believe there is a scam here. There is, however, enough material to unpack to warrant its own post.
If you want a succinct response from Jared himself, check out this FB response post:
Click the link to check out the whole post because it also has links that address some of those concerns.
With an idea this ambitious, we can be assured that many eyes will be fixed on AriseBank to see what happens next.
Why I'm Really Excited
Consider the issues that the Cannabis industry has had in regards to banking services in the United States. The discrimination of the existing financial structure has precluded a budding industry from realizing its full potential. Worse still, these politically motivated agendas have put business owners at physical risk as a result of their cash situation.
An AriseBank could contribute to resolving the banking woes in the Cannabis Industry. I imagine these would be the first companies to adopt the POS systems that would seamlessly move between fiat and, say, POT, THC, or HEMP coin.
Can you say Crypto-Cannabis boom? And that's just one industry.
If you're reading this there is a high probability that you have a bank account with one of the major banking houses.
The information you give them is centralized and often stolen by hackers. You receive zero interest on that account and often have to juggle things like X card swipes per month to avoid monthly maintenance fees. It's pretty awful.
But with Arise, it seems you'd go through verification once, in an encrypted manner that Arise never sees, and thereafter you'd have access to cards and a host of other banking services. And that's only if you choose to interface with fiat, like many newcomers to crypto might have to do for a while to come.
Only live off Crypto? You may never need an identifiable bank account again, if so desired. I think people will opt to have a semi-decentralized account.
Still, there was one move that sold me on this project as a game-changing prospect.
The decision to partner with Bitshares is what officially convinced me that this group knows what they're doing. There's no question that this tech is sleek and well suited to this task.
Bitshares is a workhorse and I'm still spelunking the trading platform but I have successfully migrated to the decentralized exchange lyfe to learn the ropes. I'm still at other exchanges of course but I'm really liking the Bitshares experience so far.
As a long-time user of Steemit I'm already familiar with just how incredibly fast these blockchains can move. I know that this is going to make the AriseBank user experience feel seamless.
And when it's so easy that even grandma could have an account, you know that it's going to be BIG. Very bullish.
Full disclosure: I have not participated in this ICO (US citizen) and have no past or current affiliation with AriseBank other than being an interested adopter and hopeful beta pick.
What excites me the most is the possibility that we could have a secure platform that is built from the ground up with decentralization and service as a priority.
Now my precious BTC can serve as my (and every other cryptos) store of value while the Arise platform allows me to leverage a mind-numbing host of alts for everyday transactional use.
Coinbase is officially on notice. It's not quite a two-week'er, but it'll come soon enough, and we'll all be better off for the change.
Here's what I was able to find. Reach out, read up, ready up. Life comes at you fast in crypto.
Github Shows activity, yay!
Twitter stay updated.
Facebook If you're into that sort of platform
Medium I received a 404 error on this page.
Keybase They are who they say they are.
Linkedin Please update link on main page, it directs to error. Had to search for this in Linkedin.
I also noticed a symbol missing from the social media contact options...