Exchange platform eToro is rolling out its own branded crypto wallet in advance of the overall service’s US debut early next year. The eToro wallet is a mobile application available via Google Play and the Apple App Store.
The new wallet provides multi-signature security gives users the ability to see their on-blockchain transactions and balances without the fear of losing their private key.
At launch, users will be able to store bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, ethereum and Litecoin in their eToro wallet. The number of supported cryptos is expected to increase over time.
Initially, the ability to transfer crypto from eToro to the wallet will be available to only to Platinum Club members for bitcoin. This will gradually be extended to more users and a greater number of crypto assets.
CEO Guy Hirsch talked with Block Tribune about the state of cryptocurrency.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Developers have announced that Bitcoin Cash can now be tokenized, and also that you can do smart contracts on their blockchain. Do you have any reaction to how that might affect the market?
GUY HIRSCH: Generally speaking, we always expected to have other blockchains and other projects providing the capability of smart contracts on their protocol. So we feel that it’s very healthy for the industry to see other projects, other protocols, supporting smart contracts, because it just allows more experimentation, maybe specialization on certain verticals or certain use cases. Generally speaking, I think it’s a very healthy development to see smart contracts on other blockchains. I think that it will just help us get faster to the point of adoption and expansion of use in this tool in order to govern all sorts of business transactions.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What makes an exchange better than another one?
GUY HIRSCH: I think it has a lot to do with who is the customer, first and foremost. Where they are located at, that’s the second question. What they’re trying to get out of using an exchange. I think that, currently, there are exchanges that, basically, are specializing in being compliant in certain jurisdictions. That’s a certain specialization. I think a lot of the big players are trying to figure out to compete in a multi-regulatory type of environment.
I think the type of customer is also an important question. We have a lot of beginners who want to dip their toe into the water and figure out how to get exposure into this asset class. In this particular case, you need a lot of education, a lot of support, a lot of content, a lot of tools that will make it easy and simple for you to understand both the upside and the risk involved in investing in this asset class. I think this is where eToro really excels at, is providing you with those capabilities.
Then you have environments that are much more pro-user or very sophisticated investors. Then you need a whole lot of different tool set to provide services for that type of customer profile. We have that, as well, and we’re very proud of what we are doing there. But it’s a specialization. It’s different between beginners and catering to highly sophisticated investors. I think these are the differences between the exchanges that you currently see in the market.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: When there’s an exchange hack, does it affect the entire market, or is it just a perception that’s damaged for that particular exchange?
GUY HIRSCH: To some extent. I think it adds to some notion among some people that the industry is not yet mature, and maybe it isn’t as safe as other depository institutions. But on the other hand, I see a lot of positive movement, both in sentiment and in capability about trust. What I mean by that, we see in proprietary research that we’re doing that the trust in exchanges is growing over time. In some cases, it is suppressing trust in other more traditional institutions. That’s a very healthy development.
Then on the other hand there, you have development in capability. What I mean by that is at eToro, we’re investing heavily in cybersecurity, heavily in physical protection of physical wallets, as well as starting to explore, and I think the industry is doing that, as well, mechanisms to hedge the risk, so insurance against fraud, theft, hack, physical damage, things of that nature. There will always be that tension between those who have bad intentions and trying to hack these systems and the good guys.
We just need to always be one step ahead of them, and I think, for now, at least at eToro, we’ve never experienced a hack. We’re very proud of that. I think the industry as a whole is investing a lot of resources in making sure that our exchanges, and our system, wallet, so on and so forth, are becoming more, and more, and more secure. I think at the end of day, people will see that it is a much safer environment than, maybe, traditional institution.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How do you feel about stablecoins?
GUY HIRSCH: I think stablecoins are critical to the success of our industry, in particular when it comes to commerce, payments, means of exchange. I think having a stablecoin not just that is pegged to a currency, but pegged to a commodity and maybe later pegged to other underlying assets, is what propelling this industry to then list coins that you can not just use for everyday use, but also invest in in a much more sophisticated manner and a much more trustworthy manner. So you can draw the line between having a stablecoin pegged to the dollar all the way to a stablecoin that is pegged to a Facebook stock and see that the benefits don’t really stop at just having a stable means of exchange, but also having a stable means of, basically, trading against an asset class or an underlying asset that has been trading in some other environment.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: There are always rumors surrounding institutional investors. What do you see happening in 2019?
GUY HIRSCH: 100%. I think we see that not only in the news, but we see that in private conversations, that they are all thinking about this. Some of them are investing resources and talent into getting into the space. I think one of the barriers is making sure that the FCC and FINRA and other regulatory bodies and stakeholders are very comfortable with the custody solutions and consumer protection. I think we at eToro and the rest of the industry need to make sure that we step up to the plate in providing the needed education and resources for these regulators to satisfy their concerns and make sure that they are happy with how things are being done.
I think in 2019, hopefully we’re going to see more positive movements in those areas. As those will happen, so will the compliance teams in those institutional investors will be more willing to let the business get an exposure and get into this asset class. In 2019, I think we’re going to see a lot more of it coming.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: If institutional investors do get into the market in a big way, what do you see happening? Do you see token prices rising exponentially, or will it just be just another aspect to the market?
GUY HIRSCH: I think both. I think it will, obviously, be impacting trust in a positive way. More people will feel more comfortable getting into the space, and so you will see just more capital flowing from traditional market into these new markets, and therefore impacting prices. But I think you will see also the trust in other use cases associated with blockchain getting more trust, and therefore more adoption. So other use cases in real estate transactions or supply chain, and things of that nature. If a major institutional player in the U.S. will get into the space in a meaningful way, then those projects, I think will also benefit from the ripple effect of this move, and therefore just improving the prospects of this entire industry and adoption of this technology as a whole.
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